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Last week I had a quick look at the benefits to runners of including strength training in their program. This week we'll look at when to schedule strength training in a running program. Where should you fit it in so that you get the benefit of having it in there but not have an adverse effect on your main activity, that is to say running?  

Strength and conditioning in sport are more common place over time. The role of the strength and conditioning specialist becoming more important as athletes look to maximise their potential. This makes a lot of sense from when we considier the benefits of being a stronger athlete. A stronger athlete will, in most cases, never be anywhere tapping out their strength in a game situation.  The conditioning side is about what is the appropriate type of work to be done. There is a lot to be gained from training the different energy systems but what ones are important.  Knowing what aspects to train and where to place them are very important. There is no point  in a marathon runner doing a Tabata session or a sprinter running for an hour.  Plyometric drills that can of great benefit when used correctly for runners of all distances.  

The first step in any injury assessment is what previous injuries do you have. The biggest predictor of future injury lies in your injury history. As a result looking into your injury history will play an important roll in deciding on what needs to be done. If you have previously injured your ankle, knee or hip these are areas we need to investigate in the injury assessment. We do this becasue of the scale of the impact they have on the way you move. Two of the more important things that we are looking out for in the clinic are asymmetries and pain.When we are assessing movement we are looking to see both how good it is and does it cause pain.

This isn't an uncommon thing to hear from anyone unfortunate enough to suffer regular ankle injuries. The likely hood that you have weak ankles is very low even if you are spraining one or both of them regularly. The cause of the problem is more likely one of poor communication between the brain and the muscles surrounding your ankle which results in a loss of what we call proprioception.

Having stronger calf muscles is a great way to help reduce the chances of injury. The lower leg and feet take something of a pasting when you run. The peak load that occur when you are running start at around 3 times your body weight. In the lower leg the peak loads on soleus are  7 times body weight at normal running speeds.  Wse types of loads it is easy to see the benefits of stronger calf muscles. The 2.5 figure is at slower running speeds and not sprinting. When sprinting the overall peak load is 7 or 8 times your body weight. From this it is easy to see how any interval session is going to be even more stressful.

Marathon preparation is a lengthy one and it is worth spending some time planning it. If you have just finished one or a half marathon and thinking about your next challenge. It may be stepping up to the marathon or looking at setting a PB in the next marathon. Whatever challenge the next race is it's worth setting some goals and formulating a training plan. It's estimated that for those tackling the marathon around 90%, yes you read that correctly 90%, will pick up some sort of injury. This is simply down to the training being tough. You need to get used to spending a lot of time on your feet and it gets to the stage where a short run is 5 or 6 miles. Not all of these injuries will be significant in terms of lost training time but it still highlights how demanding the training is.

Runners' Knee is a common complaint with runners. 10% of runner's will experience some sort of knee pain in any given year. Given it's so common what causes it and what can you do about it? Generally most injuries runner pick up are of a "repetitive strain" nature and runner's knee is no exception. Given the nature of running, this isn't really that big a surprise. There aren't really many demands in terms of changing direction or speed. It is very much about simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Plantar fasciopathy is a problem with the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a band of strong, thick connective tissue that spans the base of the foot from the calcaneus, your heel bone, to the toes. It plays a large role in increasing the strength of the arches of the foot, tying the bones of the foot together to prevent them collapsing under your weight. plantar fasciopathy