It’s great that so many people have started running during COVID. After all, running can be enjoyable and beneficial to your body. So we did this podcast with our Atticus physio, David Ronan, to tell you what you really to know if you’re starting out with jogging. Hopefully it’ll help you:
Choose the right footwear
And, hopefully it’s fun to listen to all the same!
Here’s the video of the warm up exercises mentioned in the podcast:
For those who rather or need to read, here’s the transcript of the podcast:
Floyd Gomes: All right, great. Thanks for joining us. I’m Dr Floyd Gomes from Atticus Health. And with me, I’m joined today by David Ronan our in house physio. And indeed, what we’re talking about today is running during COVID. It’s a fact that one of the few things you were allowed to do is go jogging, which is great if you’re a jogger and not so great if you’re not a jogger. But certainly an opportunity if you’re willing to have a go and get into it. And I’ve seen a lot of people do just that. And we thought that it would be great then to have David who is a very experienced physio just go through some of the things to look out for, if you’re getting into running for the first time. During covid, what we can do to really make sure we don’t get injuries and indeed get the benefits out of out of running. David, I know actually is a long distance runner himself. And I’d say that I was long distance runner, probably rather a short distance runner now. But indeed, it’s something I share a passion for equally. And so without further ado, I might bring David on. And yeah, take it from there. So welcome, David. It’s great to have you here.
David Ronan: Thank you, I think you’re being a bit modest. My understanding is you have done a marathon, which I never have, I’ve only done a couple of half marathons. So you might be the more experienced runner in this conversation. But I do agree, I have seen a lot of runners out on the street. During the last six months or so particularly on all the nice running tracks, they’re getting very crowded, but I think that is a positive thing. So if we’re talking about new runners who have never done any running before, probably the best advice I could give is to start slow. The key to running successfully and to improving is to run consistently without getting injured, the best way to do that is to do the majority of your running quite slow. Most runners who do well, recreationally or professionally probably do about 80% of their sessions as what they would say easy. There’s many different ways to measure that. But a pretty simple metric that most of you could do would be something under about 70 or 72% of your maximum heart rate would be a good starting point. So the majority run should be relatively stress free. So that would be the first piece of advice start start slow, run slow most of the time. Second thing I would say is try and do a little bit of strength training. The evidence around strength training is pretty strong. Out of all the things you can do to help your running it will make you quicker. There is a good study a couple of years ago that showed doing strength training twice a week to set your two sessions per week for runners. So people who could do a 25 k run in 21 minutes. The guys who did their strength training twice a week improved by about 45 seconds over only six weeks. That’s quite significant in a relatively short period of time. And strength training has also been shown to decrease injury risk by about by about a half or sorry, by about a third for all sports injuries by about a half for overuse injuries. So most of our running injuries will normally be overuse injuries.
Floyd Gomes: That’s good to know. Thanks for that, David. So you’ve talked about strength training. I suppose for someone like me, I haven’t done various exercises, so do you want to just let us know here? What do you mean strength training?
David Ronan: Very good question. So generally look, you could get very detailed into it. But generally speaking, you want to strengthen the muscle strengthen the muscles that are involved in running so look, the majority of your body’s involved but primarily we’re thinking calves, quads, hamstring gluteals, you know, and then core musculature after that. A common mistake that most runners will make is they think because running is an endurance event, they should be doing an endurance type dosage. So low weights high repetition, when in fact it’s the complete opposite. As a runner, you really getting your endurance dosage by doing your running. So you should still start quite slowly with that and don’t lift really heavy weights day one of course, you should be trying to eventually get to a point where you’re getting tired after, you know five to seven repetitions of an exercise not 15 to 20 reps. If you’re thinking specific exercises that will help most people really basic ones like your squats, lunges, calf raises. If you’ve got machines, things like a leg press can be quite good. So they don’t have to be anything too complicated.
