Don’t Run to Get Fit, Get Fit to Run

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Running is one of the most practised sports in the world, and although we are all born to run, many are still susceptible to getting injured. In this issue, our Runity Master Trainer and Exercise Physiologist, Daniel has shared with us on his latest running experience in Peru and some insights on getting started.

“I just got back from a run in Arequipa Peru at 2,300m and it certainly wasn’t as easy as normal. However, at the end of the run, my running App declared that it was my “17th fastest run”! As my lungs laboured in the thin air it got me thinking, while running is a natural function, there is still a lot that goes into giving us the physical capacity to be able to run. In this case, while there isn’t much I can do about the reduced oxygen content of the air, I need time for the red blood cell production to increase to match my demand for oxygen, so I can burn more fat prolonging the point of fatigue.

Previously, I wrote an article about reducing the amount of load and force through our body, just by increasing our cadence by 5% (number of steps taken per minute). That equates to over 100 tonnes (or the weight of 70 cars) for a 60kg person over 5km run. Imagine the force that is still passing through the tissues of our body when we run, it’s no wonder that without adequate conditioning, running injury rates are reported up to 80% per year.

When we run, these forces tend to travel through the same path with every step, challenging the capacity of the tissues. It is well known that our tissues such as the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones are in a constant state of remodelling based on the load that passes through them. If the load is less than the tissues capacity, the tissues get weaker, our muscles decrease in strength, tendons lose their spring, and bones start to weaken. This happens when our lives become sedentary and is the reason why many people develop chronic injuries such as back pain.

If the load surpasses our tissues capacity within a certain range, the cells in our body will be stimulated to strengthen our tissues against the increased load. Our muscles will then get stronger and have more endurance, improved elasticity in our tendons can also recycle energy better to make running more efficient. At the same time, our cardiovascular fitness improves, so does the efficiency of our lungs and heart.

The danger here is that our cardiovascular fitness increases much faster than our tissues adaptation and strengthening, so we feel that we can run more often and further. This is often where a newbie runner will develop an injury. In this case the load and force passing through our body exceeds our tissues capacity, we develop muscle, tendon or joint inflammation and pain. We need to back off our running or stop altogether for a while, which is necessary for recovery, however this brings us back to the other extreme where our tissues start to weaken again, leaving us with even less capacity then when we started, hence starting over a cycle that is sure to see us get re-injured

Running alone won’t be able to condition our body sufficiently for the demands of even recreational running, especially when most of us spend long hours at the desk. Hence, special conditioning exercises are required to prepare our body, allowing us to run without injury and enjoy the whole process more. While specific Pilates exercises can help with this, even better however are the specialist running conditioning exercises from our new Runity programme”.

From the end of July, running assessments will be offered in our studios, with a conditioning exercise programme prescribed based on your running technique using video analysis and movement assessment to keep you injury free.

 

Please click here for full details on our Runity package. Running conditioning group classes will also be available from 27th July onwards, so stay tuned!

If you have any questions about running, kindly drop us a message on our Facebook page and our Runity Master Trainer and Head Instructor will help to answer it!

 

-Daniel Dittmar, Runity Master Trainer and Exercise Physiologist

 

 

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