The Science of Injury Invariability

by Dr. Reed Ferber, Ph.D. CAT(C)

In my last article, I described how rotating multiple shoes and engaging in cross-training activities are both strategies that reduce your risk of injury, based on increasing the variability in the loads being applied to your body. Here, we’ll continue this discussion and give you some strategies to help reduce your injury risk based on biomechanical research.

My research group first introduced the concept of stride-to-stride variability as an indicator of a running injury nearly 10 years ago. We showed that when a runner has reduced gluteus medius muscle strength (the muscles on the side of your hip), your knee is not properly controlled when you run. Subsequently, the weakness leads to increased variability and an unpredictable running pattern. For example, the knee might slightly collapse outwards during one footfall and inwards for the next. However, once those muscles get stronger, a more predictable pattern and reduction in stride-to-stride variability occurs, so your body knows what to expect during the next footfall. Continue reading “The Science of Injury Invariability”

4 Functional Movements to Help Develop and Strengthen Your Lower Body for Running

by Liz Naccarato

As a runner, I never implemented cross training until about five years ago. Once I began adding that functional training into my workout schedule, I found myself becoming a more efficient runner.

Pairing a running regimen with proper functional fitness is equally as important as finding those next best Brooks to run your race in. As runners, we can overload our running schedule without pairing it with strength training. Below are a few of my favorite leg day exercises which can be done at home or in a fitness facilities, and I’ve included the reasoning behind why I believe in them. Continue reading “4 Functional Movements to Help Develop and Strengthen Your Lower Body for Running”

Starting Out

by John Stanton

As runners, we all have to start somewhere. If you’re a beginner, your early experiences with a running or walking program can make or break your chances for success. Novice runners who approach their training with a “go hard or go home” attitude often experience overuse injuries or just plain discouragement. This is not the recommended way to begin a running program.

As with all fitness programs, start with a visit to your family physician. He or she may recommend that you start by walking or by following a combination walk/run program. Be patient and stick with it—in as little as 10 weeks, you can progress from couch potato to athlete. Just remember to commit to 10 weeks, not 10 minutes or 10 days. The lifelong benefits are well worth the investment. Continue reading “Starting Out”

A Multi-Goal Approach to Training

by John Stanton

To get the most out of your training, you should set an ultimate goal followed by several smaller goals to get you there. Your ultimate goal might be to run a particular race, but before that, you must first train consistently.

It can help to run some smaller, shorter-distance races as targets to test you along the way. Many runners will tell you that the real reward comes from the training, not the race itself. Continue reading “A Multi-Goal Approach to Training”

Cross Training for Runners

by Sandy LeBlanc

I have yet to meet a symmetrical person. We’re all a little wonky, either due to structural differences like leg length discrepancy or scoliosis, and/or habitual imbalances such as playing a single sided sport, handedness or poor posture. For most people, these imbalances don’t affect quality of life—until you add a highly repetitive, sagittal plane sport such as long distance running. The good news is: we can fix many of these imbalances with strategic strength and flexibility training. Continue reading “Cross Training for Runners”

The Science of Injury Prevention

with Dr. Reed Ferber, Ph.D. CAT(C)

I’m always happy to see injury prevention research being published, and I thought I’d synthesize some of the more recent findings into practical tips for you.

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to figure out the best injury prevention strategies. Twenty-five different research studies were selected, which  resulted in the analysis of 26,610 athletes who sustained 3464 injuries. A surprising discovery in the data was that stretching did not show any protective effect, regardless of whether the stretching was performed before or after exercise. On the other hand, strength training was protective and reduced sports injuries by about one-third. These authors went further and suggested that overuse injuries, such as those experienced by runners, could be reduced by almost half if a regular strength training program was combined with some type of cross-training. Continue reading “The Science of Injury Prevention”

Dealing With Darkness

by John Stanton

In the winter, daylight is a precious commodity. Many of us experience the daily challenge of leaving the house when it’s dark and returning after the sun has already set. However, with proper planning and a positive attitude, you can maintain your fitness and still enjoy your training. Here are some suggestions to help you dodge the darkness.

Get out there during the day.
Take advantage of the daylight as much as possible. If your schedule is flexible, prioritize your run in the mid-morning or early afternoon. If you have a more traditional work day, try to run or walk during your lunch hour at least once a week. Exposure to natural light helps regulate your inner body clock and provides a bonus helping of vitamin D. Continue reading “Dealing With Darkness”

Customizing Your Training Plan

by John Stanton

How you train will influence your results, whether you are trying to maximize your potential or simply improve your overall fitness. Most programs emphasize structure, consistency and slow progression toward a goal. This requires a delicate balance of listening to your body and striving for continual improvement. Here are four considerations as you build your personalized training program. Continue reading “Customizing Your Training Plan”

Frostbite

Frostbite is nasty stuff. Once you have been frostbitten, you can be scarred for life and you can have permanent circulation problems in the affected areas.

You get frostbite when you have skin exposed to severe cold temperatures for a period of time (the amount of time depends on body type, size and other factors). Your body stops sending blood to that area to save the rest of the body. Once this happens, freezing is not long off. Continue reading “Frostbite”

Pilates for Runners

by Cara Hazelton

Runners are always in search of ways to improve their performance. As an Authentic Pilates specialist, the one thing I often see missing from regular training regimes is a strong, supple and stable relationship between the pelvis and spine.

In simple terms, a human body is a torso with levers. If the torso is weak, rigid or unstable, the levers will not work properly or with ease. The levers (our arms and legs) are attached to the torso (which contains the spine) by a variety of muscles. The legs are not solely attached to the pelvis, just as the arms are not solely attached to the shoulder blades. Both the arms and the legs are attached to the back, which is why a strong, supple and stable spine allows for healthy movement of the limbs. Continue reading “Pilates for Runners”