News Letter October 2012

Hello  and welcome to my mid October Newsletter.

From a coaching perspective this is a very busy time of the year, not only do we need to review performance for 2012 but we also need to plant seeds for 2013 as well as help everyone get through the winter months as they embarc on cross-training activities.

Seasonal Advice part 1 - I  would like to  alert  you  to the perils off-road running, especially  if you  have spent most of the season running on harder surfaces. The main peril is that the ground is starting to get softer & wetter thus requiring the muscles of the lower leg (LL) work harder and over a greater operational range. Coupled with this is that most road-runners jump straight into cross-country racing without making the necessary changes to their training programme & exercises.

To stay injury free you must start to incorporate some leg-strengthening exercises (especially the calf muscles) and ankle-stability work into your weekly schedule.

Ignore this at your own peril!

As a professional Sports Therapist I see 3 to 4 times as many lower-leg injuries this time of the year than during the summer. Most could certainly have been avoided.

Also, given that it’s starting to get colder, you should take extra care to warm-up properly before going out running or cycling.

For running, try extending your warm-up by an extra 5 minutes by doing some drills that involve progressive movement patterns… arm swings, knee lifts, falling forward, heel recovery etc.

As we move into the winter months here are a few other guidelines to help you stay injury-free.

  1. NEVER train or run-thorough a lower-leg injury without firstly having it checked by a qualified therapist.
  2. A training plan should not be set in stone and should contain provision for slippage. Do not cut-out or ignore any weeks planned for Recovery (reduced activity).
  3. Do not attempt to increase duration/distance week-on-week without allowing your body to become conditioned at regular increments.
  4. When pushing into new territory, limit increments to a maximum of 10% in any single jump…. especially for running.
  5. Understand that Jogging is just as shocking to the ankle/hip/knee joints as any other mode of running and is not an activity good for promoting Recovery. For active-recovery, use low impact activities such as turbo-training or swimming. If you break into a sweat, you are working too hard!
  6. Be aware that high-intensity activity generally requires a longer period of recovery than low-intensity training. High-intensity activity includes, (among other things) speed work, hill reps, and racing.
  7. Do not under-estimate the value of warming-up prior to training/racing. A proper warm-up will hugely reduce the risk of injury when exercising, especially during cold weather. When very cold, wear extra layers - leggings or long socks, and remove them as you warm-up. Even try placing a hot-water bottle on your calf muscles or hamstrings.
  8. A warm-up routine should include Dynamic Stretching and some progressive efforts that are relevant to the main exercise/training session to follow.
  9. Always Static Stretch your legs after a run or cycle, it only takes a few minutes and will help prevent many potential problems.
  10. Achilles tendonitis is often the mis-diagnosis for many other lower-leg issues, namely [and mostly] tight & dysfunctional calf muscles.
  11. Most chronic, repetition-induced lower-leg injuries (including the foot) can be avoided through sensible training and prevention management.
  12. Consider having a regular Sports Massage every 3-4 weeks. A good Therapist/Masseur will also stretch your legs and provide feedback & advice.
  13. Acute injuries should be treated with RICE – Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Also seek advice from a qualified Therapist.
  14. Buy yourself a Foam Roller and use it at least once per week on your Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calf muscles.

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Happy Cross Training!


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