Strengthen your springs

Running efficiency is the key to running faster. Our feet, ankles, knees and hips need to work together to absorb impact maintain a stable body position and propel the body forward. This is the all-important “spring” function. It can take years of consistent and focused running to develop a pair of resilient and finely-coordinated springs.

Running slower accentuates the spring effect as our body is required to adapt to an increase in vertical force from the ground. The major joints (particularly the knee) involved in shock absorption are therefore bending or flexing through a slightly increased range of motion. Given the intensity is reduced, your key running muscles are allowed greater opportunity to strengthen through this broader range of motion.

***There is an ideal zone of knee flexion, too much or too little and your springs might fail you. Combining specific running strength exercises are a great way to further enhance the function of your springs.

 

Time to focus
Running slower allows us time to think. Think about how we are running, where our feet are landing? where our head is positioned? How far our arms are swinging? In which direction are they swinging? The running-form checklist goes on….. This “systems check” procedure is often neglected by most runners, through lack of education and/or laziness. Efficient Running form ensures balanced load distribution through the entire body, reduced exertion per stride and opens the door to longer, faster running.   See: HOW A PODIATRY RUNNING ASSESSMENT CAN KEEP YOU INJURY FREE

 

Back-up your running
Running longer and faster requires consistency in training. If we attempt to run our guts out every time we lace up, we know what we’re in for….. Forced  rest for 2 or more days to recover from minor niggles, or worse – we’re out of action completely for weeks or months. Running slowly, with solid form enables the body to backup more quickly, consistently adding layers of endurance-strength from each run. Speed is earn’t through building a strong and resilient running body over time.

 

When it’s time to go – go harder!
The 80/20 rule is a widely accepted notion adopted by many elite level endurance coaches and athletes. Essentially it suggests 80% of the overall training volume should be undertaken at an easy aerobic intensity, and you guessed it 20% you go hard!! It’s easy to get caught in the trap of “feeling good” during a run and pushing yourself that little bit harder. The reality is, most runners have a false sense of their limitations, especially when the endorphins are talking.

Taxing our bodies at the wrong time leaves us in a cycle of training in the dreaded “grey zone”, continually running on sore and heavy legs. The grey zone is a speed killer, stay out of it!

 

When we start to think about the role of our feet, we might be quickly dismissive of the marvels attached at the end of our legs. Our feet carry us for some 10,000 steps each day, activating, loading and propelling us through life.

Anatomically speaking, each foot is a complex structure of 26 bones with a network of ligaments and other soft tissue helping to make 33 joints. There are 20 muscles in each foot (intrinsic) and another 13 that start above the ankle (extrinsic) that all need to activate and FUNCTION at the right time to allow our bodies to PERFORM.

 

Functional Feet Anatomy

 

Now for a little test: can you lift your big toe off the ground? You must keep the ball of your foot and your other toes on the floor. Could you do it? Not as easy as you thought?

FUCNTIONAL FEET are feet that utilise each of the 33 muscles to attenuate impact forces from the ground, readying the body for propulsion. Societal influences such as footwear, force some of these muscles and joints to be become less efficient causing other structures to overload. This is one factor that can contribute to injury!

By teaching our feet to become ‘FUNCTIONAL’ we are laying the foundation to reduce risk of injury and allowing our body to perform at a higher level.

When you tried to lift your big toe off the ground earlier, you were using a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic muscles to do so. Maybe it was difficult due to weakness? Maybe the joint is rigid? Or, maybe you haven’t had to activate that neural pathway for some time and you need to remember which muscles need to turn on?
Do YOU want to unlock the POTENTIAL of your feet? Every pair of feet has potential, no matter how old or how damaged. If we have an injury or a weakness in our body, we work hard to fix it and our feet should be no different.

Feet. That. Function. It’s that simple. Allow us to boost your performance in life!

Our podiatrists are qualified to assess, diagnose and provide you with a comprehensive strength and conditioning program to help you achieve the fullest potential of your feet!

Head to the link on our website to book in for an assessment today www.upandrunningpodiatry.com.au

With a whopping 23 AFL footballers benched for round 3 with foot, ankle and other podiatric problems the importance of proper rehabilitation after injury is only emphasised.

We thought we’d touch base on the ankle given it’s had a lot of attention lately.

