The forefoot versus heel strike debate

A critical review of foot strike pattern by our colleague in Brighton- Tom Goome (click on link below).  This review looks at one aspect of gait re-training. There are many other aspects that need to be addressed, and this is only one part of improving your gait pattern.  

Due to the expertise and close working relationships with our resident physios at Manor Clinic, TRS Kent can determine what the correct strike pattern is for you rather than slavishly get our athletes/patients to adopt a forefoot strike. We also work at different speeds and conditions to help our athletes adapt as they need to. The way we adapt your running may not mean a change in foot strike pattern, but will change the way you move the rest of your body.

Posted on January 30, 2015 .

Cadence & Running

Many recreational athletes take 150-160 Steps pre minute. Tests show that slower turn-over costs more energy. The aim is to have a quick and light ground contact time, so you spend less time on the ground and more time in the air moving forward!

One great way to increase your cadence is to practice running using a small digital metronome, set to a specific rhythm (desired cadence). Try for short bursts initially to match your running stride frequency to the beeping without speeding up your running pace. Initially this will feel strange, even a little forced, but you will get used to the increased rhythm. 

The goal shouldn’t just be to continue to increase your cadence rate, but more so to elevate it to a comfortable but more active rate (for a desired pace), then use a metronome to work on sustaining this rate of cadence across the duration of your long runs (or other sessions) as you fatigue. The tendency will be for cadence to drop as you fatigue.

 Unnaturally forcing an uncomfortably high cadence too soon can result in it’s own technique issues. This is the main reason for suggesting that you don’t jump straight to 180spm, rather you increase by 5%, then 5% again once comfortable… and so on…!

 Increasing running cadence by 5-10% is associated with multiple benefits:

o   The hip and knee absorb significantly less mechanical energy. (Heiderscheit, 2011)

o   Peak hip adduction and internal rotation moments decrease. (Heiderscheit, 2011)

o   Center of mass vertical excursion, braking impulse, and peak knee flexion angle all significantly decrease. (Heiderscheit, 2011)

o   Patellofemoral joint force is reduced by 14%. (Lenhart, 2014)

o   Gluteus medius and maximus activity increases during the late swing phase. (Chumanov, 2012)

o   Pressure and force variables in the heel and metatarsal regions are reduced by 565 body weights*second (BW*s) and 140-170 BW*s per mile, respectively. (Wellenkotter, 2014)

Posted on January 11, 2015 .

Running with the Garmin Edge

Being a keen triathlete and having recently become the owner of a Garmin Edge 510 thanks to my good friends at 7oakstri, I was trying to work out how I could use the GPS sourcery to keep track of my run training. 

Garmin do not make a wriststrap for the Garmin Edge - these being cycle specific pieces of kit. If you wish to keep track of your non bike related activities you need to either buy another GPS device or opt for a multisports device such as the Frontrunner, which in my view has less functionality.

However with a little bit of experimentation and a couple of my daughter's hairbands I came up with the arrangement shown in the photos. The hairbands are applied in the same way as the bands supplied for cycle stem mounting (which are too short to go round a wrist) and they make a sturdier tie than elastic bands. Remember you must also position the rubber disk supplied under the mount to stop the unit slipping around your wrist.

The overall look once the unit is attached does somewhat resemble devices worn in early sci-fi movies but it is effective even when using the more dynamic arm action taught at The Running School. Finally add "Run" as one of your activity profiles and change the training page to give you data suited to running (I use average speed, HR, distance and time) and voila you have a wrist mounted running GPS for no extra. Just dont get caught stealing those hairbands.

Now just how do I do I get it working in the water.....


Posted on November 24, 2014 .

Bounce at your peril

After having a very interesting discussion the other day with one of my fitness friends about why ladies do not use their arms to run properly- I had a thought that I would try and convince a few more people to take it seriously. I do a lot of biomechanics analysis and this is something I do not take great pleasure in pointing out! - the way you swing your arms (or do not) is directly dependant on how good a bra you are wearing!!! If you are too busy holding your top box to use your arms to propel yourself you are inadvertently slowing yourself down and fixing your trunk to stop your boobs bouncing up and down.

If you need some convincing here is the research about how much you are bouncing!!

During walking, a woman's breasts move the same amount in and out, up and down and from side to side: about 33% in each dimension.

Up the pace to a jog or a run, and the movement is split: 51% up and down, 22% side to side and 27% in and out. The overall pattern is a figure of eight (on it's side).

Breasts move as much during a slow jog as they do during a sprint, meaning no matter what your pace, you should always wear a sports bra- and a good one at that! Two ordinary bras will not stop the motion.

If you are hitting the ground hard then you are getting alot more vertical bounce than you would ever want- damaging breast ligaments and altering your whole body biomechanics and a lot more besides!( AKA heading south!)

Warning- clicking here will make your eyes water! Put your size in and your sport and see how much damage you could be doing! Enough said!

Posted on October 15, 2014 .