Categories
Cross training Leg injuries Recovery

Tibial Stress Fractures – The Injured Runner

Stress Fractures are a condition where training load has exceeded your body’s ability to maintain bone structure, resulting in partial to complete breakdown of the bone. The most common sites for a stress fracture in the shin are the top inner portion of the shinbone (medial tibial plateau) and the central portion of the shin. Firm pressure on the bone in these two regions is usually distinctly painful.

Initially, you may be able to run without pain after you have warmed up; however, pain is often increased after the run. As the condition progresses the pain intensifies and will often leaves you limping. An X-ray will can be used to confirm the diagnosis after three weeks of symptoms (although this varies).

Whole food provided in the form of milk products with high potein, calcum and vitamin D is the best known nutritional guidance to prevent stress fracture and may speed recovery. Vitamin D (800iu per day) and Calcium (2g per day) intake has been shown to reduce the incidence of stress fractures in military cadets by 27% and should aid in quicker healing.

Treatments:

  • This condition requires more aggressive rest. Plan on at least six weeks of not running. Cycling, swimming or deep water running are the best cross training options because of the decreased weight bearing. If you are limping when you walk, using crutches until the limp is gone will dramatically speed recovery.
  • In my experience with basic trainees, doing hamstring and adductor stretches will speed recovery for a stress fracture of the medial tibial plateau.
  • Anti-inflammatories may actually delay bone healing. Use ice to get rid of the pain and alter your training so that it is pain free.
  • Vibration has been shown to accelerate bone healing. You can try using a vibrational massager by placing the massager on the bone a couple of inches away from the sore spot and holding it for 2-4 minutes twice per day.
Categories
Cross training Uncategorized

Cross Training – The Injured Runner

Running is a physically demanding sport. Researchers have estimated that 37 to 56% of regularly training runners sustain an injury each year. Many runners find that alternating other forms of exercise into their routine allows them to train at greater intensities without getting injured. Once an injury has occurred cross training allows the athlete to maintain or even improve their performance during recovery.

Ed Eyestone, two time U.S. Olympic Marathoner, sustained a stress fracture in his foot during the cross country season of his senior year in High School. Determined to compete in the state cross country championships Ed took his training to the pool. In the pool Ed was able to run without pain. His foot healed while the intense workouts improved his fitness level. Ed won the state cross country championship that year only having run once prior in a qualifying race. He would later publish research on water running, verifying the benefit of alternate forms of exercise on running performance.

For beginning runners cross training is a tremendous way to more quickly improve your fitness level without over straining your muscles and bones. Three days of the week you could run and on the other days cross train. As your body accommodates to the stress of running decrease the number of cross training sessions. If you are training in a gym you could run more frequently and divide your training time with cross training. For example, you could run ten minutes and cycle or use the stairmaster for 20 minutes. Everyone is unique – find the blend that is right for you.

More competitive runners may want to supplement their program with cross training to enhance performance and prevent injury. There is limited research describing which modes of cross training actually improve running performance. In one study, beginning runners were able to improve running performance (race times) by training on a stairstepper instead of running. Most studies on cross training have demonstrated improvements in the body’s ability to use oxygen (VO2 Max) but not necessarily improved running performance (race times). Research on cycling and swimming has demonstrated enhanced running performance when athletes have added these modes of exercise, at high intensities, to an existing training programmes.

If you are currently injured and want to use cross training to maintain your fitness level and enhance healing it is essential that the mode of exercise be pain free. More severe injuries will only allow you to train in the pool whereas other injuries may allow you to train on an elliptical without pain. You may want to seek the guidance of an experienced physical therapist or coach to help you with this decision. In general, you can continue with the same amount of training as well as the same intensity just in a different form. Just remember to keep it pain free.

Categories
Butt pain Cross training stretches

Butt Strengthening – The Injured Runner

Butt strengthening is one of the most important things you can do to recover from or prevent a running related injury. Below we have posted three safe exercises that most runners can perform even when their knee is painful (do not perform these if it hurts your knee). These are exercises that you can perform on a daily basis and are arranged from easiest to most difficult. Start with 10 reps and progress to 30 or more.

Butt Lift

 

Lift your butt trying to make a straight line from your ankle to shoulder.

10 – 30x

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Butt Lift / Ball Roll

 

Simultaneously lift your butt and roll the ball toward your butt.