Our ankle is made up of 3 bones, the talus, the tibia and the fibula. The bones are organised neatly with the tibia and fibula creating a mortise for the talus to tuck into. The joint is held into position due to its anatomical structure and a series of ligaments and tendons, some of which start in the calf and attach down at the furthest point in our toes.

Ankle Xray

Due to its anatomical structure the ankle joint itself only has two movements, dorsiflexion and plantarflexion or more commonly ‘up and down’ like the true hinge joint that it is.
All other movement around this area is achieved with other bones gliding against the talus enabling a complete range of motion and a joint that can become subject to the many stresses of multi-directional sports, uneven pavement and unfortunate landing.

The most common type of ankle injury is an inversion sprain- this is where you roll to the outside of your foot and damage the ligaments which keep the ankle stabilised.

Ankel sprain image

Ankle inversion injuries are graded from 1-3, with 1 involving a mild amount of damage and 3 being rupture of some of the ligaments and a highly unstable ankle joint. Pending on the severity of the injury there is also the possibility of bone involvement, with fractures of either the tibia, fibula or damage to the talar dome- these are more serious and require immobilisation with a moon boot and possibly surgery.

From the initial point of injury we cannot emphasise how important it is to stop what you’re doing- don’t push on, get off the foot and start conservative management. We recommend following ‘RICER’ Rest Ice Compression Elevation and Referral.
Referral means going on to see a health professional, this should be either your local GP, podiatrist or physiotherapist. This way a thorough assessment can be undertaken to determine the extent of the injury and any other interventions that might help you to recover quicker.

Research has shown you are 50% more likely to re-sprain the injured ankle if ankle dorsi-flexion is not restored, we can help you restore this!

Pending on the level of the injury, rehabilitation might start 2-6 weeks post injury.

Rehabilitation is aimed at improving movement, increasing stability and decreasing the risk of reinjury. It is important that you’re rehabilitation plan not only covers general ankle rehab but also sport specific rehabilitation to ensure that your ankle is ready to hold up to the demands of the sport you love.

 

As podiatrists we undertake a thorough biomechanical assessment to determine what structures have been damaged, the range of motion available and how stable the joint is.
A tailored ankle rehabilitation program is then created.
We would start with non-weight bearing mobilisation exercises that include:
● Up and Down motion at the ankle joint (dorsiflexion/plantarflexion)
● In and out motion at the ankle (inversion/eversion)
● Circular rotations
● A-Z with your ankle, this means writing out the captial letters of the alphabet with your ankle using your big toe as a cursor.

The above can all be advanced with use of a resistance band depending on your podiatrists assessment of your current range of motion or once initial strength increases.

We also prescribe some balancing exercises to get the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles activating around the joint.
● Stalks Pose- simply balancing on one foot using a wall to balance and increasing the level of difficulty by removing hands, then closing eyes and then changing the surface by introducing blankets and pillows.

Stork Pose

Sport specific exercises are something that we start to introduce once the initial strength and stability has increased to get you back to the sport that you love.

If you’re wanting some tailored advice, have struggled with chronic ankle instability or have a history of ankle sprains then head over to our ‘bookings’ page and make your appointment today.

Blister Management 101.

With Melbourne’s active events calendar in full swing and winter approaching, there’s no better time to refresh your blister management plan.

Blisters form in response to something rubbing against the skin in the opposite direction. It’s a combination of frictional and shearing forces that causes the skins layers to come apart, our body then needs to protect and repair the area so there is a shift of fluid into the location; hence the painful fluid filled bubble that we all know too well…the blister!

Working out why a blister has formed can be straightforward or there can be a few elements intertwined together. The list that follows is an example of some of reasons we will see blister presentation:

  • Shoes pulling down while the foot slides up (normally with newer shoes as they haven’t gotten their flexion point at the toes yet)
  • Pivoting or twisting (this can happen at the forefoot or heel)
  • Biomechanical overload/inefficiency
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive body moisture)
  • Bony prominences/deformities
  • Callous/Hard Skin (indicator of high loading area)
  • Technique (Running and walking)

You might not have suffered from blisters when walking, running or participating in events before so we recommend you look out for red flags on your feet, especially if your KM’s are about to increase.

