Ready, Steady FUN RUN!

Got a 1k, 5k or 10k run coming up?  Reduce the risk of injuries whilst on your fun run with these top tips to enjoy your run to the full.

Maccabi-GB-Community-Fun-Run.jpg

Happy feet = happy runner

Every runner will need different types of foot support, depending on their foot posture and loading technique.  I always recommend that people go to a specialist running shop, where they assess your gait and biomechanics and advise you accordingly.  Having said that, it’s really important not to wear a brand new pair of trainers on race day.  Start training in your new shoes and gradually get used to them well before you race competitively.

Do NOT carb load

Yes, if you’re running a half or full marathon you’ll need the extra energy, but for a relatively short race (1-10 kilometres) that pasta party the night before won’t really help.  Eat as you normally would but avoid any fatty or spicy food that might trigger gastrointestinal issues on the day – you could probably do without that!  On the morning of the run, eat a sensible breakfast as you normally would before training.  Have a small snack about an hour prior to the run to give yourself an extra burst of energy.

Warm up before your run

Before racing, it’s a good idea to slowly raise your heart rate and get your muscles ready to run.  Evidence has shown that warming up properly is the best way to prevent an injury and avoid DOMS – more on that later.

Start a slow jog or gentle warm up for about 5-10 minutes, then walk briskly to the start line.  If you are at an organised event with a group warm-up session, do take full advantage of it.  It will get your muscles warmed up and should get you pumped up and ready to enjoy the race.

Consider your position at the start line

people doing marathonDon’t be tempted to be the first to cross the start line, especially if you’re a newbie.  Standing too near the front will mean that seasoned runners will be racing past you, which can be off-putting.  It can also lead to a crash and burn early on, if you start too fast.  Pace yourself and listen to your body – it will thank you later.

Hydration is key

Take advantage of any water stations throughout the course to ensure your body stays well hydrated.  It’s worth slowing down for a few seconds to get that essential fuel in your body – you’ll make up for the time lost as hydrated muscles work far more efficiently than dehydrated ones.

Cool down and stretch immediately after running

quads foam roller.jpgYou crossed that line – woohoo!! But you’re not actually done yet.  Slow down and walk for a few minutes after the race to allow your heart rate and blood pressure to normalise.  Gently moving will improve blood flow, which helps remove lactic acid that will have built up during the run.

Additionally, do some gentle stretches to the main leg muscle groups such as quads, hamstrings and calves to relieve muscle tension.  You can foam roll your legs and then perform 30 second stretches as below to each muscle.

Don’t let DOMS dishearten you

DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the deep muscle ache that you feel for 24-48 hours after a workout.  You probably won’t feel it immediately, but you’ll know all about it when you try to get out of bed or climb the stairs for a couple of days after running.  This is a natural physiological reaction to your body exerting itself and is completely normal, especially if you haven’t pushed yourself as hard during training as you did during the race.  If you do suffer from DOMS, try having a hot bath, or you could use some Deep Heat or other warming balm to soothe sore muscles.

If you’re new to running, your body may take a few days to recuperate, so allow yourself time to recover. Continue to hydrate, eat nutritious food and get some good sleep for a few days following the run.

Have fun on your run!

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to achieve a personal best, especially if it’s your first race.  Crossing the finish line and enjoying the experience are great achievements and not to be sniffed at! Relax and enjoy your accomplishment – you’ve earned it!

Phoebe

 

If you experience pain after running that persists longer than two days, please contact us.  We will happily discuss your pain with you and see if physiotherapy is the right course of action.

The Power of Posture

When it comes to posture, it seems like your mum did know best – her shouts of “sit up straight!” and “stop slouching!” were great advice.
At the beginning of the year, lots of us look to refocus our health and set ourselves goals for the upcoming year.  But most people forget one of the most important areas to concentrate on; bad posture can counteract hours spent in the gym and derail your fitness goals.  Improving posture will help to activate more muscles and boost their efficiency, meaning that by sitting up straight you burn more calories.
Good posture can help your muscles work more efficiently and improve your overall health and fitness
Slouching or stooping causes muscles to fatigue and ligaments to strain in order to support your spine, which can lead to back pain, headaches, muscle tension and injuries.  Correcting your posture may feel awkward and unnatural to begin with, but if you work at it, your muscles and joints will strengthen.  Over time, maintaining good posture will feel much more comfortable.
Postural awareness is the one guaranteed method to improve it long-term.  Sadly, the nature of habit means that maintaining good posture requires a lasting commitment.  However, with a few tips and tricks, you can be sitting taller and walking straighter in no time.