Floyd Gomes: That’s great David, squats, lunges and calf raises. These are all the things my colleague, Dr. Solanki recently told me to tell me to do. And I sort of laughed it off. When he told me and I did him, and he did say, I’d be so and I was very sore. I’d really say that I did this have good sword places I did, though I couldn’t be so. So look, that’s very interesting. And you mentioned something there that I think is really important to realize, that strength training is actually what you need to do to sort of balance what you do in a running sense, which is where you get your endurance workout. That’s actually news to me. And it probably makes sense. Maybe that’s why I was such a mess after that marathon, apart from the fact that I had a wedding reception to go to that night itself! But look, that’s very good to know. And David, you know, just before this, we made a video, that video was for, to sort of go with this podcast, but you went through a few exercises to warm up before a jog. Could you just let us know a little bit more. I mean, it’s obviously a podcast, it’s hard to see. But you want to just talk us through how do you warm up before you go running.
David Ronan: Of course, um, so the warm up for running, I would say the best thing you could do is actually start off with a with a light walk is as good as anything else. And then the next step after that, if we think about what we’re trying to achieve from a warm up, we’re trying to a achieve some elasticity and warming the joints. So they’ve got a little bit more range and a little bit more give. The other thing is we’re trying to increase your neuromuscular control or coordination. With static stretching, there’s a little bit of evidence that it’s actually detrimental to be done right before a run, you have a little bit of weakness. And the theory behind that is there’s a little bit of nerve compression from the static stretches that, you know, for half an hour or so your muscles don’t fire quite as well. So the things we went through today, we did something we did a walking lunge, so and so that’s really trying to use those running muscles. But it’s also requires a little bit of coordination. So we’re trying to switch on that and sort of neuromuscular facilitation, we did some legs, swing throughs with with our whole leg. So working out through range of motion, just trying to yeah, essentially get a nice range of motion. And we just did some marching exercises as well with sort of high knee and high arm lift. Again, just encouraging those running muscles to be to be working well for when we start.
Floyd Gomes: That’s great. That’s useful to know. And as he said, that’s, that’s really news to me. So there is some controversy about stretching before going for a run. Wow. And I suppose maybe we can think if we can post any links or anything like that, that might be useful for people who are interested who might want to flesh that out a little bit more. Now, David, something on my mind, I live near Beach Road. And at the end of the day, I’ll see all the cyclists out there. And you know, that’s said to obviously be less jolting on your body and your joints and maybe specifically your knees running. Is it good for us? Are we gonna get osteoarthritis early? What do you think?
David Ronan: I’m glad you asked that Floyd. So people who run live longer, that is a fact that’s come out quite recently, I can try and find the links for that. But I’m pretty sure it’s from the British Journal of Sports Medicine. In terms of arthritis, most of the evidence is actually quite good for running. And that’s assuming you don’t have a prior injury going on that confounds things a little. But up until you’re doing elite mileage, which is 100 plus miles a week, which if you’ve got a full time job, and you’re doing more than sort of, you know, 100 Ks or 100 miles a week, good luck to you. For most people a light or moderate amount of running is very safe and actually people who do that tend to have less arthritis than their peers is my understanding of the latest research there. If you’ve had a professional running career, yes, you are more likely to have arthritis which I guess makes sense.
Floyd Gomes: Well, that’s great because for me, my knees they feel alright, but every time I’ve got on a bike with those small little seats, there’s problem, so I guess I’ve got to get that bike well fitted. But look, that’s very useful. And David, I suppose fleshing this out a little bit more than Yeah, running on on any particular surface. You know, traditionally we run on the footpath some people run on the beach, on the grass, anything thing better or worse? about where we should be running?
David Ronan: Yeah, again, good question. It’s it’s probably condition dependent to an extent. If you have a knee injury, you’re probably never going to love running, you know, fast downhill on a hard surface. On a soft surface, you need to generate more of your own force. So for example, if you have plantar fascia injury, and you’re running on the beach, a lot of load through your plantar fascia is probably not going to be great for you, but the impact forces will be lower. So if you have knee arthritis, and you’re running on a soft beach, the impact forces in your knee will actually be lower. But you need to generate more of your own muscular force. So they’re the two things you’re weighing out. As a general, a little bit of a mix of terrain is good, I wouldn’t recommend running on sand all the time. But running on something like a trail, most of the time would be pretty safe. You know, running on a path or concrete for a proportion of the runs is normally quite safe. But you wouldn’t want to do it all the time, either.