  • Hot Spots- these are areas that feel ‘hot’ when you’re moving. They haven’t blistered yet but it’s your body warning you that there is a point of friction and increased force.
  • Callous- already areas of high day to day loading (heels and ball of your foot) the thickened skin can blister deeper under the callous or around the area. A good idea to talk with your podiatrist.
  • Bony Prominences- areas such as bunions, tops of toes or back of the heels they might be a little red or tender.
  • • Hyperhidrosis (excessive body moisture)
  • Sweat: look at your skin, socks and shoe liners.

Benjamin Franklin famously quoted “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” this is particularly relevant to blister prevention! These are our tips to help you out:

  • General foot health
    • Keep nails short.
    • Look out for macerated skin between the toes.
    • Keep skin hydrated but not moist (find the balance).
  • Ensure your shoe has been fitted correctly
    • You might need to consider the use of lock lacing to draw the back of the shoe more firmly around your heel and stop some slipping.
    • Don’t do the event in new shoes- make sure they’ve had a few weeks wear in.
    • For more information on Shoe fitting refer to the blog post “Are running shoes making us weak? How do we choose?” http://www.upandrunningpodiatry.com.au/announcement/are-running-shoes-making-us-weak-how-do-i-choose/
  • Socks
    • Double socking works for some but it can also increase the amount of friction.
    • If you’re going to purchase new socks look for one which has a technical fit (a tight band around the arch to hold it in place and/or a left and right foot fit). The sock should also have some antimicrobial and moisture wicking properties. Some good examples are: X-socks and Thorlo’s.
    • For a cheaper option try and keep clear of ‘blend’ fibres. Look for 100% Wool or Cotton.
  • Use of powders, sprays and solutions
    • These are designed to reduce friction by either reducing the amount of moisture or allowing the skin to slide over the normally frictional surface.
    • Common easy to use options are baby powder, body balm and antiperspirant deodorant (yes, on your feet!)
    • Condy’s crystals are a solution that you can use but you should discuss the quantity with your podiatrist.
    • Try and avoid vasoline type rubs- these have been proven to increase friction with long duration activity.
  • Bandaid Preparation
    • You most likely would have already noticed some hot spots on your feet, don’t ignore these! They’re your bodies’ way of pre-warning you.
      • Use a hypoallergenic tape such as mefix or hypafix to buffer the area.
      • This is handy for interdigital hot spots, you can use the taping method as shown below.
      • Compeed can be handy but be warned! In some cases we’ve seen it get caught into the blister and when removing it gets messy. Probably something that’s better suited to day to day management but if you’re out running a marathon or completing the Oxfam trailwalker then might be best to adopt another method.

 

Blister dressing

Method for hot spot toe taping with hypoallergenic tape:

1)      Hypoallergenic tape and Scissors

2)      Cut the desired length and round of the tape

3)      Cut at the lines marked to make flaps

4)      Adhere to tip of toe with square ends going along the inside and outside

5)      Fix the top and bottom to the toe

6)      Seal off the tape.

 


Make sure you don’t pop the blister. You risk infection and further break down of the skin.
If you’ve left it a bit late and already have a blister or the management didn’t go to plan that’s ok!

  • Dress it daily with a bandaid and betadine. You might need to consider some offloading such as donut padding or different shoes depending on the location.
  • We would recommend coming to see your podiatrist if you’ve noticed some hot spots on your feet or there is a deep blister.
  • Podiatrists can relieve your blisters in a sterile manner and keep the skin intact and safe
  • Your podiatrist can look at offloading techniques such as felt, pads or mechanical correction and assess your technique and gait to give you a better idea of why particular areas are loading up and some tips to modify.

If you’ve signed up to some of the big events this year like the Oxfam trailwalker, the Salomon Trail series, the Great Ocean Road Marathon (or Ultra Marathon!) or maybe even your first family friendly event, make sure you prepare, listen to your body and look out for those hot spots. All of our Podiatrists are trained to help you with your blistering needs over the active period. Happy Running!

With the amount of variations and updates in running shoe technology it can be overwhelming in deciding what shoe to choose. This is made or the more difficult with so much noise coming from different health, athletic and and armchair experts. Before we delve into the concept of the “evil” supportive running shoe, below is a clear outline of the universally accepted, key components that make a shoe “supportive”.

