We acknowledge we are on Treaty Six territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another.
with Craven SPORT services president, Bruce Craven
Did you know that static stretching before a run may not be the best way to warm up? Here are a few of our favourite physiotherapist-approved warm-up tips.
Reference: Alexander JLN, Barton CJ, Willy RW. Infographic running myth: static stretching reduces injury risk in runners. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2020: 54: 1058-1059.
Give your soft-tissue injuries a little peace and love
You’ve probably heard of acronyms like ‘RICE’, ‘PRICE’, or ‘POLICE’ for managing soft-tissue injuries. The latest research encourages we instead focus on ‘PEACE’ and ‘LOVE’!
Before we begin, let’s review a few common misconceptions about soft- tissue injury management:
1.You should always ice it: At one time, ice was believed to be one of the best treatment options after an injury. Recent research has shown that ice can actually delay the healing process.
2. You should use anti-inflammatories to help reduce swelling after an injury: When taken frequently and in high doses, anti-inflammatories can negatively effect the soft tissue healing process.
3. You should always rest and avoid moving an injured body part: Although rest and recovery are key with all soft tissue injuries, we need to continue moving and avoid neglecting injured tissues. Appropriate loading and pain-free movement of an injured tissue is crucial in the early stages of recovery.
What is PEACE and LOVE?
PEACE explains how the injury should be managed in the first 48-96 hours:
P: Protect the injured tissue E: Elevate the injured tissue to promote blood-flow A: Avoid anti-inflammatories to allow the body’s natural healing process to occur C: Compress the area to control swelling E: Educate the client on the injury and outcomes
LOVE explains how to rebuild that soft tissue and return to doing what you love:
L: Load the tissue so that strengthening can occur O: Optimism – a positive mindset and environment can enhance rehabilitation V: Vascularization – early cardiovascular exercise can improve blood flow E: Exercise – appropriate exercise is key for recovery and prevention
Reference: Dubois, Blaise, and Jean-Francois Esculier. “Soft-tissue injuries simply need PEACE and LOVE” (2020): 72-73
How to prevent plantar fasciitis while increasing your training volume
So what is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot, running like a hammock from your toes to your heel. When someone has plantar fasciitis, it can feel like a sharp stabbing or a dull ache on the bottom/inside part of your heel. you’re most likely to notice this pain when you first step out of bed in the morning, or after extended periods of stillness. You may notice this pain upon standing, walking or running.
How can running contribute to plantar fasciitis?
Increasing your mileage too quickly
Old or inappropriate footwear
Tight or weak calf muscles
Poor biomechanics while running – can be influenced by the
pelvis, hip, or knee.
How can you prevent plantar fasciitis in your running training?
When increasing your mileage, do not increase more than 10%/week
Ensure you are wearing appropriate running shoes for your foot, and
ensure they are not worn out! Our friends at Brainsport can help
you make good footwear decisions to improve your running!
Strengthen and stretch your calf muscles
4. Ensure the muscles at your hip/pelvis and knees are working together to control proper foot placement when running (your physiotherapist can help you get this right!)
If after trying out these tips you’re still experiencing plantar fasciitis, we recommend following up with your a physiotherapist! The team at Craven SPORT services can help you better understand what is causing your unique case of plantar fasciitis, how to manage it, and how to get your running training to the next level!
Reference: Martin RL, Davenport TE, Reischl SF, McPoil TG, Matheson JW, Wukich DK,McDonough CM, Altman RD, Beattie P, Cornwall M, Davis I. Heel pain – plantar fasciitis:revision 2014. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2014 Nov; 44(11):A1-33
Perfecting your pre-race meal
The right breakfast the morning of a big race might be just as important as your training leading up to the day. Here’s what top runners eat before they run:
1. They prioritize carbs
A pre-race meal that includes adequate carbohydrates in the hours before your run will optimize your energy and liver glycogen stores. While specific carbohydrate recommendations are individualized, you can get started by including at least 2-3 servings of carbohydrates in your pre-race meal. Some examples of a single carb serving include a 3/4 cup of cooked oatmeal, a piece of toast,1/2 bagel, a piece of fruit, 1 cup of blueberries, or a small potato. Depending on the timing of your pre-race meal, you may require a pre-race snack to top off your energy stores!
2.They are mindful of foods that slow down digestion
An optimal pre-race meal is rich in carbohydrates and is moderate in nutrients that slow digestion like protein, fat, and fibre. While protein, fat, and fibre are important nutrients for runners, a pre-race meal that is high in these foods may reduce energy availability and contribute to GI upset during the race. Compliment your meal with protein, be cautious of very high fibre foods (eg. beans, very high fibre toast, some fruits like raspberries, and seeds like chia), and add fat in moderate portions to optimize digestion and energy.
