If this schedule sounds familiar, you’re most likely training for an upcoming race. Whether it’s a 10K or full marathon, your running schedule is probably dictating your life. Some weeks go smoothly and others can be a challenge. Between work, your social life, training, and getting enough food and sleep, how do we find the balance? Everyone maintains their life balance in different ways. If you’re anything like me, you rely on lists, meal prep, and a training schedule to guide you through each week. And while every week definitely hasn’t been perfect (I’m always learning), here’s how I’ve been balancing it all out.
Welcome to the last two weeks of August, also known as “Calf Cramp Season” at Custom Performance. Like clockwork, we are treated to a deluge of marathoners complaining of calf cramping and pain. Sound familiar?
Tips for Running in the Heat!
When a new client comes in with a knee pain, eight out of ten times I’ll start my exam at the hip. Seven out of those eight times, my client looks at me like I’m crazy. I think it’s time I reveal the method to my madness.
As PTs, we are often asked when to use ice versus heat for injuries. The answer definitely depends on the injury. Ice and heat can both be used to reduce pain, but they are best applied in different situations. A recent literature review conducted by Malanga, Yan, and Stark examined the differences between heat and ice applications and their effectiveness.
Strength exercises are important to a long distance runner, especially if you are trying to get faster. This is not a secret. When you name your target areas, you often think of the back, core, shoulders, chest, legs... but don’t forget your feet! It may seem silly at first but for runners, actual intrinsic foot strength is VERY important.
Approximately 50% of running-related injuries occur at the knee, many of which can be attributed to the inability of this joint to control the loads applied when the foot first hits the ground. Theoretically, if these loads on the knee can be reduced, injury rates can also be reduced. Step length is directly related to the amount of force transmitted through the ankle, knee, and hip. A long stride length puts the foot way out in front of the body, where it acts as a brake every time it hits the ground.
The relationship between running injuries and the amount of vertical force (up and down movement and impact) during running has been well-documented through many recent studies. “Vertical ground reaction force” (VGRF) is the force that the ground exerts up through a runner’s leg when landing. The rate at which these forces are applied to the body is called “vertical impact loading rate” (VILR). So if the vertical ground reaction forces are applied too quickly and not absorbed well, injury risk can be increased significantly.
We all have heard the recommendation to change shoes around 300-500 miles of use, but why? Where does this recommendation come from? When running, forces more than 2.5 times your body weight are applied up the leg and through the musculoskeletal system. Footwear has been designed to assist in absorbing these highmagnitude forces in order to improve performance and reduce injury risk. The cushioning in shoes can absorb shock and reduce how fast the force of landing acts on the body.
Hip injuries and pain are relatively common in runners; high hamstring strains, hip flexor strains, labral tears, piriformis syndrome, FAI... the list goes on. Most hip injuries are musculoskeletal (either bone/joint, ligament, or muscle), which can cause us to unintentionally neglect a particular group of hip injuries: nerve entrapments.
Are you having trouble recovering from an ankle sprain? Jennings and Davies (2005) produced a report that shows that one little bone in the foot might be responsible for your lasting issues. The cuboid bone sits between your heel bone and the beginning of your 5th toe on the outside of your foot.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a widely-accepted as a measure for recovery after workouts. As runners are always looking to work harder (read: get faster) and avoid injury, research continues to expand. When considering how to improve performance, training sessions are almost always the first thought. HRV came into play once we started considering how well athletes were recovering after their workouts.