Archive for January, 2008

Runner Beware Of Knee Pain – Get Rid Of It With One Stretch!

Running is one of the most popular and easiest sports to participate in. All you need is a pair (of decent) running shoes a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and you’re ready to go. However, it’s not that easy all the time and many runners complain of being injured during either competition or training.

The source of the injuries can be wide and varied but we will look at one area in particular.

Hands up if you run and have suffered from knee pain at some time or another!!

Don’t worry you are not on your own as I alluded to above, many people who are runners struggle with injury’s that stop them running or competing at some point.

What that means is that you are not able to do what you love or need to do (especially if you’re training for an event)!

Most people tell themselves they’re just being ‘wimps’ and run through it. Fortunately (for them) some people stay injury free for quite a while. This all changes when years of compensation and altered mechanics leads to a breakdown…at some point!!

Hip extension is essential for good running mechanics.

If you are not sure what hip extension is then stand up, with your feet together. Lift one foot off the floor and with a straight (or bent) knee push that foot back so that your thigh moves backwards…that’s hip extension.

If you don’t have enough hip extension then you’ll have to compensate for it some where else in the body (usually the low back, but that’s for another day).

If you are lacking hip extension then you end up overworking your muscles around the knee.

When you start to overuse any muscles you put the body in a position where it changes the balance. Joints need balance between the muscles in order to make sure that they stay in the right alignment and no undue ‘stresses’ are placed into the joint.

I work in a busy sports injuries clinic and I would have to say that the physiotherapists I work with tell me that in 90% of cases knee pain, that people report, has nothing to do with any degenerative problems around the ligaments, tendons or cartilage.

Most of these ‘presenting’ knee pain patients are actually people who have massively got their muscle balance out of kilter.

So what can you do about it?

As well as a complete corrective exercise plan, one of the first things we work on is hip range of motion.

I know, you hate stretching!!

That’s because human beings tend to gravitate towards the things they like doing most and avoid the things they like doing least.

If you don’t stretch it’s probably because you find stretching hard and painful. The tighter you and more painful you find it the more essential it is for you to do.

So the key is to put the muscles like the quadriceps and hip flexors in a position that will maximally get them to stretch and relax.

This is my absolute favorite hip flexor stretch and an essential for all runners to do.

I’ve put it on you tube so that you can see it:

Just in case you can’t get on there, here’s a brief description:

1. Place your foot on a bench or a Swiss ball so that your laces are in contact with the surface, and the knee of that leg is on the floor (your leg will have a V angle).

2. The other leg should be in front of you with the foot on the floor so that you are in a lunge like position.

3. Keep the back straight and the buttock on the same side (leg that is being stretched) clenched.

4. You should feel a stretch stating at the knee and moving all the way up to the front of the hip or anywhere in between, it depends where you lack the flexibility.

5. Make sure that you are ‘tipping’ the pelvis (tuck your bum under your body) so that you are stretching the thigh and not compensating for the movement in your low back. You will know you are doing this if you have a big low back curve.

6. The low back should be relatively flat or slightly rounded.

7. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

One of my clients called Rachel was suffering with some really bad knee pain. She was referred to me by a sports physician because she was suffering from patellar tendinitis.

One of the first things I got her to do was this exact stretch. She now does this on a daily basis; in fact she should be doing it at least twice a day. That’s because she works all day sat at a desk.

This means that not only have her muscles adapted to the lack of flexibility at her hip, but she gets the double whammy of making them tight and short all day long at work.

You don’t need to do this stretch for hours on end simply complete it a couple of times a day to really get the muscles up the front of the leg relaxed and lengthened. You should start to feel some of the pressure and tension in the knee releasing the more you do it.

This obviously is not a panacea for knee pain but is definitely one of the easiest and simplest places to start.

Alex Poole helps his clients reach their half marathon goals whether that is to complete their first or beat their PB. Educated at Loughborough University he used physiological research and his strength coaching to develop his successful running programme.

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Posted by The Running Guy - January 26, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Categories: Injuries   Tags:

What You Need To Know About Treadmills?

Treadmills are very popular fitness equipment among the exercisers world wide. Millions of people use treadmills to get fit and loose weight either at their own homes, gyms, clubs, work & etc. Walking and running are one of the popular exercises that almost anybody can do, and it can be done on a treadmill.

Treadmill workouts are easy way to increase your heart rate and burn calories, there’re variety of workouts. The type of workout that is best for you depend on your fitness level, whether you want to loose weight or be fit and what you enjoy doing e.g. intense workout or continues steady pace workout. Find a fitness program that works for you. Depending on your preference, combine your workout with music, television or videos.

Buying a Treadmill

Buying a treadmill can be very confusing, there’re varieties of brands, featured programs and types of treadmills which makes buying a treadmill nightmare. It is a big investment to make and can also be one of the best buys you ever make since you will feel healthier and more energetic after putting your treadmill into use. For decades treadmills are still the number one home fitness equipment, smart buyers educate themselves and find the best machines for their money. Remember using a treadmill in a gym is one thing, but buying one for your home is a serious matter.

The best way is first decide what types of exercise you want to do, do you intend running, walking or strength training? Do you want a motorized treadmill or manual? Do you want featured programs such as heart rate monitor, inclines, calorie counter, timer & etc? Once you narrow your options, do more research on the type of treadmill you want?

