YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health Spring 2017 - Page 17

AMY GIANNOTTI, APD Amy is a dietitian, sports dietitian, personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, running coach, athlete, author and dietitian and director of nutrition at Wholesome Plates, Melbourne’s newest and healthiest meal delivery service. Find out more about Amy at www.eatingfit.com.au 4 Strengthen your framework CORRECT TECHNIQUE Familiar Running Form Good running form Compact arms Balanced forward posture Posture out of balance Knee & joint pain High cadence Overstriding Heel strike Proper foot strike to long distance running, a high cadence of around 180 steps per minute is optimal – although there may be some small variations among runners of different heights. In contrast, taking larger strides is more taxing and adds more load on your body, which can lead to an increased risk of injury. 3  Program your training into specific goals Many runners have a goal to run further or faster. If every session is run like a race (i.e. either running as fast or as long as you can), then your performance gains will be limited and over time, more likely to be hindered with injury. Remember that adaptations (changes) occur during recovery. Exercise is the stress or ‘stimulus’ that during recovery our body aims to ‘adapt’ to the stress with numerous physiological mechanisms that allow us to run faster and longer. Break up your training to focus on goals (e.g. speed, strength, speed endurance (tempo) and endurance). For example, Monday could have a focus on speed; Wednesday can focus on strength including hill repeats; Thursday could be a tempo-focused session where a ‘race pace’ is simulated (depends on running event/distance); and Sunday could be a long and easy run, where it’s not about running as far and as fast as you can, but more about building your aerobic capacity, conditioning your whole body, and focusing on ingraining good technique. Many runners neglect their strength training due to time constraints, or a fear of feeling too heavy or sore, and affecting their run. But if you want longevity in your running, you cannot neglect your framework or scaffolding, because you can only get so far with weak framework. Common weakness in runners includes muscles of the hips and core. Strength training for runners doesn’t have to include long sessions in the gym lifting heavy loads. If you are training for a specific race or event, then a progressive strength training program should be built around your race season or event date, which addresses general strength, strength endurance, maximum strength, and then a power and competition phase. And each block or phase should be designed to build on each other, so that you peak at the right time for your race. As a start, great benefits can be found from simple glute and core activation exercises that may activate and isolate these stabilising muscles. You can then progress into more compound and functional movements, once these muscles are awake and firing. Strengthening these stabilising muscles will support your larger muscles, improve your running technique, power, and economy, and reduce the risk of pain and injury that often occurs due to muscle imbalances. If you want to be running for a long time, then strength training should be a priority! 5 Improve your mobility and open the gates to greater performance Tight muscles can limit your range of movement, inhibit the right muscles from working at their optimum, and consequently limit your running stride and performance, while increasing your risk of injury. Dynamic stretches before training and racing, static stretches afterwards, and self-massage using foam rollers or other trigger point instruments can be very effective when performed correctly and regularly. Not only can they help improve your range of movement and performance, but they can also aid in your recovery. SPRING 2017 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE 17