Did you know that Tom from “Tom and Lukes” is actually a qualified Personal Trainer?
Check out his blog below about keeping yourself injury free ready for race day.
Running is a high impact sport & showing up unprepared can not only leave you feeling sore on the day, it can also open you up to injury post event.
Consider that the impact force exerted on your knees when you run can be anywhere from 5 to 12 times your body weight. If it helps you put that into perspective, when you walk normally, the force on your knees is around 2-3 times that of body weight. So If you have not conditioned your bones & soft tissues to these kinds of forces, well, you can easily see why it’s so easy to get injured!
A key concern of mine, is that most people tend to overlook the need for any corrective exercise before partaking in a conditioning program. Running is not just about your legs & lungs. If you google “no leg walking” you can find a video of a person with no legs creating locomotion. Our bodies are integrated organisms where the power to create locomotion comes from the collective power of the mind (we have to make the choice to move), the spine & the counter rotation of our core muscles to twist our pelvis under our ribs. In fact, a hugely overlooked, yet important, body part when it comes to running, is our shoulders!
Remember the force I mentioned above? Well, that’s got to go somewhere. As our right foot hits the ground, a portion of that impact is transferred from our feet, through our entire body & actually helps us prepare for the next moment when the left foot comes down & repeats the cycle on the opposite side. If there are areas of your body that might prevent the energy from that impact flowing through to the other side, for example, a pre-existing knee or shoulder injury, faulty muscle recruitment through your core muscles, poor posture etc, then you may end up with an injury somewhere else in your body that you wouldn’t expect to get from running (running’s just legs & lungs, right?).
Good running technique is not just for “high-end athletes” – WE’RE ALL ATHLETES (some people just give it more attention than the rest of us). Having good posture & technique are important to insure you don’t get injured, because, let’s face it, injuries suck.
A few tips from yours truly to help you walk away from this event uninjured;
1) Get a balanced conditioning program, individualized for YOU.
– I remember attending a seminar a few years ago by Dr Matt Kritz who stated; “How an athlete produces power is more important than the power they produce”.
What he’s saying is that your individual physiology is more important than your pace & finish time – or beating Ben from accounts. A good conditioning program needs to assess how you move, lengthen what’s tight (if needed), strengthen what’s weak (if needed), re-assess how you move (or else how are you going to know if it’s working?) & in general help you progress gradually to be better than before. This requires one on one time with a professional so find someone who knows (like, REALLY knows) what they’re talking about & do as they say. (Well, only if THEY do as THEY say. I’m a firm believer that you should practice what you preach. Especially when it comes to physiological matters)
2) Run (or walk) YOUR race.
– Whether your an amateur or a seasoned vet, it’s important to know your limitations & how far you’re willing to push yourself. The old adage of “no pain, no gain” only leaves pain. Remember, no one is forcing you to do this so you may as well enjoy yourself! Make a plan & embrace the journey. What can you learn about yourself along the way? What can you improve on?
– Pain is a signal that something isn’t right! Rather than blocking it out with pain killers, take it as a lesson from your body that something’s not right & you should get it fixed, before it gets worse.
Sure, when people push through pain, hormones are acutely released to numb us to the pain for a while (so that we can escape from the danger), but once those hormones come down, the pain goes up! This is because…get this… you’ve literally just made it worse!!!
If you have any niggles now – go see a professional to help you work through the problem & find the CAUSE of the issue, this may also help with your overall enjoyment of the event & help change your paradigm on exercise overall 🙂
4) Consider zero drop shoes.
– I have issues with heels for a large number of reasons, too many to delve into now. However, what I will say is that a large, soft heels are designed to ABSORB a large amount of the impact force while running – in theory, this sounds great, right? Well, you should also know that landing on your heel when running is not a natural gait cycle for humans. While walking, heel-toe gait is normal (remember, force on knees is only 2-3 times body weight). However, as we speed up (& that impact force on the knees goes up), our physiology changes & we naturally revert to a mid foot or toe foot planting during running gait. This allows our joints & soft tissues to convert this impact force into kinetic energy & actually helps us run better!
Simply google “barefoot running” & you’ll be able to find a number of videos & articles on this phenomenon. As Obi Wan would say; “Use the force, Luke”.
5) Practice as you intend to race.
– They say “practice makes perfect”. Well, in reality, perfect practice makes perfect. If you want to get better at playing an instrument, you need to practice with the right notes in a scale, otherwise, you’ll just become an expert at playing bad!
So take your time, do the above. Don’t introduce something new on race day that you haven’t done in practice! Steven Adams practices a move for at least 6 months to a year before he brings it out in a real game!
So, if you’re planning on running a certain pace, practice that pace. If you are going to run barefoot on the day, practice barefoot. If you’re going to use some food during the race (obviously Tom & Luke Snackaballs, Super Slice or Roadie Bars) to keep your energy up, then practice running & eating that!
Imagine showing up to the race & all your training sessions you’ve used a liquid gel to refuel, then, on the day, you switch to one of our products & you get some kind of digestion problem during the race. I’d feel terrible!!!
The whole point I’m trying to make here is for you to get in tune with your body & learn what it needs to help you reach your goal. You’re a team within yourself, a system of systems, so to speak. Listen to them & don’t be shy, ask for help as & when you need it!