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Keyword: running

Running is one of the most accessible fitness activities to get involved in. All it really takes is some space, comfortable clothing, and a good pair of running shoes. While we all have our preference on clothing, one thing that is absolutely essential is a comfortable, well-fitting pair of shoes. The proper shoe will reduce your risk for injury and keep you comfortable while running.

There are dozens of brands with hundreds of models to choose from. From bright pink to gray, you can choose virtually any shoe to be as stylish as you want. Unfortunately, style should not be your main objective when picking a running shoe. The size and shape of your foot, along with the type of runner you are, should dictate which shoe you purchase.

The first step is figuring out your foot type. Generally, there are three types of feet. Most but not all people fall into one of these catagories. Flat feet tend to have fallen flexible arches making them prone to rolling inwards while running. Neutral feet are biomechanically sound and neutral. High arched feet have well defined rigid arches that force the runner into landing on the outside edge of the foot. You can determine which type of foot you have by wetting your foot and stepping on a piece of paper. The more of your arch that you see on the paper, the lower your arch is. The less of your arch on the paper, the higher it is. While this technique doesn’t necessarily determine the flexibility of your foot, it will send you in the right direction.

Once you have a general idea about your foot type, choose your shoe type. A flat flexible foot should look into a higher stability shoe that will control over pronation. Neutral runners should try a moderate stability shoe. Lastly, high arched runners need to look at a cushioned shoe with flexibility.

If you feel overwhelmed by the process, find a running specialty store. Often times, they have qualified sales people that can analyze your foot and running technique. They can then suggest the best shoes for you. Finally, remember that the most expensive shoe might not be the best shoe for your foot. Buy the shoe for your foot, not the prettiest or flashiest shoe!

Guest post by:
Kathleen Choate
Certified Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

What Do I Do Now to Prepare?

You've been running several times a week, have an outfit picked out and you know you can finish the 6.2 mile run. With two weeks to go, what else is left to do to prepare?

Tapering

Consider tapering your training program. If you are new to this, the idea of scaling back on your training may feel like the opposite of what you should be doing. Try to remember that more isn't always better. In fact, pushing yourself too hard the last week or two before the race could lead to overtraining and a decrease in your performance. If you approach these last two weeks of Group of runnerstraining the right way, you could decrease your fatigue and see improvements in your performance.*

Progressive tapering does not involve extra rest days, but rather a ten to fifteen percent reduction in training volume. While this volume is reduced, plan to keep the intensity and frequency of your workouts the same. Tapering these last couple weeks will allow your body to recover and your performance to peak on race day!

Shoes

While trying to decide on what outfit to wear for the run, the most important piece of equipment for a runner to buy is shoes. A poor pair of shoes doesn’t just affect your feet. They can throw off the alignment of your entire body. The wrong pair can lead to common injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, runner’s knee, back pain and even fractures. Make sure the shoes on your feet at the starting line also fall in line with the below guidelines.

  • The cushioning in shoes break down over time. The general rule of thumb is to replace shoes every 300 to 500 miles.
  • Shoes should be comfortable; if you feel like they need to be "broken in," then they are not the right shoe for you.
  • Do the shoes fit? If your toes go all the way to the end of the shoe, then no, they don't fit. That portion of the shoe where your toes go in the shoe is called the toe box. There should be about a half to three quarters of an inch between the end of your toes and the end of that space in the shoe. With your shoe on, try pulling your toes up into the air, so it's easier to find the end of your toes, then push down with the tip of your thumb. There should be a section at the end of the shoe where your thumb is not pushing down on your longest toe.

The specific brand/type of shoe will vary from person to person. Your weight, foot width, arches, etc. all affect what specific shoe is best for you. Consider going to a running store that can recommend a shoe based on an evaluation of your foot.

Lastly, don't make race day the very first day you are running in shoes. Wear them while you train these last two weeks or alternate between your new pair and the old pair.

With a new pair of shoes and a good training program, you should be in a great position to tackle the bridge!

*Mujika, Inigo, and Sabino Padilla. "Scientific bases for precompetition tapering strategies." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 35.7 (2003): 1182-1187.

Guest Post by:
Stephanie Davey, ATC
Certified Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

Good News!  The Cooper River Bridge Run is only six weeks away. So if you’ve started your training, the end is near. If you haven’t started, there is still time! The first thing, after deciding to sign up for the race, is to set a finishing goal. The goal will help you to focus your training to enhance performance and prevent injuries.

If this is your first race and you haven’t been running, your main goal should be finishing. Beginning with a walk/run program will help minimize your injuries and help keep you motivated. Aim to run four to five days per week. Your runs should last 30 to 60 minutes with your longest training run being around five miles. The ratio of walking to running depends on your level of fitness. A good place to start is 1 minute running:1 minute walking. As you progress, increase your running by a minute or two every few runs.runners on the beach

In addition to your training runs, you also need to incorporate cross training, strength training and rest days. Cross training should be a low impact activity such as cycling, swimming or training on an elliptical. Your cross training should last at least an hour. It will help increase your cardiovascular endurance without the additional wear and tear on your body. This will also keep your legs fresher and increase your performance on your runs. Strength training should be a balanced program that incorporates your upper and lower body and your core. Squats, lunges, calf raises, planks and push ups are good exercises to start with. Focus on higher repetitions and lower weight where you can maintain correct form. If you’ve previously done yoga or Pilates, feel free to continue. Both could be used as strength or cross training. Lastly, you should have at least one rest day. Rest days allow your body to heal from the wear of training. If you don’t give your body a chance to heal, you risk an injury. If you feel you need to do something on your rest day, try going for a walk or gently stretching.

Good luck and most importantly "Have Fun!"