What you need to know about treadmill ratings Treadmills are rated based on their featured programs, incline, motor, belt, warranty and overall feel. There are two types of ratings consumer rating and expert ratings. Consumer ratings are surveys from consumers who bought the machine; expert ratings are conducted fitness experts.

Consumer ratings are surveys collected from treadmill users and purchasers, these types of surveys are conducted by the sellers or the consumer voluntarily publishes their reviews and ratings on online consumer research websites. Treadmill ratings are based on tests that simulate a year of use. This review recommends the best treadmill buys for walkers, runners and those who want to do a little of both.

Expert ratings are usually conducted and written by fitness experts such as running world, treadmill doctor, consumer reports, consumer guide, men’s health, prevention magazine & etc. These types of surveys usually focus on the credibility of the machine and how strong is the machine for workout, whether is for only walking, running or both. Fitness expert’s rate and review various treadmills at various times in the year, these ratings are much less likely to be tainted by biased reviews.


Treadmills are easy to use and loose weight, but remember you won’t loose weight looking at it; you need to use it in order to get results. To achieve your weight loss goals, get yourself on a regular routine such as treadmill walking program or workout. Just like any exercise the more time you workout the more calories you burn and the more weight you lose. Buying treadmill is a huge investment and requires a lot of research, the benefit of research is that a good treadmill will provide you with many years of great workout making it one of the best home fitness investments.

For more information about treadmills visit

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Posted by The Running Guy - January 12, 2008 at 10:49 am

Categories: Fitness   Tags:

Avoid These Common Training Errors When Running and Your Body Will Thank You

Running is one of the most heavily participated sports and recreational activities in the world. However, from a young age we are told to go out on the streets and run until we are tired. This may be alright for a while but further on down the road you will be likely to sustain an overuse injury that takes away your passion for running.

In order to make running a lifetime activity you need to be aware of some of the contributing factors that lead to common running injuries. Once you acknowledge these injury causing factors then you can develop the right plan for you. This applies to both the recreational runner as well as the competitive runner.

To ensure that you gain the most out of your training sessions while also reducing the risk of sustaining an injury be sure to take note of the following mistakes made by many athletes and coaches.

Excessive hill running that can often lead to excessive demands placed on the calf muscles (possible shin splints). Shin splints are an absolute nightmare for a runner. This type of injury can put you out of running for months.

Excessive down hill running can lead to increased stress on the quadriceps muscle. Most athletes say that running down hill is easier, however, it is just as tough on your body as running up hill.

Running in one direction all the time (if doing track work or running around the tennis court, football field etc.) can cause excessive pronation on the inside leg. Once again this can be easily fixed by alternating directions in which you run.

Running on unforgiving surfaces such as street running (high impact). Asphalt is not an appropriate running surface. This is one of the major causes of knee and hip injuries for runners. Roads are made for cars and not for runners! If you must run on asphalt then add in some runs on a grass surface.

Lack of variety in your training sessions can lead to overuse injuries as well as mental boredom. Select different workouts each week. Do you always run the same route in the same direction each time? If so vary where you run, the distance you run as well as the intensity of the run.

Running on an uneven surface such as a grass field. Often athletes try to avoid the hard surface of the streets so they decide to run on uneven fields which can lead to injuries of the feet. I love running on ovals as they are more friendly on my body but I choose not to run on a football ground as I know that the surface is likely to be uneven and full of holes. Most recreational parks are better.

Increasing training volume too quickly (allow for individual progression). This is a tough one for highly driven individuals who thrive on pushing themselves. Have a plan and follow it. Even if you feel that you can push yourself and run that extra mile hold back!

Increasing the pace or speed at which you run too quickly (can be achieved slowly through Fartlek training). Try to stick to your plan and run at a similar speed before you get into your next phase. As we improve we often want to run faster. Increasing both the speed and distance of your run at the same time can lead to injury.

It is important to wear the proper footwear when you run. Encourage your athletes to change from their normal sports shoes (eg. tennis shoes, basketball shoes) to running shoes prior to starting their run. Wearing tennis or basketball shoes while running long distances will lead to injuries. They don’t provide the required support for the feet.

Recognize that each individual will have their own pace and level of endurance so set individual goals for each athlete. When running in a group at a set pace, that pace may be comfortable for some runners, but too fast for others. Divide your athletes into two even groups. This is often a big flaw for many coaches of sports teams. We have all been guilty for doing this in the past but you must allow for individual abilities of athletes.

Running long distances in extreme weather conditions such as freezing temperatures, hot and humid conditions or even when there has been a high pollution alert level given by the weather bureau. My tennis coach in college would often make our tennis team run at 7:00 am in the morning in the middle of a winter in North Carolina. As you could imagine we would often suffer from bronchitis and other common respiratory ailments. Unfortunately mine developed into pneumonia so make sure that the environmental conditions are appropriate for running.

Be smart when you run and your body will thank you for it!

David Horne is a former professional tennis player who has created several online sports web sites including Global Sports Zone which is the Ultimate Sports Directory for all sports fans! You can also visit the global web site for Tennis Coaching at Global Sports Coaching

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Posted by The Running Guy - January 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Categories: Injuries, Training   Tags: