Running season is upon us, as the weather is lovely and sunny now, well at least it’s warm. So here are a few tips to help you stay injury free and enjoying those massive hills around Winchester.
When you are going to run, a lot of us think, okay I’ll stick my trainers on and off I go, no warm up, no hydration plan, and no stretches. I agree that running is one of the most efficient ways to train, even 20 minutes of hard running can give you that daily glow the endorphins released and sense of wellbeing which goes with it.
Warm up – There is a lot of false information out there and a lot of good information if you can sift out the gold.
I spent many years working with elite athletes whilst at Premiership Southampton Football Club and playing at a high standard of amateur football, I believe warm up is very specific to each person. Warm up should be sports specific, this includes dynamic activation exercises which means reproducing the movements needed during your sport. If you are running then a walk/run is perfect to get you going. We are all in a society where we are in a rush and running is perfect for many of us as we can just stick our trainers on and go. Beware that you are not aggravating a problem without preparing your body to go and train. Take literally 5 minutes start with a light jog, pick up the pace and vary it up and down, when you feel warmed partially stop and address any areas of you body which feel like they need a stretch, this can also include warming up/ stretching your back or upper body. An interesting article deals with upper body warm up -http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/02/18/bjsports-2014-094228.full
If you are doing any sport it is the warm up which is important, this can include stretching but the stretching must be undertaken correctly as if you overstretch there is research evidence which demonstrates muscles can be weakened with overstretching and reduce your performance possibly putting you at more risk of an injury. From reviewing the research available most involves power based exercise over a short explosive period. This is particularly relevant if you are going out to do a maximal pace run/ training session for example sprint training but it is also relevant for race pace runs and if you are increasing your training speeds as a build up for a longer race. This article researches power exercises and how they are affected with static stretching:
So looking at all the available evidence and form years of working with elite athletes an individual approach to warm up and stretching is the best way to prepare for your sport. Evidence shows a maximal muscle lengthening effect is obtained when it is held for 10-30 seconds. I recommend if you are stretching as part of your warm up you hold your stretch for only a few seconds and concentrate only on the areas which you feel need addressing. Learn to feel what needs a short stretch and what doesn’t.
It is imperative you perform dynamic exercises as part of your warm up. This involves movements which replicate your sport, if you are warming up for running hamstring kicks, short on the spot sprints, lunges, side to sides, carioca and running backwards all activate the muscles required in your run.
J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Apr;26(4):1130-41. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822e58b6.
A dynamic warm-up model increases quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility.
A good article which reviews research and includes sensible advice on warm up.
Happy running from The Twyford Clinic.
If you have any injuries or pains or would like a review to prevent injuries occuring we can provide a full biomechanical assessment and gait analysis which includes slow motion video. We will help you stay pain free.