 

a) Foam density and thickness of the midsole. The midsole is the “engine room” of the shoe, it determines initial shock attenuation and rebound energy. Lower density/softer foams will result in a more cushioned feel (however may increase load on the foot /ankle due to instability). Some running shoes are constructed with multiple densities of foam, usually with the higher density positioned toward the inside of the heel/arch region. This type of shoe may alter the forces in relation to pronation (rolling inward at the ankle)

b) Torsional Stability. The force required to twist/bend the shoe in half (determined by strength of the central shank of the midsole.)

c) Heel drop. This is the difference between the position of heel relative to the forefoot, this may vary from 0mm up to 15mm (approx.) The lower the heel the greater the tendency to strike at the mid-foot or fore-foot (hopefully), in any case there will be more emphasis on muscle- tendon loading which will be tolerated differently between individuals. See; Barefoot Running

d) Heel counter stiffness. The section of the shoe that wraps around the heel. Increased flexibility of the heel counter will result in increased side-to-side (pronation/supination) movement of the foot and ankle.

 

Running shoe anatomy

 

The support level of your running shoe should be based on several factors;

 

1) Injury History (type/severity/location)

2) Level of conditioning;

  • to running (overall time and consistency of running)
  • to a particular shoe (support level),
  • extent of layoff period/s
  • muscular strength and mobility relevant to running

3) Inherent biomechanical deficiencies (Severity of “collapsed arches” “rolling inward/outward”)

5) Typical running surface

6) Body-weight

As you can appreciate there is just so much variation between individuals and their current physical state, this makes prescribing the “perfect” running shoe absolutely impossible!

Clinically speaking, people with less running experience and several injury “risk factors”  generally respond well with a higher level of support when starting out, but this is never clear-cut. Like in any healthcare scenario, the convergence of so many variables means the practitioner can never 100% guarantee a positive outcome whether it be surgery, medication prescription , strength programming and so on.

Those relatively new to running (or returning after a long lay-off) are certainly at a higher risk of sustaining an injury due to over-load (or under-recovery…..). Training principles including graduated loading and technique are fundamentals that underpin a successful running campaign, see; Podiatry Running Assessment

The appropriate support level from your running shoe is also crucial to ensure the load on your feet and legs are more easily managed in those early stages. For beginners, the sheer act of running will increase muscle activity and increasing muscle strength regardless of the support level of your shoe.

When starting a running program we advise having your footwear fitted professionally at a reputable store with emphasis on adequate stability, cushioning, heel pitch (8-12mm) and with or without “dual density” depending on the degree of inward movement of the ankle whilst your foot is in contact with the ground. Ultimately your feedback of combined comfort and support from a particular shoe should guide your decision.

In many cases given natural foot function falls within the “healthy” range, progressive development of specific running strength and fitness over time, may allow a gradual shift to a shoe with reduced weight and corresponding reduced “supportive” features. Those with inherent foot function considered less efficient, certainly have the ability to adapt to a lighter weight running shoe and we think this should be encouraged, it will only make you a stronger and more efficient runner. In this case, the process needs to be slowed down even further with an increased focus on specific strength/technique training in addition to just running, therefore patience and motivation is vital.

If you are unsure that your foot type might place you at risk of injury or have repeat episodes of foot, ankle or leg pain when attempting to run, a Podiatry biomechanical and running assessment will be of great benefit. Running technique, foot biomechanincs, training load and footwear will all be thoroughly assessed to ensure all are working in synergy.

Phone 9531 3773 to book a biomechanical assessment with one of our Sports Podiatrists.

As the summer holidays draw to a close it’s an important time to think about the foot health of children. While the start of the school may bring tears and tantrums, it also means less time barefoot and more time spent in enclosed shoes.

Our podiatrists have some simple advice to help parents work through the vast array of schools shoes on the market.

1. Fit (length)

The single most important factor to consider when purchasing new school shoes is the fit for the child. Not enough room and your child’s toes will soon be jammed at the end of the shoe and too much room will result in slipping at the heel and instability for the whole foot. So how much room is just right? Use the breadth of your thumb nail as a guide. About 12mms at the end of the shoe is the correct amount to allow room for growth while still providing a firm fit. Encourage your child to lift his/ her toe to touch the upper of the shoe and gently press down from above to find the most distal point. A single thumb nail should lie between the point of the toe and the end of the shoe.

