Helping you to stay in the game… TBI Health
Our friends down at TBI Health will be providing training tips in the lead up to Round the Bays. We will update this page each time TBI Health provides a new tip or you can get them instantly on their Facebook page.
Training Tip #1
The 10% Rule and Injury Prevention:
The majority of injuries that runners experience are due to training errors. One of the most common training errors is to increase your running distance too quickly. This is where the 10% Rule can come in useful.
The 10% Rule: Never increase your total weekly running distance (kilometres) by more than 10% over the previous week.
For example, your training week may look something like this:
If you add the total distance of these 3 runs you get 10 km’s for that week. Therefore, applying the 10% rule:
10% of 10km = 1km
For your next week of training you should try not to run more than 11km in total (10 km + 1 km).
This rule is particularly important if you are new to walking and running because of the impact these activities have on your body. Research has shown that when walking the force through your body can be up to 3 times your body weight and when running the impact forces can increase to up to 8 times greater than your body weight.
This can take quite a toll on your body’s structures (your muscles, tendons, bones, joints, and ligaments). Following the 10% rule allows these structures to adapt to the new activity and therefore decrease your risk of injury.
Training Tip #2
Here at TBI Health we regularly treat walkers and runners that experience lower limb pain. The majority of these runners are lacking strong hip stabilisers (particularly the gluteus minimus and medius muscles) and strong buttock (gluteal) muscles.
When you are running the forces that go through your lower limb are increased. Your hip stabilisers and gluteal muscles play a role in sharing these forces with other muscles further down your legs. Therefore, if your hip stabilisers and gluteal muscle groups are weak then more forces will be transferred to the joints and muscles further down your leg.
During the next 4 weeks the TBI Health team will be providing you with some great exercise ideas on how you can incorporate hip and gluteal strengthening into your weekly training regime and thus assist in injury prevention. See video below for the first 2.
To begin with you may try performing these exercises 2-3 times per week. Begin with 2 sets of 10 and build up to 3 sets of 15 gradually.
Please note: If you already experience lower limb pain with running then it is recommended that you get this pain thoroughly assessed by one of the TBI Health Physiotherapy team prior to commencing any of these exercises.
Training Tip #3
Excessive anterior pelvic tilt and running injuries:
– Including top 3 tests and top 3 exercises for assessing and correcting an anterior pelvic tilt
When referring to the tilt of your pelvis we are talking about the angle your pelvis sits in relation to you spine when looking at you side on (see picture right).
If your pelvis is tilted too far forward (anterior pelvic tilt or anterior rotation) then it can change the distribution of load that goes through your muscles and joints when you run. It can occur on both sides of your body or on one side only.
Increased anterior pelvic tilt can lead to the following:
- Back pain. The increased arch in your lower back leads to increased stress on your lower back (facet) joints
- Knee pain. The increased knee bend that occurs when you heel strike leads to increased pressure on your patella (knee) tendon
- Knee pain. Increased compression of the knee cap that occurs with excessive knee bend at heel strike leads to increased pressure on your knee joints
- Weak and inefficient buttock muscles
- Lengthened hamstring and abdominal muscles
- Tight side hip muscles. A lack of buttock muscle action means the side hips muscles have to work extra hard which forces them to become tight
Top 3 tests for excessive anterior pelvic tilt:
1. Mirror Observation Test
- With your top off stand side on to a mirror
- Is your lower back excessively curved?
- Optimal: There should be a slight curve in your lower back (see picture above)
2. Wall posture test:
- Stand facing backwards to the wall
- Place your head, back, bottom, and heels against the wall
- Place your forearm behind your back and place it in the small/gap of your lower back
- Is the gap larger than the circumference of your forearm?
- Optimal: There should be no extra space between your forearm and your lower back
3. Thomas Test: This test can assess for tight hip flexor muscles. Tight hip flexors can pull your spine into more of an anterior pelvic tilt.
- Sit on the edge of a bench or table
- Pull one knee towards your chest and hug it
- Lie back with your lower back flat on the bench or table
- Relax the other leg and let it hang off the edge of the table
- Does your hanging knee sit higher than the edge of the table?
