Melbourne Podiatry Clinic

Want To Run Faster?

We all strive to beat our previous run time. It’s easy to just go out and run faster but how do we do that without getting injured? Most people develop running injuries when they do “too much, too soon, too quickly”. They feel good during a run and push themselves a lot harder and longer than they’ve gone before, either by increasing the amount of kms they do in a week by too much or trying to run faster than they have before. Now of course it is important to consistently increase the load through training as this is the fundamental way we adapt physiologically, but how much is too much and what sort of training should you do each week. This question is hard to answer as we are all different and we all respond to the stresses placed on our body differently. One runner may respond to high intensity workouts well with a dramatic increase in performance. While another athlete may respond poorly to the same program and become overtrained or injured. So how do we know how hard to push ourselves or how to reduce our risk of injury? You don’t! It takes time and knowledge and you need to seek professional help to develop a program that is right for you.
As a Sports Podiatrist I generally see a runner when they are injured. This is normally due to overuse, muscle imbalance, poor training, improper shoes or issues with their biomechanics. Obviously the aim is to prevent these injuries from occuring in the first place so consequently we have developed a running screening program designed to highlight any deficiencies and then correct them.

Our screening program contains 3 key elements:
  • Our fully qualified Sports Physiotherapist will carry out the initial screening. This will involve a full muscle and joint assessment specific to running and you will be given the appropriate exercises to assist you improve your “deficiencies”. Depending on the level of the deficiency you may be asked to make a return appointment in 1, 2 or 4 weeks for reassessment and/or manual treatments to assist you achieve your goal.
  • The next session will be conducted by our Sports Podiatrist. A comprehensive running Video Gait Analysis will assess your running technique and detect any issues that may cause problems as you progress through your running program. This may include some running gait re-training and running drills, running shoe changes or orthotics.
  • Massage/Myotherapy is a proven method to treat sore, tired muscles especially after high impact pursuits like running. This program will include a 45 min massage with our expert therapists to soothe and relax your muscles and give you advice on ways to maintain a flexible, healthy body to further reduce injury.

This program has been designed specifically for runners by runners. All of us here love to run and have been through exactly what you are about to go through. Not only are we experts at assessing and treating running injuries but we love passing on our experience and knowledge when it comes to all things running. Call us today on (03) 9993 0461 to book in for our Running Screening program and don’t let injuries stop you from achieving your goal!

So how do you run faster?

One of most effective ways to improve your run times is Interval Training. Interval training involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with a form of active recovery. Interval training can help to avoid injuries that often accompany continuous, repetitive activity. It also provides the opportunity to increase your intensity without burning yourself out in a matter of minutes. The advantages of interval training are that it utilises both the body’s aerobic and anaerobic energy-producing systems. The aerobic system allows you to work for several minutes/hours using oxygen to convert carbohydrates/fats into energy. While, the anaerobic system draws energy from carbohydrates (in the form of glycogen) stored in the muscles for short bursts of activity such as sprinting, jumping or lifting heavy objects. It is very relevant for all athletes from sprinters and middle distance runners to marathoners and triathletes.

How to do it

In its most basic form, interval training might involve walking for two minutes, running for two, and alternating this pattern throughout the duration of a workout. In a more advanced program it may involve increasing bouts of intense efforts with decreasing recovery. Both are aimed to stimulate adaptation and change in the physiological systems that help you run faster. By running above your normal running pace, allows you to perform at a higher intensity for longer. If you continue to run at a comfortable easy pace during training then you won’t see any improvement in your run times. If you train slow, you will race slow! The simplest way for any novice runners to begin interval training safely is to download the Couch to 5k app. This app gives you step by step instructions, including interval sessions that slowly build in intensity to allow you to run 5km. If you have been running for a while then I recommend seeking a qualified running coach to create a customised running program specifically aimed at your goals.

Interval training shouldn’t substitute your entire running program. If you are training for a marathon then it is still important to include a long run in your schedule, but what interval training can do for you is make your comfortable running pace, faster! By facilitating more rapid adaption to training, interval training will not only help you run faster but also decreasing your risk of injury.

Here is more information on the benefits of Interval Training.

Andrew Maitland is a sports podiatrist at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic. Having worked closely with many elite and amateur runners over the years he has helped many people in the prevention and treatment of running injuries.

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