Monthly Archives: March 2017

Running Injury: ITBS

One of the most common injuries for runners is Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  Known as ITBS, it is experienced by both new and experienced runners.  A preventable and treatable injury, read on to learn more about ITBS.

What:  The iliotibial band is a ligament that runs from the hip to the shin on the outside of each thigh.  It works to both stabilize and move the knee joint.  ITBS occurs when this band is inflamed or tight and leads to pain. ITBS

Causes:  ITBS is most often caused by a sudden increase in work load for the knee.  Other potential sources are a change in terrain or a lack of recovery time.  It can also result from running in worn out shoes, on banked surfaces, turning only in one direction or faulty running mechanics.

Symptoms:  Pain and swelling on the outside of the knee are the result of an inflamed IT Band.  The pain can also radiate up the outside of your thigh along the length of the IT band.  If you bend your knee to 45 degrees and have pain on the outside, it’s ITBS.

Treatments:  Rest, foam rolling and low impact cross training like swimming are good ways to avoid further irritation of the IT band.  Ice, heat and anti-infalmmatories are also treatment options.  While all of these will treat the symptoms of ITBS, it’s important to address the cause of your injury during treatment and recovery phases.

Recovery:  ITBS often results from poor running mechanics that allow the knee to rotate inward on landing.  Strengthening glutes, working towards a soft foot strike and increasing mobility through both hip extension and flexion are the best ways to treat and prevent this injury.  Work with a qualified coach or physical therapist to determine what caused your injury.  Rest and heal it then strengthen and mobilize to prevent it from happening again.

Coach Meredith

Running Injuries: Shin Splints

Shin splints are a common injury.  Seen most often in new runners, they can be painful but typically come with a shorter recovery time than the dreaded stress fracture.  Here’s how to identify your shin splints, treat them and avoid getting them again.shin splints

What are shin splints:  They are the common name for a medial condition officially known as medial tibial stress syndrome.  A shin splint causes pain along the bone at the front of the lower leg, the tibia, and is most frequently seen in new runners or those increasing mileage.

What causes them?  Shin splints are the result of inflammation of the muscles, tissues and tendons surrounding the tibia.  This inflammation most often comes from a sudden change in training routines.  It can also be caused by worn out shoes, another injury, weak hips or a lack of core stability.

Symptoms:  Tenderness and soreness along the length of the tibia as well as possible swelling are red flags.  Sometimes pain will disappear with activity but it will eventually become constant.  If you reach the point of constant pain, be sure to rule out the more serious stress fracture by getting an x-ray.

Treatment Options:  Shin splints are best treated by slowing things down.  Decrease mileage or try water running.  Lower impact activities are a must until the inflammation goes away.  Anti-inflammatories, ice and heat are additional options.  This is also a good time to make sure you have a quality shoe that offers the support you need and isn’t worn out.

Recovery:  The most important part of recovery is to figure out what caused your injury.  Treat the source of the shin splints, not just the symptom.  Have a gait analysis.  Strengthen weak areas like hips and core muscles.  Ease back into activity, coming back from this injury slowly.  Too much, too soon will inevitably lead to reinjury.

Coach Meredith

4 Benefits of Group Workouts

Group workouts are an awesome tool for improving your fitness and race times.  They’re also completely different than a group run.  A group run is mostly a social event and every runner might be there for a different reason.  Maybe someone is out for a recovery run while another is trying to get in some short speed work.  A group workout, on the other hand, has everyone with similar goals performing the same workout.  The marathoners run one distance and the 5k crew a different but each group is working hard.  Here are four benefits of hitting the track with your best running workouts

Accountability.  Be there or be square.  At least one or two people in the group are counting on you.  Your coach is definitely expecting you.  Excuses are limited and slacking is not encouraged when you’re with a few other people.

Learning.  Group workouts are a great opportunity to learn.  Learn how far you can push yourself or what that pesky soreness in your foot means.  There’s someone at that workout who has been through whatever you’re experiencing and wants to help you.  Pick the brains of seasoned runners with combined decades of miles to avoid common pitfalls.

Push it.  Someone is certainly faster than you.  Maybe you’re the quickest miler but you probably aren’t the fastest 200M person.  No matter what you’re training for a tough speed session can go a long way.  We automatically push a little harder when we’re with someone else so take advantage.

Friendship.  Even though group workouts are slightly more competitive than a group run, you’re bound to bond.  One of the biggest perks of group workouts is the chance that someone is training for the exact same event you are.  That can lead to a new training buddy and even better race times.  It will also lead to laughs and memories you can’t get anywhere else.

Group workouts are fun, good for you and easy to find.  Be sure to include at least a few in every training cycle to gauge your progress.

Coach Meredith

7 Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail running is a great way to enjoy the changing leaves, crisp air and great outdoors this spring.  It’s also a little different from road running, requiring a different mindset, different muscles and a bit more time.  Here are seven tips from Team ECRP to help your trail trail runningrunning program get started in the right direction.

Accessorize.  Make sure you’re prepared for a trail running workout with trail shoes, sunblock, a hat, sunglasses and bug spray.  You can also check out running gaiters.  These fashion accessories help keep your ankles and feet safe from stones, sticks and other trail debris while you’re out enjoying nature.

Work on your core.  Running on uneven ground challenges your balance.  The muscles of your core, abs, obliques, lower back, are what help you stay on your feet.  The stronger they are, the more stable you’ll be and that means less likelihood of injury.  Practice balance and core strengthening exercises regularly to help your trail running performance.

Leave extra time.  You’ll be looking for the path of least resistance, rather than the shortest route from Point A to Point B on the trails.  That might mean switchbacks or taking the long way around.  Run for time, rather than distance until you’re familiar with different paths and the difficulties they each ask you to face.

Start slowly.  Trails are different than roads or treadmills.  They’re uneven, inconsistent and tougher on ankles and feet.  Adjust to trail running with shorter runs than you’d do on the road and build up trail runninguntil you feel 100% comfortable.

Keep going slowly.  With dirt paths, roots to watch out for and lots of other potential obstacles, trail running requires more effort then road running.  Slow down and run by effort rather than pace, even if it means walking up hills in the beginning.

Stay safe.  Consider head lamps, pepper spray and reflective gear.  Always be sure to take an ID, tell someone where you’re going and when to expect you back.  If you can, take your cell phone or a map and be aware of what’s going on around you at all times.  Knowing the rules of the trail, such as yielding to downhill runners, equestrians and cyclists as well as staying on marked trails and running through, not around, puddles will all help you get home safely.

Bring fluids.  Trail running can be unpredictable.  Mud, rain, snow and streams all have the potential to make your run a little more hazardous, making the time it takes you to finish hard to determine.  The last thing you want to do is run out of water, so wear or stash it.  If your route crosses parking lots or picnic areas drop a water bottle off before you start.  You can also use handheld water bottles, mini-bottle waist belts or a hydration pack to make sure you don’t get thirsty.

Use these tips to kick off spring with successful trail running.

Coach Meredith