Get the basics right before you kickstart your training
Pre-run screen and baseline fitness considerations before undertaking your running programme:
We encourage all runners to perform a basic strength and balance screen before undertaking a training plan for the upcoming Hope and Dream 10 mile/10k run. In addition we encourage everyone to build up an endurance base of walking 3-4 miles comfortably before attempting to jog or run.
There are a few simple self assessment tests you can perform to check your body’s ability to stabilize itself adequately during running and minimize injury risk.
These two easy to perform pre-run screens will help identify areas of weakness that should be addressed before undertaking your running programme.
1: SINGLE LEG BRIDGE
Gently come up into a bridge position as shown in the picture below. From this position raise left leg while keeping hips elevated in the air. Return to starting position, repeat bridge position while raising right leg. Identify differences side to side. Pay particular attention to the position of your hips.
If you are unable to maintain a level hips/pelvis position while alternating leg lifts this is a positive sign of hip weakness and a red flag to start your running programme. Use this test as a strengthening activity. Work diligently till you can perform the bridge exercise for one to two minutes with minimal hip/pelvic movements.
TWO: BALANCE/ PROPRIOCEPTION ASSESSMENT
Standing on your right leg, raise your left knee and hip to a 90/90 position. Holding this position, close your eyes and try to maintain for 30 seconds. Assess doing the same on your left leg. An adult should be able to maintain this single leg position with eyes closed for a minimum of 30 seconds.
If you are unable to maintain a single leg stance comfortably with your eyes closed this is another red flag that must be addressed before you start your
running programme. Use this test as an exercise to improve your balance and proprioceptive ability. Work diligently till you can perform this single leg balance activity for one to two minutes with minimal loss of balance.
Several common injuries originate from weakness in the hip muscles and core region and poor proprioceptive awareness which can be identified with the above screens. It is also worth noting risk of injury increases with the following.
Women tend to lack strength and stability in comparison to males. The reasons for this are not fully understood but the pelvic/hip alignment of a women is different to a man and this may be an underlying cause women have to be more conscious of their running form.
PREVIOUS HISTORY OF INJURY
Past injuries may play a role in placing you in the increased risk for injury category due to compensation and alteration of normal gait pattern.
INCREASING MILEAG E QUICKLY
Slight gait abnormalities and muscle imbalances may not affect the body if you are running short distances a couple of times a week. However, if you ramp up your mileage these small weaknesses can turn into injury as increased miles magnify these weaknesses and can. lead to break down.
Build your endurance base for running by walking while working on the above exercises. Running is much more fun injury free.
Small strength and stability gains can pay huge dividend to running longevityand overall enjoyment.
Dr Bryan Crouch,
Dr Julie Kirwan, Crouch & Kirwan Chartered Physiotherapists
15 Abbey Square Centre Enniscorthy 087-449-7955