Floyd Gomes: Sure. So having that little bit of variety is probably good for the training. And just, yeah, once upon a time there was that trend, I suppose, to have minimal footwear. Now we’ve gone the other way. We’re sort of got these soles that in the heels are high and everything makes you a few inches taller indeed, which, which is pretty good for me. But at the end of the day, which is true, is it good to have minimal sort of footwear and the soles or these big heels better? What are your thoughts?
David Ronan: That’s a very controversial question.
Floyd Gomes: That’s what we’re here for David, I like controversy.
David Ronan: So so without getting into probably the performance benefits of the latest bunch of Nike shoes that lie and keep showing you what, sorry, ran under two hour marathon and for the standard shoe that you can buy on off the shelf, they’ll talk about heel drop, which pretty simply is just the difference between the back of the heel on the front of the shoe, you’re not getting rid of load with different shoes, you’re shifting load. So if you have a large heel, it’s very hard to not land on that heel, that can be somewhat protective of your calves and your Achilles tendon. But it does tend to load up through your knee joint and your hip joint and probablythe lower back a little bit more. If you have a flat shoe like a racing shoe, you generally land a bit further along so closer to the mid foot, your calves will work a bit harder. So if you have sort of recurrent calf strains, they’re probably not a great shoe to begin with. But it will be protective of your knee and have your hip to an extent. So with the really minimalist shoes, there’s never a completely right or wrong. But if you’re used to wearing say, a leather work shoe all day and running, in a ASICs, kayano, which is quite a big shoe. I wouldn’t recommend just going and doing four runs a week in a minimalist shoe. But if you wanted to slowly transition over a period of time, you probably could, depending on your background.
Floyd Gomes: Yeah, sure. And that really what you’re saying is, I remember the the controversy was, whether it is good to to step off your heel, or is it better to step off your forefoot. People looked at different runners around the world? And who does what to try to work that out? Basically, David, what’s your opinion about that?
David Ronan: Well, you’re shifting load is the difference. So most of the elite runners will run sort of mid foot, they’ll have what’s called a very high cadence. So cadence is just your steps per minute. An average recreational runner might run between 160 and 170 steps per minute, or, you know, slightly more or slightly less, whereas an elite runner might run over 200 steps per minute. What that means is relative to how far they’re pushing themselves off, they’re not stepping as long, although they probably are still stepping further than us just relative to how far they can spring each time. Again, there’s no better or not better, but for certain conditions there is definitely better. So again, for knee injuries. If you run more of a mid foot or four foot there’s less loading forces through your knee, but your calf works harder. The alternative if you’ve got calf injuries and you’re running on your forefoot, or if you have a history of say metatarsal stress fractures, you probably don’t want to run on your forefoot so much. So as you really shifting the load, you know, getting rid of the load. So there’s no there’s no one answer for everyone.
Floyd Gomes: That’s great. Thank you, David. And for the record. Dave’s got a pair of ASICs on so you know, I think I’m gonna buy some ASICs cuz David’s a good runner and he’s wearing ASICs not that way sponsored by anybody. But that’s the fact. And anyway, look. Thank you for joining us, I hope that’s been helpful. As I said, there is a video that will be out demonstrating some of those warm up exercises. And indeed, we’ll make a transcript of this podcast. And yeah, look, I think it’s actually great to see so many people out and about in their local community running or cycling, or walking. I think that’s one of the up shots of, you know, the current time and yeah, once again, I’d actually encourage you to run or get into some form of exercises, but certainly, jogging could be one of them. And I hope this once again, has helped I’d like to thank in wrapping up here, David Ronan, once again, he’s our in-house physio at Atticus Health, for joining us. So thank you, David. And, yeah, if you have any questions or anything like that, wherever you find this post this podcast, this video, this transcript, I’m sure there’d be a link. Thanks and have a great day.
I hope all this helps, and best of luck with your running this spring, it’s awesome that you’re into it!