(Loryn Savoia, Physiotherapist)
With the Bendigo Fun Run under a month away we wanted to provide some other useful running tips in preparation for the day. Whether you are running the 5 km or the 21 km, there is some valuable information here for you!
What to wear on your feet when you run can really impact your running experiences. I am sure that most of you have done it at one time or another, where you have gone for a walk or run in less than appropriate shoes, and suffered the consequences later on with pain and blisters.
1) Race day is not the best day to trial your brand-new shoes!
New shoes can sometimes take a few wears to get used to, particularly if you have changed brand, style or size. An important thing to note here is that shoes should be comfortable from the first wear, in the sense that they do not rub, create hot spots or make your foot feel cramped. To make sure you enjoy your participation in the Bendigo Fun Run, I would suggest ensuring that the shoes you choose to wear have been taken on at least 3 test runs.
2) Type of shoe is important, but don’t get too bogged down in the details!
There are hundreds of variations of shoe on the market, with different features and specifications to make a shoe sport specific. However, shoe shopping can sometimes cause you to be overwhelmed with choice! The trick is to keep things simple, and pick a shoe that satisfies the general requirement of your chosen activity (running) and is a comfortable fit. Different brands will offer different features such as stability or support shoes, neutral shoes and surface specific options.
For general running, I would choose a road runner, which is slightly more durable than a lightweight shoe. In terms of foot support, a support shoe will provide an element of ‘lift’ under the inside of your foot, and stop you from rolling your ankle inward, similar to how an orthotic works. In contrast, a neutral shoe is exactly that, neutral. Choosing the right shoe in this case will depend on your foot shape and your ability to control your ankle when your run, and many shoe shops are well equipped to assess this and provide the right style. Whilst this is important, at the end of the day wearing the correct size and feeling comfortable in the shoe is more important.
3) Twist test!
On all my running shoes, I like to check for rigidity and support within the shoe structure, by completing a twist test. Holding your shoe at the heel and toe with two hands, try to twist the ends in opposite directions. If the toe end of the shoe can twist a significant amount and is very soft and easily twisted, we may reconsider whether this shoe is structurally supportive and cushioned enough for running. There are many shoes available now that are designed to look like an athletic shoe, but are not structurally designed as such. Completing the twist test is an easy way to remove any shoe options that are not structurally supportive or cushioned for running.
Blisters are the ultimate way to ruin your run. Aside from wearing well fitted shoes, running in blister-free socks is a clever decision to make. Steigen blister-free socks are stocked at Physiotherapy Centre Bendigo, and are absolutely my first choice of sock. If you are keen to purchase a pair, feel free to head into the clinic and choose a style that suits you.
To adequately prepare for the fun run, we reduce our loading in what we call a “taper” which minimizes accumulated fatigue. This is far more important in endurance running, but even over the 5km distance a lighter week of training the week prior to running can make you feel fresh and fast! Ensure you spend a few minutes each night using a foam roller or spikey ball to work through any tightness or sore spots in your major lower limb muscle groups – calves, quads and glutes.
Hydration and food intake are also significant to optimize your run. Ensure you eat a well-balanced dinner the night prior and breakfast the day of the run. My go to is a spaghetti bolognaise dinner and overnight chia seed pudding with a banana for breakfast. Drinking plenty of water the day prior and simply sipping on a water bottle the morning of the run will ensure you are hydrated and ready to go.
To recover from running we want to allow our cardiovascular and respiratory systems to cool down slowly. Once you finish running, it is best to keep moving at a walk, so that your breathing and heart rate will gently slow down. Sip on some water as you do this, until you feel that your breathing has returned to a comfortable rate. Stretching the major lower limb muscles can also improve our recovery, so be sure to spend a few minutes stretching the calves, quads and gluteal muscles. Should you have any ongoing niggles post-running, come and visit a Physiotherapist at Physiotherapy Centre Bendigo! And of course, there is no better recovery than sitting down to a lunch or afternoon snack at any of Bendigo’s fantastic local hospitality venues. Enjoy!