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Our Specialist Running Physiotherapist reveals the common techniques and training faults that cause injury and restrict performance. For the free exercise videos either put the number into the website’s search tool or go to the videos section.
Weakness in the gluteal muscles causes poor lower limb alignment, loss of power and can cause knee, hip, foot, shin and back pain. Exercises to address leg alignment and activate gluteus medius can be very effective. Use videos 37-39 and 25.
An excessively upright posture can cause knee pain so make sure you bend slightly from the hip joints whilst using your core muscles to maintain your lumbar spine curve. Check out vidoes 06- 11 and 01-04.
Your feet should land hip width apart and underneath your body. A wider or narrower stance can be a result of reduced core or hip stability and can result in groin, knee and foot problems. Landing on the mid-foot is advisable for most people running longer distances.
Intervals are the most time efficient way of training because peaking and dropping your heart rate puts maximum strain on the body so prioritise intervals over distance. Make sure you eat well, hydrate properly and rest to ensure optimal recovery.
Research shows that static stretching before or during running has no benefit and could increase injury risk so only do it at the end of your run. Our website has videos of all running stretches.
Your running shoes should have a slightly thickened and well cushioned heel, supportive mid and hind foot – under the arch and a flexible forefoot – under the big toe joint. Bare-foot running should only be attempted under the guidance of a physio or coach. Most people suit a ‘neutral’ shoe and ‘over-pronation’ is often misdiagnosed in which case anti-pronation shoes will have limited benefit.
A stiff upper-back results in reduced arm swing, reduced power and pain, pins and needles or numbness in the neck, shoulders, back or arms. Try the seated twisting exercise video 67. Make sure you elongate the back of the neck and tuck the chin in slightly.
Stiff or weak ankles, feet or big toe joints can cause pain and injury including shin splints so may need hands on mobilising and strengthening exercises. Try videos 29 and 40-43.
Strengthening your legs doing exercises like squats and lunges – videos 22 and 23 – will protect your joints and improve performance. Proprioception is your body’s positional sense and is an indicator for injury risk. Train it using videos 70-72.
I hope you have found this useful, please get in touch if you have any comments or queries. For loads more advice on running training and common running injuries as well as lots more videos with stretches, exercises and running drills go to our website. To book a running assessment, physiotherapy, osteopathy or sports massage email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02075838288.
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