3. They keep it familiar!
When it comes to fueling for race day, make sure to experiment with your pre-race meal beforehand. For instance, you may find that oatmeal sits better in your stomach than toast or a bagel. Training runs are the best times to experiment with different foods to see what works best for you!
Looking for some easy pre-race breakfasts? Check out the graphic below!
If you’re struggling to feel like your food is fueling your passion for running, the Registered Dietitians at Vitality Nutrition are here to help! Their accessible, evidence-based, and performance-focused approach to food and fitness can help you make the most of each run!
Reference: Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition andDietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition andAthletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 Mar;116(3):501-528. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006. Erratum in: J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Jan;117(1):146. PMID: 26920240.
Running into problems? Try improving how you run!
The way we run can make momumental differences in our speed, comfort, and progress! If you’re experiencing barriers in your running progress, try
considering if ‘how’ you’re running is part of the problem!
Take a moment to reflect on your current running technique:
What part of your foot is hitting the ground first?Where is your foot landing relative to your body?How many steps are you taking per minute?What muscles do you feel working while you're running?
Each of these factors has the ability to contribute toward hinder our running performance!
Research shows that making contact with the ground directly underneath of your body may require less energy.
TIP: Contacting the ground with the middle/front part of your foot instead of your heel will help ensure you’re making contact with the ground underneath (and not ahead of) your body.
Ever heard of the word ‘cadence’? Cadence is the number of steps you take per minute. Studies show that increasing your cadence can help you contact the ground with your mid-forefoot, and as a result, promote a more efficient run!
TIP: Try counting how many steps you take per minute during the beginning of a run! Your target cadence should be between 168 – 180 steps/minute.
Did you know that increasing the strength of your hip muscles can improve your running speed?
TIP: Try incorporating glute strengthening exercises such as a ‘gluebridge’ into your training routine!
Don’t forget that changes to your running technique should be made progressively over time in order to prevent injury. A physiotherapy
appointment or running assessment at Craven SPORT services in Saskatoon can help you plan the safest way to integrate these tips into your routine!
Alexander JLN, Willy RW, Napier C, et al Infographic. Running myth: switching to a non-rearfoot strike reduces injury risk and improves running economy British Journal of Sports Medicine 2021;55:175-176.
Miller, Robert, Thomas G Balshaw, Garry J Massey, Sumiaki Maeo, Marcel B Lanza, Michael Johnston, Sam J Allen, and Jonathan P Folland. “The Muscle Morphology of Elite Sprint Running.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (2020): Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 01 October 2020. Web.
Training for the finish line: How to safely progress your running
Having trouble meeting your running goals? Have you hit a wall with your training gains?
Are you frequently limited by nagging injuries?
Unsure of how to build your running regiment in preparation for an event?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, the guidance of a physiotherapist can help!
Regardless of your skill or competition level, here are some important things to consider before heading out for your next run:
Simply put, volume is how much you are running. It is important to consider both distance and time when calculating your total running volume.
For example, Individual A might run a total of 20 km in 150minutes across a given week. In the same week, Individual B runs30 km in 150 minutes. Even though the amount of time spent running is the same, the total distances are different. This means that Individual B has a higher running volume in a given week.
Speed is the pace you are running at. There are several things an individual needs to consider if they want to run faster:
Form and running mechanics: Having good running mechanics and form allows you to conserve energy and move more efficiently.
Strength and power: In order to move faster you need to be able to accelerate your mass forward. Strength and power are key to becoming more explosive and moving faster. Note that increased strength and power can also help reduce the risk of injury.
Frequency is how many times each week you are running. It is
important to schedule and space your runs in order to allow for
adequate rest and recovery. Nutrition and sleep are key for recovery.
You need to fuel in order to burn fuel!
The terrain that you run on plays a key role in how much energy you expend. Don’t forget to account for the terrain you’ll be running on when you consider your total running volume.
For example, running hills (up and down) requires more energy than running on flat land. You may need to modify your total volume of running to account for extra environmentally-based energy expenditure.
Intensity is how hard your body is working during a run. Intensity can
be changed by modifying running volume, speed, terrain, and rest time.
For example, a runner who is doing interval training can increase their intensity by:
Increasing the speed they’re running at
Increasing the total volume of their running
Decreasing the amount of rest between running intervals
Modifying the terrain to increase the demands on the body
Here are a few ways to measure the intensity of your running:
Heart Rate (HR): Using HR as a measure of intensity is easy and effective for most of the general population. If you use HR as your measure of intensity, make sure that you monitor it throughout your run so that you can stay within your target zone. This method is accurate and not subject to interpretation unlike the other methods listed below. The downside of this approach is that it requires purchasing a device that can monitor HR during activity.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): RPE is a subjective representation of how hard a person is working. RPE is generally measured on a scale of 1-10 or 6-20. Lower numbers represent lower effort, and high numbers represent maximum exertion. RPE can be an easy way to measure intensity for beginners as it does not require any equipment. See the references below for an example of an RPE scale.