Benefits of good posture:

slouched posture
If you spend a large part of your day hunched over your computer, iPad or phone (let’s be honest, who isn’t guilty?!) you may well have a sore or tight neck by the end of the day.  Sitting with better posture will improve muscle efficiency, therefore reducing strain and tension through neck and upper back muscles.   Even more crucially, sitting up straight will reduce pressure going through discs and joints in your neck, therefore reducing the wear and tear that occurs naturally over time.

Good alignment can not only improve your posture, but can make you look taller, slimmer and more confident. Look at a photo of yourself where you’re slouching and compare it to one where you’re posing – unless you’re a natural ballerina, your posture and overall appearance will be much better with a few tweaks.

Good posture will make you look taller, slimmer and more confident
Good posture will make you look taller, slimmer and more confident

So lose the rounded shoulders and Dowager’s hump for an instanta-improvement.  If you’ve put better posture on your 2017 resolution list, follow this advice for a healthier spine, better muscle flexibility and improved confidence this year.



Top tips for posture: Balloon posture

1) Exercise to improve sitting posture: Imagine you have a helium balloon attached to the crown of your head.  Allow your neck to lengthen, gently tuck your chin in and allow your shoulders to relax.  This will eliminate the tendency to round your shoulders and gives the impression of a more elongated neck.


2)  Whilst sitting, lift your sternum forwards and upward, lengthening your collarbones whilst keeping your shoulder blades relaxed down.  This automatically straightens the upper back, making you look taller and relieving any pressure that might be accumulating between your shoulder blades and trapezius muscles.


Side plank
Core strengthening exercises are a great way to support your spine

3) Improve your core strength.  It sounds simple, but your core is your ‘powerhouse’, stabilising your pelvis, hips and spine.  The stronger your deep core muscles are, the more effectively the rest of your muscles will work (which is why there’s such a strong focus on alignment in Pilates and yoga).


4) Posture Prompts

Set yourself a reminder as a prompt to sit up straight.
Set yourself a reminder as a prompt to sit up straight.
Despite the best intentions, most of us forget about posture about thirty seconds after correcting it, so it’s essential to be reminded regularly. Whether it’s while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or setting a reminder on your phone, find something to cue you to stop slouching, roll your shoulders back and take some deep breaths.  Not only will you feel calmer, posture-prompts will support your neck and spine and temporarily relieve tense muscles.

Lumbar lordosis
Wearing high heels, extra belly weight and tight hamstrings can make the natural curve of your spine appear more pronounced.

5) Everyone has a natural curve in their low back, known as a lordosis, however in some people this can be more pronounced.  Lumbar lordosis can be exaggerated by excessive weight, pregnancy and wearing high heels.  Doing regular glute strengthening exercises such as squats, clamshells and bridges can help correct standing posture and improve the appearance of a bum that sticks out (or in my family, affectionately named the ‘Donald Duck’ posture).


6) Sit well.  If your bum is too near the edge of the chair, you may find yourself leaning forward or slouching.  Ensure that your bum is as far back in the chair as possible, you have some lumbar support and that your feet are balancing your body weight on the floor.

Try and sit with feet on the floor, bum back and your lumbar spine supported
Try and sit with feet on the floor, bum back and your lumbar spine supported

7) Make ergonomic changes.  Make sure you have a good work-station setup with your shoulders relaxed, back and feet supported and computer screen at eye-level to avoid slouching all day.  And most importantly, try and take regular breaks and keep active to prevent bad postural habits from building up.

proper-office-chair-sitting-form



Remember, awareness of good posture is the first step to breaking poor postural habits.  Bear these things in mind and make 2017 the year where you sit up and take control of your posture.


Naomi Sofer
January 2017