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Butt Lift March

 

Hold your butt up while alternately lifting your legs.

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Categories
Core training Cross training Training tips

Rope Jumping for Runners – The Injured Runner

Many of us haven’t touched a jump rope since school days. You may have memories of hours of fun while singing silly songs, embarrassment of your lack of coordination or fear of getting near the girls that could jump the shoes off of you.

Rope jumping can be an extremely effective supplement to your running program. With a little bit of effort you will run better, faster and with greater enjoyment. Rope jumping improves:

  • Running speed
  • Foot strength
  • Muscular balance
  • Coordination
  • Aerobic and anaerobic fitness

Rope Jumping Tips

If you are one of the many people who feel uncoordinated when rope jumping try “air jumping” or jumping without a rope. Simply jump as if you were spinning a rope until you become more confident, then add the rope in for a more vigorous work out and enhanced coordination.

Rope jumping is best performed on a firm surface. A wood floor, like a basketball court, is optimal but any firm surface will work.

Wear your running shoes when you jump to cushion and protect your feet. If you are “air jumping” you can train in the grass but it doesn’t work well for rope jumping.

Initially, start by jumping with both feet 20 times, then left foot 20 times, and then right foot 20 times. Gradually increase your number of hops rotating between double and single leg hops (see “Training Program”).

When you jump think of springing with your feet – your knees should be only slightly bent. Your heels should not touch or only touch very softly.

Listen to yourself jump. Jumps should be soft and rhythmic. If your jumps are strained and loud perform fewer hops but more sets (10 sets of 5 instead of 50 consecutive jumps) focusing on fewer but high quality jumps.

Use the circular motion of your wrists to spin the rope as opposed to using your arms.

Limit your rope jumping to twice per week. Once you have reached Step 3, one workout per week will maintain your gains.

Always jump the same number of jumps on each foot. If you can do 40 jumps on your right foot and 30 on your left then limit the hops to 30. You have been over training your dominant leg for years. This is the time to balance and restore symmetry.

rope-jumping_clip_image007-4923343Train pain free! If you can’t hop on one foot because of pain you will need to use a lower impact form of cross training (swimming, cycling, elliptical, rollerblading, etc.) until you can jump without pain. If you can jump without pain but at the end of your workout your heel / Achilles is tender for less than 10 minutes you may continue jump training.

If counting drives you crazy try singing one of those silly songs.

As you feel more comfortable try some variations: deeper knee bend, torso twist, side hops, double rope spin, weighted rope, etc.

Be patient and have fun with your rope jumping!

The Training Program

This is an example program, modify it to meet your needs.

Both Feet Right Foot Left Foot
Level 1

(210 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

Level 2*

(420 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

Level 3*

(690 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

*Only progress to the next level when you have no soreness the morning after your workout.

Bryan Whitesides MPT, OCS

Physical Therapist

www.betterrunner.com

This article may be reproduced with appropriate reference.

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Categories
Cross training Recovery

Cycling and bike training when injured

With the advent of spin bikes, stationary cycling can actually be quite fun. If you are training on your own you might have to be creative to prevent stationary burnout. High quality stationary cycle trainers are getting more reasonably priced as they become more popular. Another option is to use a wind or turbo trainer – which you mount your current bike to for a great stationary workout.

Road or mountain biking are great ways to enjoy the outdoors but if you are not accustomed to this type of training it may be more difficult to maintain a target training level. A heart rate monitor can be helpful to stay in the training range you are shooting for. Cycling does not challenge your heart rate as much as running will so if you are not using a heart rate monitor you will need to go a little harder to get the same cardiovascular workout.

If you are recovering from injury, consider keeping resistance lighter to avoid strain on the knees. Seat position should be such that your knee is just slightly bent when the foot is at the furthest point of the down stroke. Try to keep the knees in line with the feet; a slight circular deviation is normal. Cadence should be between 70 and 90 revolutions per minute depending on your cycling experience.

Stationary cycling can allow you to decrease your running distance during a recovery period and maintain your fitness. Researchers conducted a study on collegiate female cross-country runners during their recuperative phase of training. The “run training” group continued their weekly running volume at a decreased intensity. The “cycle training” group decreased their mileage 50% and cycled for the equivalent amount of time and at the same reduced intensity. After five weeks both groups performed a 3,000 meter run. The “run training” group slowed 9 seconds and the “cycle training” group slowed 22 seconds. The ability to use oxygen (VO2 Max) was unchanged between the groups. The time difference between the two groups was small enough that the researchers concluded that cycling could be an effective mode of training during the recuperative phase, especially when the benefit of reduced muscle and bone strain is considered.

