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Rod Cedaro’s 10 Tips a Week to Keep You Injury Free When Running : Part 1

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 Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.) Consultant Exercise Physiologist ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach

Launching into a heavy run training program can tear your legs apart if you aren’t adequately prepared. I’ve prepared 52 top tips to help you make running a lot easier on your body.

Rod Cedaro running1. The impact of running can be lessened by having strong joints You can lessen the impact of running if you have strong joints. How do you develop strong joints? By slowly and progressively building up to your running. Start with progressively longer walks of you have to until your body adapts.

 

2. To prevent running injuries increase strength and stability The three most common joint areas that are injured by running are the hips, knees and ankles. Improve your strength, flexibility and stability through these regions and you’ll lower the incidence of injury.

 

3. When you start a running program it is common to be sore through your calf muscles. You can lessen this discomfort by warming up, cooling down and stretching thoroughly through the lower leg region.

 

4. Where possible, don’t pierce blisters, allow them to heal of their own accord. If they are really painful, dip a needle in some form of an antiseptic fluid, pierce the blister, drain it and then cover the area with a band-aid or something similar. Blisters are caused by friction between the shoe and skin which creates “hot spots” and areas that rub. Identify these areas early and cover them with some vasolene. Good quality, purpose made running socks can also be helpful.

 

5. Use moisturizing lotion and lip balms. Use moisturizing lotion and lip balms to treat areas of your skin exposed to windburn during the winter. This will help stop your skin and lips from drying out and cracking which can be extremely painful.

 

6. Sunburn can still be an issue during winter. We live in Australia, the country with the highest incidence of skin cancer anywhere in the world. Even during winter sunburn can still be an issue. Regardless of the time of year protect your skin with sunscreen.

 

7. Look after your feet and prevent athlete’s foot. “Athlete’s foot” (tinea), can be extremely uncomfortable and in extreme cases debilitating to the point it can stop you from running. To prevent this ailment change wet socks immediately and dry your shoes and inner soles as quickly as possible to remove all traces of moisture. Rotating two pairs of training shoes and stuff the damp ones with newspaper is a good way to achieve this.

 

8. Strength-training helps your running. Stronger legs help you absorb training more effectively and offset the chance of overuse injuries. Completing some appropriately designed strength training exercises will help you run stronger for longer by staying injury-free.

 

9. Excessive training can compromise your immune system so know your limits. Some training improves immune function, take it too far, too fast, before your body has the chance to adapt and your body will fall into mal-adaption. If you find yourself continually coming down with colds, flues and other such infections, chances are you’ve given your immune system a hammering, back off the training volume but more importantly, back off the intensity which is the major cause of lowered immune function.

 

10. Don’t run in a vacuum. Running can almost be hypnotic, it can be a great escape as you day dream or chat to training partners, but don’t ignore your surroundings. This is a really easy way of wiping yourself out by tripping over gutters, running into low lying tree branches, or getting hit by cars. Enjoy the escape of running but stay aware to avoid potential disasters.

Find out more tips  from Rod Cedaro in Part 2

RUNNING INJURY PREVENTION – TRICKS OF THE TRADE.

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Text by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.) Consultant Sports Physiologist

ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach.

At some stage or another, just by its very nature – full weight bearing high impact – running is going to cause you an injury. With a little pre-thought and some sensible alterations to your training there are a number of things you can do to (i) lower the incidence of injury, (ii) speed your recovery from running related injuries and (iii) ensure you don’t suffer the same ailment again.

So here’s a simple “what to do” checklist to consider.

BUILD A BASE. Before doing an “quality” (high intensity training) make sure you have a foundation of low intensity longer miles in your legs.

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE. Athletes over 80kg should only increase their total running volume by about 10% per week to ensure their bodies can absorb the impact loads to avoid overuse injuries.

TRAIN “SMARTER” NOT JUST “HARDER”. You can’t train a tired or injured body. Back off when you need a break. 12-24 hours of recovery can make all the difference.