2. Fit (width)

Often overlooked in the fit of a school shoe is the width of the child’s foot. A simple technique used in our podiatry clinics is to remove the inner sole from the shoe and place it on the ground. Have your child stand on the inner sole and look for any part of the foot that is overhanging. This is most common at the forefoot (ball of the foot) and signifies the shoe is too narrow. If the shoe does not have a removable inner sole, apply the same principle with the foot in the shoe. Always remember to do this standing! Many shoe brands (e.g. Clarks and Ascent) now offer multiple width fittings so don’t be afraid to ask the retail assistant about this.

3. Support

A school shoe with ‘good’ support is one that has a firm heel counter (the back part of the shoe), a stiff sole through the arch that only bends at the ball of the foot and some kind of adjustable fixation i.e. laces, buckles or velcro. If your child wears orthotics, another consideration may be a removable inner sole for extra room in the shoe.

4. Durability

Quality often comes with a price tag, but are the extra dollars justified? School shoe brands such as ‘Ascent’ combine the durable materials of a tradition school shoe, with the cushioning and support of a running shoe. They typically cost a little more than other brands but will undoubtedly last long/ wear better, saving you money in the long run. If $80 – $110 for a pair of school shoes if beyond your price range, IT IS STILL OKAY! As long as you stick to the supportive features above and ensure CORRECT FIT, your child will be running around the oval and jumping on the playground like no other! Other reputable brands to consider are Clarkes, Ecco, Harrison and Start Rite.

Still think you need more help?

Here are some of the stores we think offer the best service and advice: The Athlete’s Foot, Active Feet, Ann Lewis Shoes (in Hawthorn) and Williams Shoes.

Is an appointment with a podiatry necessary? If you have noticed abnormal/ excessive wear patterns on your child’s shoes from the previous year, or your child is complaining of foot or ankle pain, consult one of our expert podiatrists today.

Normally there’s a recent pedicure at the store or at home, a new pair of shoes or a bit of trauma. Then there is a little bit of discomfort, a bit of redness and before you know it, it’s a full blown can’t-put-my-toe-in-my-shoe-dont-even-think-about-touching-it ingrown toenail.

A true ingrown nail or onychocryptosis is when the skin surrounding the nail is impacted by the nail plate itself . This can be due to a number of reasons as mentioned above including incorrect nail cutting, trauma from footwear or direct pressure or a genetic predisposition due to nail shape and bone structure to name a few.

Ingrown Toenail

The trauma at the skin causes a protective inflammatory response at the site from our body- it tries to remove the foreign body or in this case the part of the nail that is hitting the skin. Despite our body’s efforts, unfortunately until the spike or section of nail is removed this process does nothing but create more discomfort, swelling, redness and sometimes pus.

Ingrown toenails are a common presentation to us as podiatrists and they can easily be treated within our clinic. First line treatments are very conservative and involve assessing the toe, identifying the cause and intending to remove any spikes. At this consult we might discuss footwear, sporting activities or your general foot care regime. Depending on the assessment and the level of infection, you might be asked to see your general practitioner for a course of antibiotics.

If consecutive conservative management is unsuccessful or the ingrown is a recurring problem then a discussion is normally had about a partial nail avulsion- this a small procedure whereby the side of the nail that is impacting on the skin is removed and a chemical is used to stop that portion of nail from growing back. This is also known as a nail surgery. This procedure generally takes no more than 10 minutes and there are no stitches required. You are required to stay off your foot as much as possible for the rest of the day but generally you can return to normal low impact activities, such as work, shopping, etc the next day with return to sport normally discussed at your first review appointment.

Our advice:
If you suspect an ingrown toenail- don’t attempt to cut it back or treat it yourself. Bathe with warm water and salt, apply an antiseptic such as betadine to the side of the nail and keep it protected with a bandaid and make an appointment with your podiatrist so that they can actively and correctly rectify and treat the nail.

 

With summer in full swing, thongs and sandals get dusted off, barefoot time starts to increase and we tend to be outdoors more. Over the warmer months and those following we tend to see an increase in the presentation of “heel pain”.

Plantar Fasciitis is a common diagnosis for heel pain that is normally worse in the morning and tends to get better as the day progresses. It can also spike again after a period of rest post high intensity or inactivity.