If your body doesn’t tolerate additional run training then supplemental cycle training can provide improvements similar to additional running. Researchers at Purdue University reported that well trained runners improved their 5K times by supplementing their running program with vigorous cycling. Participants in the experimental group maintained their current running program and added two sessions of intervals performed on a stationary cycle and one session of moderate cycling for sixty minutes.

Categories
Cross training

Inline Skating Cross Training – The Injured Runner

Inline skating or roller blading is a great way to enjoy training outside if you have an area and climate conducive to this type of training. Skating on a set of roller blades is substantially less jarring than running. Additionally, the forceful push outward is a tremendous way to strengthen the gluteals, which helps with many running injuries.

Using a heart rate monitor may help you maintain your target training level.

Research conducted at the University of Wisconsin compared heart rate and oxygen use during inline skating and treadmill running. They concluded that the two activities had similar heart rate and oxygen use patterns.

Remember to wear appropriate safety gear (helmet, wrist and knee pads). Unpredictable tumbles can ruin the day.

Categories
Cross training

Deep Water Running Cross Training – The Injured Runner

Deep water running or aqua jogging is a tremendous form of cross training because there is no impact. Runners with almost any injury can safely continue their training in the water.

Injury is hard and frustrating for runners – but deep water running is a training activity you can carry out whilst you rehab.

Deep water running or aqua jogging is usually performed in the deep end of a swimming pool. Most runners prefer to use a flotation belt – but you can do it without.  The good thing about the belt is that it allows you to focus on moving in a pattern similar to running, instead of how to keep your head above water.

You may find that interval training helps to break up the monotony of water running. Try three to four minute intervals of running followed by one to three minutes of rest.

The two studies conducted on deep water running showed that runners could maintain, but not improve running performance by training in the pool. Researcher at the University of Toledo, Ohio, tested competitive distance runners before and after four weeks of only deep water running. These athletes were able to maintain their 5K performance without running on land. Ed Eyestone, US Marathon Olympian, compared deep water running, cycling, and run training on run performance. After a six week period these “well trained” athletes maintained their 2 mile run time despite mode of training.

Categories
Cross training

Cross Country Skiing cross training – The Injured Runner

Cross training doesn’t get much better than this: high altitude training, whole body workout, low impact, and beautiful terrain. The motion of cross country skiing, both classic and skating, is great for strengthening of the gluteals. Strengthening of the gluteals has been shown to improve knee pain and IT Band Syndrome.

The research available on cross country skiing has demonstrated similar improvements in the ability to use oxygen (VO2 Max) compared to running. I have not been able to find a study that has investigated the effect of cross country skiing on running performance (race times).

Categories
Cross training Running form Training tips

Backward Walking cross training – The Injured Runner

Backward walking is most safely performed on a treadmill and can be quite helpful for runner’s knee. Start out slow until you get the feel for backward walking. Try not to hold on to the rails or only hold lightly. Keep your first few sessions shorter until your calves get accustomed to this workout. You will probably find that increasing the treadmill elevation to 8-14% and the speed to a brisk or very brisk walk will give you a od workout.

Dr. Timothy Flynn (physical therapist and runner) contributed to much of the research on this exercise. Backward walking was initially used as a method of training for people with runner’s knees. The biomechanics of backward walking were found to put less pressure on the kneecap yet provide a good strengthening response for the quadriceps.

You may feel out of place doing this at a gym, but you will soon find several people asking what you are up to and may notice others joining in.

Researchers have evaluated heart rate and oxygen use during backward walking and found it to be similar to running.

Categories
Cross training

Elliptical Cross Training – The Injured Runner

Elliptical training is an excellent form of cross training because of the similarity to running, ease of use and reduced impact. There are several brands, each with a slightly different design. You may want to check out a few health clubs to find a model that feels comfortable for you. Keep a towel handy because you will sweat more stationary than if you were outside running.

Two studies have evaluated training on ellipticals and found the improvement in the ability to use oxygen (VO2 Max) to be similar to running and stairstepper training. However, the effect on running performance (race times) has not been tested.