Runners stretch-Rod CedaroSTRETCH. There’s an old rule of thumb around running circles – 10% of your total training time should be spent stretching. Stretch all your major running muscles and hold at the point of stretch for at least 10-15 seconds minimum.

YOU CAN’T TRAIN A TIRED BODY!

Over training leads to burn-out. Monitor your morning heart rate. If it is elevated by more than 15% have a rest day, 10-15% keep the training aerobic, 5-10% above normal, train normally but be on the lookout over the coming days to make sure you’ve adequately recovered.

WORK ON YOUR FUNCTIONAL STABILITY.

A great way to do this is by swapping your chair at work for a Swissball – it may look a little out there, but all day long while you’re sitting at your desk you’re training your functional stabilising muscles – this’ll pay off in your running form.

STAY ON TOP OF YOUR FEET – DON’T OVER-STRIDE.

Your feet should be hitting the ground underneath you, not out in front – overstriding increases ground reaction forces and the instance of overuse injuries like stress fractures.

Run on grass - Rod CedaroRUN ON SOFTER SURFACES.

Vary the terrain on which you train. Staying off asphalt and concrete and running on grass and natural trails will save your legs.

workouts and terrain for muscle balance

WARM UP FOR AT LEAST 5-10 MINUTES.

Increased muscle temperature improves range of motion and helps prevent injury. The colder the day, the longer your warm up. Do a few efforts at least at or greater than, race pace.

TWO PAIR OF TRAINING SHOES. Switching shoes after each running session means your shoes last longer (they dry out between sessions) and you can avoid putting undue stress on one particular area. If there’s a particular brand/style you like get two pair and alternate them.

IF YOUR TOE NAILS ARE BLACKENED LOOK AT YOUR SHOES.

Blackened toenails indicate that you’re jamming your toes against the toe-box of the shoe. Consider a slightly larger size and/or a different model.

BE ON GUARD FOR EARLY WARNING SIGNS.

Listen to your body and don’t train through niggles as they can escalate into full blown injuries. Identify the cause and treat it. You may drop a day’s training by doing so, but it’ll save you 4 weeks of down time due to injury.

INTENSITY – USE IT SPARRINGLY. The top distance runners in the world don’t do much more than 20% of all their training intensely. If you’re logging 50km per week in total that means no more than 10km should be quality work.

BUILD YOUR TRAINING SLOWLY AND PROGRESSIVELY.

Sudden increases in training volume of more than 10-20% per week can cause injury as your body struggles to adapt to the additional training loads.

CROSS-TRAINING IS A BLESSING. bike rod cedaro

If you’re scheduled for another run and your legs are still feeling a little trashed, the beauty about being a triathlete is you can jump on the bike and go for a recovery spin to speed the rate of recovery without having to load your legs. Use cross-training to speed your running recovery.

WORK ON YOUR FUNCTIONAL STABILITY (CORE STABILISERS).

Improving functional stability muscles lowers the incidence of back pain and lower limb injuries by enhancing your running form.

STAY COOL.

After a hard training session cool your legs with ice and stick them into a cold bath. This lowers the amount of inflammation and speeds your recovery rate.

RECURRENT INJURIES?

Do you seem to get over an injury only to have it flare again? Chances are you have a biomechanical shortcoming of some sort. Have your gait analysed by an appropriately trained professional like a sports podiatrist.

WALKING CAN HELP

If you’re suffering from a long term injury that has kept you out of running for an extended period of time – WALK. This will help your muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments maintain some strength and integrity so that when you’re able to return to running at least you won’t be starting behind the 8 ball.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES AREN’T LOLLIES!

Anti-inflammatories mask the pain but don’t remove the cause of the injury. Without the warning signs you can actually make the injury (and long term consequences) worse. Anti-inflammatories (or at least extended inappropriate use of them) can have other implications (e.g. They can produce significant gut problems). Use them sensibly and under medical direction.