Talk Test: The talk test is an easy way to gauge how hard you are working by your ability to talk during an activity. If you are able to single or carry a conversation while exercising you are likely working at a moderate intensity. If you are only able to say a few words before needing a breath you are likely working at a high intensity. This is another easy way for beginners to measure how hard they are working as it requires no equipment.
Before going on your next run, we encourage you to reflect on whether or not your training is reflective of your goal! Are you accounting for all the different variables that can affect running performance? For more information on how to modify your training to meet your running goals, contact the Craven SPORT services team!
Giovanelli, Nicola, et al. “Effects of strength, explosive and plyometric training on energycost of running in ultra-endurance athletes.” European Journal of Sport Science 17.7 (2017):805-813.
Berryman, Nicolas, et al. “Strength training for middle-and long-distance performance: Ameta-analysis. Submission type: Original investigation.” (2017).
Miller, Robert, et al. “The Muscle Morphology of Elite Sprint Running.” Medicine and Sciencein Sports and Exercise (2020).
Taddei, Ulisses T., et al. “Effects of a foot strengthening program on foot muscle morphologyand running mechanics: a proof-of-concept, single-blind randomized controlled trial.”Physical Therapy in Sport 42 (2020): 107-115.
“Measuring Physical Activity Intensity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Sept. 2020, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/index.html#:~:text=The%20talk%20test%20is%20a,not%20sing%20during%20the%20activity.&text=In%20general%2C%20if%20you’re%20doing%20vigorous%2Dintensity%20activity,without%20pausing%20for%20a%20breath.
Does your sleep routine support your running?
Sleep is important to both our brains and our bodies. Sleep loss can simulate the effects of over-training, increases the risk of injury by 1.7x,and negatively influences alertness, reaction time, and memory. It’s an important part of the recovery process because during sleep our bodies produce hormones that are essential to help repair our muscles from the effects of training.
There are many factors that can have an influence on our sleep and lead to sleep disturbances, which can then impact one’s ability to train. These factors can be sport and non-sport related.
Consider these tips to help you get the most of your sleep and to
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night for adults, and 8-10 hours each night for teenagers
If you didn’t get enough sleep or are struggling with alertness, taking a nap can help!
Avoid things like coffee, energy drinks, alcohol, or a heavy meal too close to bedtime
Limit screen time too close to bedtime
Expose yourself to natural light in the morning
Avoid laying in bed for too long when you first wake up
Build a relaxing bedtime routine
Create a sleep environment that is cool, dark, and quiet
When possible, avoid training too early in the morning or too late at night, as this can hinder sleep and recovery time
Le Meur, Skein & Duffield. “In Recovery for Performance and Sport”. human Kinetics. (2013)
Samuels, Charles H., and Brent N. Alexander. “Sleep, recovery, and human performance.” Alberta: Canadian Sport Institute (2019).
Walsh, Neil P., et al. “Sleep and the athlete: narrative review and 2021 expert consensus recommendations.” British journal of sports medicine (2020).
Race day fuelling
An active fuelling strategy for endurance events lasting longer than 60 minutes can optimize performance and energy. While water alone may be sufficient for endurance events under 60 minutes in length, you’ll want to consider carbohydrates, fluids, and sodium to fuel your race-day event!
Key recommendations for carbohydrate, fluids, and sodium depend on the event’s duration:
For events lasting <60 min, no exogenous carbohydrate ingestion is required, however, for activities >60 min, active fueling strategies are
recommended to maintain carbohydrate accessibility and improve
Choose carbohydrates that contain multiple sources (eg. fructose from
fruits and glucose from starches or sports drinks) to optimize absorption
and improve GI tolerance.
30-60g/hour for steady-state endurance activity lasting <2.5 hours 60
90g/hour for steady-state endurance activity lasting >2.5 hours
If you predict your race will take you 2 hours then spread 60-120g of
carbohydrate across the event. For example, fueling with 30g of carbohydrate at the 45 minute mark and another 30g of carbohydrate at the 90 minute mark. Review examples of 30g carbohydrate portions below:
Use the recommended range of 400-800mL of fluids per hour and follow
thirst cues to be within the lower or upper end of the range. You may
require the upper end of the range if you have a high sweat rate or are
running in hot, humid, or windy conditions.
If you predict your race will take you 2 hours then spread 800-1600mL of fluid across the event. If you don’t anticipate there will be water stations throughout the event, use a running belt to carry your own fluids.