There are many causes for heel pain. Normally a combination of variables such as, footwear, increased standing or activity, weight gain, muscle tightness, biomechanics and age which can go un-noticed, reach threshold- whereby the plantar fascia can no longer repair itself and symptoms arise.

Plantar Fasciitis

So, does this sound familiar? What do you do next?

Firstly, identifying any recent changes might be of benefit. This could be something as simple as ‘I’ve started going for a walk in the evening’ to ‘I’ve started wearing my summer sandals that I’ve worn every year again’.

It is worthwhile trying some conservative management such as:
1. Massaging with a frozen bottle or a tennis/golf ball
2. Moving the foot around before getting out of bed to warm up the fascia
3. Reduce barefoot time at home
4. Make sure footwear is suitable (AKA podiatry friendly)

It is also of great benefit to have a full podiatry biomechanical assessment, where your podiatrist will be able to identify key risk factors that are individualised to you and your heel pain. During the consult further conservative management methods such as stretching, heel lifts, taping or footwear can be tailored to you and a conclusive diagnosis can normally be made.

If conservative management is not enough to reduce your heel pain, where appropriate a podiatrist can prescribe an orthotic which would further help reduce the mechanical strain on the fascia, provide extra corporeal shockwave therapy (which is a safe, effective and simple treatment for cases that are not responding to conservative management/conjunct therapy ) or in extreme cases a referral for a corticosteroid injection or surgical opinion can be made.

Plantar heel pain is not something that you have to live with forever!
There are many treatment options and combinations that can be utilised to regress plantar heel pain.
A discussion with your podiatrist or allied health professional can be a great starting point.

*The information provided above is targeted at an adult population.



 

Yates, B. (2012). Merriman’s Assessment of the Lower Limb (3rd ed., p. 487). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Schmitz, C., Császár, N., Rompe, J., Chaves, H., & Furia, J. (2013). Treatment of chronic plantar fasciopathy with extracorporeal shock waves (review). Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research J Orthop Surg Res, (8), 31-31. doi:10.1186/1749-799X-8-31

Melbourne Marathon

It’s just over a week now until some 10,000 runners converge on Melbourne’s CBD for the Melbourne Marathon Festival. With five races available on the day, the event caters for all fitness levels. I am running my second marathon, and while this information is targeted towards my fellow marathon competitors, it can also be applied to the shorter distance events.

1. Footwear

Some runners may rotate between multiple pairs of shoes during their training program. A shoe that is appropriate for your foot type is important, but by now you will know what ‘feels best’ on your feet. Pick this shoe and stick with it!

The general life span of a shoe has an upper limit of 800 km. Personally, I like to have run at least 200 km in a shoe I am going to use on race day. Barring any manufacturing faults, it is too late to change now.

2. Race gear

Collect your race pack on one of the allocated days leading up to October 19th and lay all of your race gear out the night before. It is important to consider all accessories including your race bib, sun glasses, a visor, body glide (or similar anti-chaff balms) , technical running socks, gels and an IPod (if you have trained listening to music). It is important that you do not include anything new that you haven’t trained with on your long runs! Now is also the time to think about where you are going to store your gels.

NB- Technical running socks are those that wick moisture away from the skin and have a finer knit fiber to minimize friction. Using these will decrease your chances of developing those dreaded blisters later in the race when your feet are perspiring and swollen.

3. Hydration and fueling

The long range weather forecast for race day is looking good at a comfortable 23 degrees. However, if the recent warmer Melbourne weather is anything to go by, hydration leading up to the day will be vital! Hydration should commence at least three days before race day. The amount of water and electrolytes required will vary between individuals. As a general rule, two litres of water per day with the occasional Endura (or other electrolyte product) is a good guide.

Carb loading should also be considered 2-3 days before the event. Stick to simple carbs including breads, rice, pasta and potatoes. Remember, it is called carb loading not CRAP LOADING! Do not change your portion sizes and do not binge on junk food as this will leave you feeling heavy on race day.

In-race fueling is often very subjective and after experimenting during your long runs you should now know what your body does and doesn’t like. The key things to consider are the number of gels you are likely to require during the race. There is a scientific formula which can be used to calculate the required carbohydrate replenishment per kilo of body weight, but I will use my own weight and strategy as a simpler example.