WHEN TO CAN IT

Again listen to your body. If you have a cold keep training – provided it is only a head cold – once an ailment goes through your entire system or settles on your chest, pull up stumps, go home and catch a movie.

REGULAR MASSAGE Rod Cedaro sports massage

A regular massage can help keep your legs supple and injury free, they can promote blood flow, alleviate pain and speed recovery. Have one booked for after a hard training session or a race.

R.I.C.E.

The R.I.C.E. principal (Rest, ice, compression and elevation) is still the best immediate treatment for any injury you sustain when running, but don’t ice the affected area for more than 15-20 minutes at any one time.

So there you have them, some tips to help you navigate your way through the coming season with the least hassle possible.

Rod Cedaro

 

METATARSALGIA – A MOUTHFUL TO SAY SORE FEET

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Text by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.) Consultant Exercise Physiologist ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach (DUNCAN)

The human foot is a remarkable piece of engineering design. It is a shock-absorber like no other. When you consider, even running at a moderate pace a 70 kilogram athlete will put something in the vicinity of 126,000 kilograms through each foot every kilometre they run, it really puts things into perspective as to why the foot is vulnerable to injury if something goes astray.

With each stride, the five long bones that run from your arch to your toes, your metatarsals, act as shock-absorbers. As you toe off when running, your body weight is transferred directly onto your metatarsals. If that resultant weight distribution is uneven when it hits the road for whatever reason (e.g. Poor shoe mechanics, tight calves, etc.), the metatarsals can become irritated and inflamed, resulting in the dreaded “metatarsalgia”.

Rod Cedaro metatarsalgia

Many people describe this irritation as feeling like a burning, stabbing, or aching pain at the “head” of the bone, just beneath the toes. Some describe it like feeling that they have a stone stuck in their shoe. It is generally worse on standing, walking and especially running and subsides when you sit or lie and take the load off the region. While the ailment can come on abruptly after working on hard surfaces and running hard in poorly cushioned shoes, it tends to develop over time and effects all foot types equally.

How do you go about preventing metatarsalgia? The answer is often as simple as appropriate shoe choice. Athletes with neutral to flat feet should look for shoes with a wide toe-box and a dome-shaped metatarsal pad, these will protect the metatarsal heads from pounding. If on the other hand you have high arches – which is a foot type known for poor shoe absorption, you may benefit from a shoe that provides extra cushioning that deflects pressure from the bones. While shoes play a considerable roll in lowering the incidence of this ailment, improving your own foot mechanics won’t go astray either! Strengthening the sole of the foot helps to prevent it from flattening, which protects the metatarsals from impact. Strengthening through the plantar muscles will help to control excessive over-pronation which is one of the major causes of metatarsalgia. Try some of the following exercises:

[i] Pick up a marble with your toes, hold for a count of five, and release. Start at the big toe and repeat, working your way down to the little toe. Repeat three times.

[ii] Screw up sheets of newspaper with your toes, hold the movement at the end of the paper screwing for 10 seconds and repeat 10-15 times. If you do develop metatarsalgia, initially give your feet a break – it is an “overuse” injury – so stop the use, comeback to training initially with lowered volume and run on softer surfaces like a golf course to lessen the impact shock. If you do experience pain in the front part of the ball of your foot, get on to it early! Treat such symptoms aggressively with the “RICE” principal (rest, elevation, ice and compression) during the first 24 hours and take anti-inflammatories if need be.

Then see a sports physician if need be and/or a podiatrist if your symptoms persist. At that point you may need to have a callus shaved, a metatarsal pad inserted or appropriate orthotics designed. Untreated this syndrome can become chronic and debilitating leading to joint swelling, bone bruising, chronic stiffness and loss of joint range which can create a vicious cycle. As per any ailment, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of treatment.

 Rod Cedaro