It’s running season and it’s important that you do the right things to avoid injury, get the best times, but more importantly – to enjoy it! Here are some top tips from Sam.
1.Keep your head balanced on the top of your spine – Reminder: if you put your fingers in the dimple behind your ear lobes, that will give you an idea of roughly where your head/neck joint is.
2.Avoid dropping your head forward or backwards – If your head is out of balance it will affect your form.
3.Warming up is much more important than stretching before exercising if you want to prevent injury.
4.Stretch post exercise! – It has a profound effect on injury prevention and will reduce muscles aches and stiffness.
5.Engage your glutes or ‘posterior chain’ in running – Get a feel for this by swinging your leg like a pendulum back and forth.
6.Practise getting your foot to land closer to your centre of mass by doing the ‘scraping the poo from the shoe’ drill. Bring your leg back, then knee forward, foot down, scrape the poo from the shoe as you take your leg back and repeat the cycle.
7.Develop elastic recoil – Play the bouncing game, hopping on two feet, on one foot etc., practise running on the spot.
8.Avoid reaching out with your leg – Land closer to your centre of mass on a bent leg to avoid injury. What matters is your belly button covering ground, not your foot. In most cases if you are running at over a 6 minute-mile pace you are likely to benefit from taking shorter quicker strides.
9.Lean Forward- Allow a bit of a lean from the ankles, not the waist or hips.
10.Be efficient – Become more efficient by upping the cadence. You want a light, quick step with a cadence close to 180 beats per minute.
11.The arms: notice how tight shoulders and locked arms or arms that are too loose impede your motion. Make sure the arms are engaged by swinging the arms back and forth, emphasise the elbows coming back and then releasing forward.
12.Separate the practice from the performance – Focus on one thing at time so that you do not become overwhelmed.
If you have a race coming up, recently taken part in one, or you’ve increased the amount of running that you’re doing and need some advice on the prevention or recovery of injuries then get in touch with one of our expert therapists who can help. You can call any of our clinics or use our #askaphysio enquiry form where we will answer your question as soon as possible.