Back in Action UK kindly offered me a complimentary Running Analysis at one of their London clinics last week. A quick read of their website beforehand and I realised that this was just what I needed after the poor start to the year that I’ve had with endless niggles.
‘Frustrated by that nagging injury that’s stopping you exercising? Well, it could all be down to your running style, the way your feet hit the ground, or as simple as a tight hip flexor.’
We started by talking about my running, previous injuries, current niggles and discussed hip flexors, glutes and ITBs, stretching and foam rolling. Julia observed me standing and doing single leg calf raises and squats checking my balance and hip stability. I generally have tight calves and achilles, because I midfoot strike, and we discussed the need to strengthen my calves and achilles by doing these exercises regularly. She examined my legs, particularly the side of my left calf and knee which I had pain and cramp in on my recent race and answered my questions about the proper use of heat or ice in recovery. Julia advised me to engage my leg and glute muscles before exercise by doing squats, lunges or a bridge with good posture. This will fire the right muscles for running and promote good form when running.
I was then observed running on the treadmill. Some of the feedback for improving my form is,
- Work on a ‘parallel foot strike’ (as if running on tram lines) as I tend to run as if on a tightrope and this movement of my legs across my body can put strain on the ITB.
- Slightly increase my stride length so my foot hits the ground at a good angle.
- Keep my shoulders down and arm movements back and forwards and not across the body twisting my torso.
- Be more aware of my left side as my right leg leads. When I concentrated on my left leg my running did become smoother and more efficient.
- Making sure I ‘kick up’ my legs a bit more behind me to gain momentum for the forward stride so I don’t rely on my hip flexors to propel my legs forward.
I’ve also come away with a mental list of key exercises and stretches to support my running, some like squats, lunges, calf raises that I know I should to be doing. In addition the bridge for glutes and hip flexors, with a ball between my knees to keep hips knees and feet in line and to roll down from the bridge vertebrae by vertebrae to release tension in my back.
A very useful, informative, fact packed session from a friendly, professional physio practice with lots of running and sports expertise. Some new information gained as well as useful reinforcement and reminders of things I should do for strong injury free running.
Hopefully I won’t be in need of physiotherapy for running injuries too soon but if I do I know who to call.