Sodium is a key electrolyte lost through sweat during an endurance event. Replacing sodium is key to maintain energy and prevent cramping. Try an initial sodium plan at 300–600 mg/h, or more if you are a “salty sweater.”
Sodium can be found in sports drinks, electrolyte supplements (eg. Nuun), or the carbohydrate choices you choose to fuel with (eg. gels with added sodium). Read labels to ensure adequate sodium ingestion from fluids and food sources across the anticipated duration of your event.
While water alone may be sufficient for endurance events lasting less than 60 minutes, a fueling strategy that includes carbohydrate, fluid, and sodium can enhance performance on events greater than 60 minutes. Practice your fueling strategy in a training run to assess the GI tolerability and dial-in your optimal intake of carbohydrate, fluids, and sodium.
Looking for assistance in ensuring that your food gives you the best possible fuel for the upcoming Saskatchewan Marathon? The Registered Dietitians at Vitality Nutrition in Saskatoon are here to help! Their accessible, evidence-based, and performance-focused approach to food and fitness can help you make the most of each run!
Vitale K, Getzin A. Nutrition and Supplement Update for the Endurance Athlete: Review and Recommendations. Nutrients. 2019 Jun 7;11(6):1289. doi: 10.3390/nu11061289. PMID: 31181616; PMCID: PMC6628334.
How to run strong: Strength training and running performance
You may have heard that strength training is beneficial for running. Why is that?
A. It can improve your ability to absorb ground reaction forces
B. It can improve your ability to maintain good running mechanics
C. It can improve your ability to generate force and improve your push off
D. It can improve your running efficiency
These are just a few examples of how strength training can benefit your running!
We can approach the science of running in a similar manner as we do physics: Simply put we need to be able to generate enough force to accelerate our mass forward. In order to generate more force we need to get stronger. Therefor, if we want to run faster we need to be able to produce more force. If we want to run longer we need to be able to generate force repeatedly over a long period of time. There are other external factors that play into this equation but building strength is the first jenga block.
What is our posterior chain? Why is it so important for running?
The posterior chain is a term used to refer to all of the muscles on the back side of your body. The hamstrings, glutes and trapezius are just a few examples of posterior chain muscles. While we run, the muscles of the posterior chain are responsible for resisting gravity and aid in maintaining good posture and running mechanics.
Why does glute size and strength matter?
As mentioned above, the glutes are an integral part of the posterior chain. They have the potential to be one of the largest and strongest muscles in the human body. Their placement and ability to generate force make them the ideal driver for running. They are integral for pushing off the ground and propelling the body forward. Remember: the ability to generate more force is key to running faster! When we strengthen and grow our buttock or our glutes, we have more potential to generate additional force while we run. This helps us run faster!
Can the way I breathe impact my running ability?
The way you breathe can seem minor in the grand scheme of things, but it actually impacts your running more than you may think. Ideally, you want to be able to take nice deep breaths, allowing your diaphragm to descend and stretch. Doing so will increase the amount of oxygen you can take in during a given breath. In order for the diaphragm to do its job the
abdominals need to be relatively relaxed. If you find that you are contracting your “core” or abdominals while you run, you may be limiting your diaphragm’s ability to expand; this may make it harder for you to catch your breath. While it is still important to have deep core muscles activated while running, we want to avoid gripping with our “6 pack muscles” as this will limit diaphragm expansion. Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth with a relaxed stomach can help you maximize the amount of air you take in.
How does rowing and upper-back strength contribute to running
The musculature of the upper back is an integral cog in the posterior chain. Here are examples of how traditional rows can help with running:
When we run the muscles of the upper back are key for keeping our chest upright against gravity.
Having an open chest promotes good running mechanics and allows the ribs and diaphragm to move freely as we breathe.
Foot exercises improve running performance and aid in injury prevention!
If you enjoy running outside or on uneven surfaces, foot exercises are
essential for training your feet to adapt to sudden changes in terrain. Believe it or not we want our feet to be relaxed when we land, so that they can accommodate the terrain. Adding simple foot strengthening and
proprioception into your training can help your feet better tolerate
different surfaces and help prevent injuries.
Fokkema, Tryntsje, et al. “Training for a (half‐) marathon: Training volume and longest endurance run related to performance and running injuries.” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 30.9 (2020): 1692-1704
Blagrove, Richard C., Glyn Howatson, and Philip R. Hayes. “Effects of strength training on the physiological determinants of middle-and long-distance running performance: a systematic review.” Sports medicine 48.5 (2018): 1117-1149.
Miller, Robert, et al. “The Muscle Morphology of Elite Sprint Running.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (2020).
Welcome to the Craven SPORT services Performance Pitstop – your hub for evidence-based running support, tips, and injury prevention as you prepare for the Saskatchewan Marathon! The CSS team is here to provide informational segments designed to help you train and run your best.