- Optimal: Your hanging knee should sit horizontal or in line with the table (see right leg in picture to the right)
If you perform the 3 tests above and you are not gaining optimal values then it’s likely you will have an excessive anterior pelvic tilt.
Top 3 exercises for improving an excessive anterior pelvic tilt:
1. Stretch your hip flexor muscles
2. Strengthen your abdominal muscles
3. Strengthen your buttock muscles – See TBI Health Tip 2 for some great beginner buttock strengthening exercises!
Training Tip #4
How To Breathe Whilst Running
- Improve your race time!
- Decrease your injury risk!
The majority of people that enter my treatment rooms have never thought about how their breathing can affect their running performance or injury risk. However, research now suggests that your pattern of breathing can affect both.
4 drills to improve your breathing whilst running and walking:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent
- Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest
- Watch your hands move as you breathe in and out. Ideally the hand that is on your stomach should rise and fall more than the hand on your chest
- If this is not the case then focus on breathing from lower down (diaphragmatic breathing) and making the hand on your stomach rise and fall smoothly
- Practice this prior to step 2
- Lie on your back with your knees bent
- Repeat the steps in step 1 and add the following:
- When you breathe in lift one foot off the ground and then put it down. Alternating feet, repeat 3 times then begin to breathe out
- When you breathe out continue to alternate your feet at the same pace as above however only perform one foot lift and lower on each leg
- Then repeat this cycle 5 times and have a rest
- If you are performing this correctly you should begin your first breathe out on a different foot each cycle
- Visualize yourself running and maintaining this breathing and foot strike pattern throughout a run
- The breathing pattern is a 3:2 ratio of 3 foot strikes per breath in to 2 foot strikes per breathe out
- Now you need to practice the above sequence in walking
- Repeat exactly the same breathing pattern and foot strike ratio in walking as you did in step 2 when you were lying
- Remember to continue to breathe from lower down in your stomach, keep your breathing smooth, and maintain the 3:2 ratio
- On the breath out of each breathing cycle a different foot should strike the ground
- The final step is trying this whilst running
- Repeat exactly the same breathing pattern and foot strike ratio in running as you did in step 3 when you were walking
- Note: Naturally your breathing speed (time it take to breathe in and out) will increase slightly when you run
- If you are competing in the 6.5 km or 10 km race and you are an experienced, fast runner then the 3:2 ratio may become a 2:1 ratio of breathes in and out
Why breathe from your stomach/diaphragm?
Your diaphragm is your major breathing muscle in your body. When you breathe in your diaphragm contracts and expands downward toward your feet, your ribs expand outward (with some help from other muscles around your chest) and your lungs begin to fill with air. The more air you can get into your lungs the more air available to feed the working muscles in your body whilst running.
If you are someone who only breaths from your chest and you don’t use your diaphragm for breathing then your upper chest, neck and rib muscles will work too hard. These muscles are not only less efficient than your diaphragm leading to less air going into the lungs, but overusing them can also add to extra tension in the chest, neck and shoulders, which most of you don’t need, especially if you have a desk job during the day!
Your diaphragm also plays a key role in core stability. If your diaphragm is not assisting in the maintenance of a strong core throughout your run then it can lead to extra stress on other muscles, especially your back and pelvic region. This can lead to injury and pain in these and other areas in your lower limb.
The importance of timing your breathing pattern with your foot strike:
The timing of your breathing cycle in relation to the timing of your foot strike is important. Research suggests that if you always breathe out when you heel strike (component of your running stride after your foot swings through and when it hits/strikes the ground) on the same side of your body then this can increase your risk of injury on this side of the body.
As stated above, your diaphragm has a stability function in your body’s core. It is most efficient when you are breathing in and least efficient when breathing out. Therefore, if you are always breathing out on the heel strike of the same side of the body then your heel strike will be occurring when you have less core support from your diaphragm. This can then lead to more pressure being placed on other structures on this side of the body. As running is such a repetitive action then over time this can lead to pain and injury.
Therefore, in the drills suggest above, you are encouraged to share the load or alternate your breathe out between the 2 sides of your body.
Information provided by:[pewell text=”Peter Halstead (Physiotherapist) M.Phty, PGDipSportMed, BSpEx, MPNZ – If you have any questions about the content of this article then please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ” size=”normal”]