31 May How I’m Training for the City2Surf – Part 4
In addition to having an effective running program, it is important to have methods of recovery in place. Recovery involves reducing muscle fatigue and soreness to allow our bodies to function as they did prior to a training session. This part of a training program had been often overlooked and is one that running shoes companies have begun investing into in recent years due to the increased importance of recovery. If fatigue in muscles is carried on without proper recovery, this will build overtime, leading to overuse injuries. Here are a few of the recovery methods I use before and after my running sessions:
Warming up and down exercises:
Warming up and down exercises should also be in place to go along with each run. Collectively with suitable shoes, this will aid your muscles in recovery and reduce the risk of injuries to your lower legs. Everyone has various warming up and down routines. The way I like to warm up for a run is to initially walk beforehand for approximately 5 minutes or slowly jog on the spot for a couple of minutes. This will increase blood flow to my lower limb and prepare them for the run ahead through a technique called dynamic stretching, i.e. stretching with movement. Static stretching is not suitable before a run as it will not increase blood flow to your legs and prepare you for a run. This is suitable after a run to help lengthen your muscles that have been fatigued during the run and, along with other interventions will facilitate recovery. Below are stretches that I utilise for my hamstrings and glute muscles:
To perform the hamstring stretch effectively, place the leg that is being stretched onto a chair or step. Ensure that your back leg is straight, and not bent, and that you maintain an upright posture. Place your hands on the knee of the leg being stretched and you will feel the stretch through your hamstrings. Hold this for approximately 20 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the opposite leg.
To perform the glute stretch effectively, lay on your back with your head resting on the ground. If you are stretching your left glute muscles, as in the photo, place the foot of your right leg on top of your left knee. Then, place your left hand behind your left knee, and your right hand on your right knee. As you slowly push your right knee, you will feel the stretch in your glute muscles. Hold this for approximately 20 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the opposite leg.
Using a foam roller on sore muscles:
Rolling out your muscles after a running session is an effective self – massage that will increase blood flow to tight muscles and reduce soreness the following day. As seen in the photos below, isolate the foam roller to your calf muscle, with your foot off the ground. Gently lift your body off the ground and massage across your calf muscles for approximately 20 seconds. Once you have done this, focus rolling the inside of your calf muscles for 20 seconds, then repeat this for your outside calf muscles. Once completed, repeat this for the opposite leg.
Changing footwear after a running session:
When pain arises in our legs, generally it is more noticeable after a training session and at night compared to the rest of the day. To further reduce pain and fatigue, providing our feet with a softer feeling through wearing different footwear after a running session is vital. This is because a change in the shock absorption going through your feet, from running in firm, supportive shoes to softer and easier to slip on shoes, reduces the ground reaction forces going through your muscles and joints, allowing them to relax. This can be done through wearing softer shoes, or I prefer to wear my OOFOS slides.
Recovery is a crucial component of your running program that, along with the components of the previous blogs, will aid in reducing your risk of injury and ensure your run on the day of the City2Surf is smooth and enjoyable. If you have any concerns about these, let the team at SOLE– LUTION PODIATRY help you. You can reach us on 02 9569 5145 or book online at https://sole-lutionpodiatry.com.au/book-online/.
Thanks and good luck for the race!