Running Tips - Out & About

By Alex Keogh, chartered physiotherapist

Did you know physiotherapy can help to shave off minutes from your running time, as well as prevent and treat injuries whilst training? Your running style is like your finger print, it is unique to you and we should all constantly try to improve our technique. Whether you’re a sub-three hour marathon runner pushing for a new personal best, a Sunday jogger or just attempting your first run round the block, we can help.

With the New Year comes new year resolutions for some and for others it brings closer big running events, in particular Brighton and London marathons. Below are a few physiotherapy principles that I believe can shave minutes off your time and help keep you safe when running.

1. Love your feet. 40% of physios say people training for the marathon are wearing the wrong shoes. Make sure you go to a recognised running store to buy trainers. You should be able to use a treadmill or run outside to ensure trainers provide the right support for your gait before buying them.

2. Adequate recovery period. You never overtrain, you always under recover. Recovery is the process that repairs the structural damage that occurs naturally when muscles are pushed. Cells in the muscle fibres degenerate and are replaced by new muscle cells that have a greater ability to cope with lactate and resistant fatigue, so don’t forget to allow your body to recover and get stronger as a result.

3. Cross train. A good support regime, such as Pilates and strength training, will improve muscular balance and help strengthen problematic areas such as hamstrings and glutes, as well as increasing flexibility and preventing tight legs.

4. Sports massage. A sports massage is good for general maintenance of the body and can speed up the recovery period by reducing tension and inflammation after harder training sessions. In addition, a quick and energetic massage technique can be used before an event to enhance the warm-up.

Read on further about how to prevent injury on page 25.