Guest Post by:
Katie Bracken, ATC, PES
Medical University of South Carolina
Sports Medicine Department

Summer isn’t a time to relax and sit in front of the TV!!...It’s the perfect time to condition, increase your fitness level and make your muscles bigger! Some relaxation can occur…of course at the beach, but make the most of your summer schedule and free time! Whether you play fall, winter or spring sports, it’s important to try to maintain your level of fitness for many reasons.Man in squat position

  1. It is easier to transition from off-season to in-season. It makes more sense for people to condition/train through the whole year/pre-season, right? BUT most athletes don’t…unfortunately most get lazy and comfy on the couch. Once the season starts, athletes who train pre-season will transition WAY more easily, be in better shape and be more prepared for the demands of the sport versus those who do not train. Athletes who train continuously will also be able to progress quicker into the sport specific workouts, conditioning and sport skills.
  2. Another huge reason to train during pre-season is injury prevention. If athletes jump right into conditioning, weight training and/or sport specific skills (like most) they put themselves at a higher risk for injuries to occur. Once an injury occurs and depending on the severity, the athlete could be out days, weeks or months. The more training an athlete can do to better prepare his/her joints/muscles and overall fitness, the chances of them being injured in-season are less likely. Another key injury prevention tip is: train for your sport. You don’t want track athletes completing volleyball exercises. Make sure to train for your specific use of upper extremity/lower extremity movements. For example: soccer: lower extremity and conditioning, volleyball: lower/upper extremity (focus is on the shoulder), football: upper/lower extremity and power movements, softball: upper extremity, power/sprint conditioning. It is also important to implement a proper warm-up and cool down. Again, it is better for the athlete to prepare ahead of time than to sit out a duration of time or the whole season.
  3. Just because you may not have access to a gym or gym equipment doesn’t mean you can’t get moving! Motivation and determination is all that is needed for a great workout! Like mentioned above, depending on the sport (or multiple) will determine the area/body part to focus on. Also note that many sports overlap in certain types of training, i.e., conditioning is great for all sports! A simple upper body circuit will activate the proper muscles used in upper extremity sports: push-ups, shoulder taps and dips (many variations) at 3 sets for 10 repetitions/movement. You may also add in certain rest periods: 3 sets for 10 with a 20 second rest in between movements to keep the heart rate elevated. For lower extremity sports, a circuit that involves squats, lunges, and squat jumps will activate the glutes, hamstrings and quads to prevent injury and build strength. A tabata workout is a type of H.I.I.T.  (high intensity interval training) workout designed to increase your heart rate throughout the circuit while completing specific movements. Another form of equipment free conditioning: RUNNING! Again, depending on your specific sport will determine which type of conditioning you should be training for, aerobic versus anaerobic. (A common topic that is typically overlooked is flexibility. It is important to incorporate flexibility training into workouts and conditioning especially when the muscles will be activated and stressed more during in-season competition.)
  4. The dreaded word…CONDITIONING or as most people see it…RUNNING! Conditioning has many benefits but it is also used in almost every sport…no reason not to run! Along with strength training, conditioning can be sport specific and will determine which type you should train for: aerobic or anaerobic, i.e., power/speed or endurance. Athletes may also feel the need to go from power sprints to endurance running. Besides training for a specific sport, running has many added health benefits: deceased blood pressure, decreased resting heart rate and increased weight loss...to only name a few.  

For the reasons stated above and many more, out-of-season and pre-season training is more beneficial versus no training. Your body and mind will be more prepared for the upcoming season and be able to meet the demands needed. Do your body a favor and don’t be lazy, you will never regret a workout!

Guest Post by:
Stephanie Davey, ATC
Certified Athletic Trainer
MUSC Sports Medicine

Congratulations….you’ve made the decision to sign up for the Cooper River Bridge Run.  If it’s your first 10 K or you’ve run in all 39 Bridge Runs, it’s a big commitment.  Hopefully by now, you’ve started your training and you might have felt a few aches and pains.  There are a few tricks and tools that can help alleviate the injuries that can slow you down.

Shoes

The great thing about running is that it doesn’t take much equipment.  Finding the right shoes is probably the most important thing to do before you start.  The wrong pair of shoes can cause foot, shin, knee, hip, and back pain.  Visit your local running store and talk to a qualified sale person.  They should analyze your feet and running mechanics and then suggest the correct shoe for you.  The most expensive or prettiest shoe is not necessarily the best for you.  Also, pay attention to the wear on your shoes.  You need to replace your shoes every 300-500 miles.

Foam Roller

You may have seen professional athletes rolling over a log like piece of hard foam.  Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release that can help relieve tight muscles and increase mobility and flexibility.  Increased mobility and flexibility will aid in preventing injuries. Foam rolling can take some coordination but aim to work on each body part for 45-60 seconds.  Roll your calves, hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, IT bands, and back.  This can be done at any time, but is especially beneficial after your runs.

Ice

Unless it’s a hot and humid Charleston day, the thought of icing is not particularly appealing.  Unfortunately, icing can be the best way to relieve your pain after a run.  Icing can reduce inflammation, decrease muscle spasm, and help control pain.  There are a few effective ways to ice.  For the very brave and those looking to ice multiple body parts, the ice bath is the most effective.  Fill your bath tub with cold water and ice.  The temperature should be 50-60 degrees.  Sit in your tub for 10-15 minutes.  For small areas such as the bottom of your foot and your shins, ice massage is particularly effective.  Fill a paper cup with water and freeze it.  When it’s completely frozen through, tear the edges of the cup away and massage the treatment area.  This can be done for 5-7 minutes.  If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, you can also use a frozen bottle of water and roll your foot over it.

And don't forget MUSC offers a full range of care through the Sports Medicine Department should you have more troublesome problems with your athletic pursuits.

 

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