On race day I expect to be weighing around 75-76 kgs. I will have a very small breakfast consisting of half a cup of oats and half a banana with skim milk. No more than 500 mls of water is required on race morning, anymore and you may need a toilet stop during the race.
I plan to consume one gel at the start line and wash it down with a small sip of water. If the weather is warm I plan to take a drink at each of the drink stations which are spaced every 3kms along the course. After the first 12kms I like to alternate between water and electrolytes at each drink station. I will take three gels along the course; roughly one per hour. For example, I will consume a gel after one hour (or 12-13kms), another after two hours (25-26kms) and then again at the 34km mark (I’ll need it to tackle the climb towards the shrine)!

4. Race plan

The most important message here is to have a race plan and STICK TO IT! Do not get overcome with emotion and take off like a race horse weaving in and out of traffic. CONSERVE YOUR ENERGY EARLY! Do not zig-zag around people in the first 3-5kms and try to run the straightest possible lines from corner to corner. Last year I ran 42.6 kms (according to my garmin). This meant I ran a further 400m’s than the shortest possible on course route. This added some 2-3mins to my goal time.

During the first 10-12kms I suggest running just outside your planned race pace. This will best allow your body to utilize its fat stores and preserve valuable glycogen for later in the race.
Move up to your race pace during flatter sections of the course and be prepared for your splits to balloon out a little once you start the hill towards the shrine. Once you reach Domain road, the course is largely flat/ downhill so you’ll have plenty of time to make up any time – provided you have the energy left!

5. Recovery
You’ve done it! Enjoy the feeling of finishing a marathon and be proud of the hard work and sacrifice it took to get there!

Don’t forget to recover – this will reduce the number of days post-race where you need the kitchen bench to hold you up, or dread going to the toilet from fear of not being able to get back up! Take a foam roller with you and spend at least 10 minutes rolling out the major muscle groups after the race. I then suggest heading straight down to the bay and standing in chest deep water for two 20 minute cycles.
Be confident in your training and enjoy the ride. GOOD LUCK!

Marathon logo (1)MB Finish

 

Whether we runners like to admit it, the majority of us have individual weaknesses of some degree. These weaknesses may be occupation related (a lot of time spent sitting) or due to a lack of conditioning. These deficiencies may surface in the form of enforced rest due to injury, or disruption of regular training sessions due to fatigue or persistent ‘niggles’.

All runners are different; we have different motivations, different injury history, different biomechanics and different levels of physical strength.

As important as biological factors are, running technique can be the key to keeping injury free. Improved running technique can often reduce the reliance on strength and biomechanical injury factors.

Awareness of running ‘form’ should always be considered at any level of running and below are some basic tips on where to make a start.

athlete

– Shoulders and head level
– Stand tall with your chest proud
– Arms relaxed with elbows at 90 degrees
– ‘Tuck’ hips beneath your body (belly button sucked in and up)
*Important for glute activation*
– Pelvis should remain stable (minimal tilt and rotation)
– Grounded leg should be straight in-line at the ankle, knee and hip
– Bend forward at the ankle only
– Foot strike to take place under the hip, reducing any ‘braking’ force from your leg
– Maintain a cadence of close to 180 steps per minute to reduce over-striding
– Forefoot, Midfoot or Heel strike? Do what feels most comfortable; just get it under your hip!

Sometimes correct running form and a smart graduated program of distance and intensity still doesn’t quite get the job done when trying to stay injury free. This is when foot biomechanics and hip /leg strength should be considered.

An efficient biomechanical foot is essentially one that that ‘pronates’ (rolls inward) within a healthy range, and is therefore capable of absorbing repetitive forces apposed from the ground.

A podiatry biomechanical running assessment is designed to identify abnormal foot biomechanics. A podiatrist can identify risk factors for injury through way of thorough history taking, joint range of motion testing , footwear assessment and a running examination via treadmill video gait analysis.
Potential treatment may include;

– A tailored stretching and strengthening program to improve soft tissue compliance and stability
– Footwear advice to ensure your foot is exposed to safe degree of ground reaction force
– Strapping and padding to temporarily improve foot function and settle acute injuries
– Potential intervention with pre-fabricated to fully customised foot orthotics if required.

Up and Running Podiatry offers an extensive 45 minute running assessment designed for runners of all levels.