Running Tips

Stitch or Side Stitch

An uncomfortable feeling in the side abdomen that can slow you down or force you to stop running. An old remedy for this is to grip a clothes peg hard in the palm of your hand whilst running and the pain subsides. Another method is to curl your thumbs into the palm of your hands and grip tightly with your fingers. Read more at about.com

Hip Pain – Mild

Occasionally I have had mild hip pain whilst running and have been lucky enough to deal with it whilst continuing to run and become pain-free. Whichever hip is complaining place a thumb on the hip joint – easy to locate whilst you are under motion because you can feel it moving, then extend your fingers down the outside of your leg and press your finger tips into the IT band. Continue running and pressing into the IT band for about 30 to 40 seconds and with luck the mild hip pain subsides. This method can be used in conjunction with “change something”. Read more at about.com

Change Something

When you are running some distance you may feel slight discomfort somewhere in your body such as knee, hip, foot, back, joint or muscle. If so, you don’t really want it to get worse by continuing repetitive motion. Rather than stop running just change something, anything, about your style of run temporarily to see if you can make a change to the area of discomfort. Some ideas are, increase or decrease your stride, change how your foot is landing, increase or decrease your leg turn-over rate. With each change, run for 30 seconds or so and reassess how the discomfort zone feels. If it’s worse or no better try something else. If it feels better, continue running in this mode until you naturally lapse back into your regular style. If the discomfort rises beyond mild pain approaching medium it’s time to stop running and walk back to your destination.

MARTIN'S BOOK COVER

Make goals attainable. Try not to give yourself too lofty a goal, or if you do, break it down into smaller attainable goals that lead up to the overall goal. This is important because it’s all too easy to become despondent and demoralized by failing or not achieving your goal. Reward yourself each time you reach these goals; it will drive you onwards.

Eating Before a Run

Do not eat heavily before a long run or race and not within 1½ to 2 hours of start time. If you do some blood will be occupied with digestion activities and not available for your overall running muscles, plus you’ll feel discomfort of a heavy belly and possibly nauseous during the run.

Running Uphill

Running on the flat requires a very slight forward lean from the ankles to be gravity assisted. This running form remains roughly the same when running uphill and it is acceptable to include a minor amount of forward flexing from the waist area for balance. More importantly, your stride length will decrease and, if possible, increase the rate at which your legs are turning over. If you allow your low back to arch more than normal you will lose some power from your glutes and legs into the low back. Therefore apply a small amount of posterior tilt to your hips and all the power you generate from the glutes and legs will be transferred to the ground propelling you uphill. The stronger your core is, (lower internal abdomen), the easier it is to run uphill. Cross training for runners is important; do not neglect the gym.

Running Downhill

A lot of folks are frightened of running downhill and make it worse for themselves by landing on their heels and “putting on the brakes” which makes their Quads (thighs) scream. If you land on your heel you are more likely to skid especially on wet or muddy terrain going downhill. Just like a skier, your weight should be centered over the foot for maximum traction.

Pre-Race Massage

Many official or sponsored races have pre-race 10 minute massage available either free, by donation or for a small fee. The purpose of the massage is for invigoration, and involves compression, jostling and long deep strokes to get body fluids moving and the body ready for action. It is not and must not be confused with a warm-up. It will still be necessary to warm-up your muscles and joints prior to the start.

Post Race Massage

After completing an official or sponsored race you may also have availability of a 10 minute post race massage. You should cool down first, stop sweating and drink some water before going for a post race massage. The emphasis of post race massage is to soothe your tired muscles, circulate body fluids and metabolic cellular waste for recycling, thus allowing your body to return to normal with less incidence of muscular discomfort over the next few days. It is highly beneficial.

Maintenance Massage for Runners

Do not overlook the benefits of massage whether you are a runner or not. Massage is highly beneficial in reducing any muscle tightness which can impact joints. Massage circulates body fluids including lymph to speed up “repair” mechanisms to all the micro-tears you create by exercising. Massage helps release “feel good” hormones as well as overall well being and relaxation. Go on, treat yourself and be sure to ask for a runner’s maintenance style massage.