Updated: Jan 21
So, last weekend I attended Tom Goom's Running Repairs Course, hosted over Zoom. If you are a runner and do not know who Tom Goom is, I highly recommend you checking out his website here: https://www.running-physio.com/
One of his recommendations following the course, is to write a blog reflecting on our learning, and how we might implement new ideas into our practice.
A few key things I took away from this course;
1. Gait analysis can be done in clinic, and quite easily!
I did not realise this, and always thought it was way beyond me to do anything like this. However, it does need to be used reasonably! As Tom was quick to highlight within the course, we cannot judge strength based on running technique i.e. running with knees in valgus does not immediately imply their glutes are weak. Also, gait doesn't always correlate to injury - you might have an injured runner who actually has nothing wrong with their running gait. Also, there is not a lot of evidence yet to show that gait re-training results in long term gait changes, however this may be due to a lack of research in this area.
2. Strengthening for runners.
A good bit of the course was dedicated to strength and conditioning for runners - and how we can fit this around their lifestyles. It was interesting to learn that heavy slow resistance training seems to be the most beneficial for strength gains - and once strength is gained (2-3 sessions a week for 6-14 weeks), as little as one session a week can be used to maintain these gains! This is especially useful for runners who are in their peak training - as it means that if they have done the strengthening work prior, they are not going to have to focus as much time on it when they can be running.
What is key with the strengthening sessions is that they reach fatigue within 8-12 reps, and then complete 3-4 sets of this. So the exercise is to be approximately 70-80% of their 1 rep max (RM). (1RM = maximum weight you can lift ONCE with correct technique).
Also it is important to note that it is recommended that after high intensity running there should be a gap of at least 3 HOURS prior to doing any strength training.
And vice versa, there should be at least 24 HOURS recovery after strength training, prior to doing any high intensity running.
I feel these are useful facts to know, backed up by the research!
3. Psychosocial factors and their impact on performance and recovery.
I think this is something we as physios do try and look for in our patients, but not necessarily always in those who seem 'young and healthy'. I also think it is an area that is neglected a lot by runners - as we are those who try and push through injury, or feel disappointment if we set out to do a 10km but don't manage it for one reason or another.
We know that having an 'all or nothing' attitude can actually make your recovery slower. If you don't listen to your body, and keep pushing through pain, it is going to take longer to feel better again.
Another key thing is to ensure that we know what effect running has on our bodies. Often people come to us as health professionals saying that they heard running is bad for your knees, or can give you arthritis. Well I am here to tell you, that is not true! In research, and from what we see day to day, being someone who runs moderately actually makes you at LESS RISK of getting arthritis in your joints, than someone who does no activity! The risk only rises again with those at elite levels, and then this most likely links to factors like overtraining. Most of us are not at risk of being an elite athlete I can assume..
Running injury often isn't actually any damage to the tissues at all - often it can be overloading due to minor training errors, and can be easily remedied with some professional advice. Managing the load you are putting your tissues through is key - and this then links us back to making sure you are doing some strengthening like I have mentioned above.
I think that's all I can write for today!
I will be back soon with some more things that I learnt on the course :)