Is cadence important for running? Read Dave’s steps to success!

And why cadence may be something to consider……

If you have ever wondered what the Cadence measurement on your Garmin running data actually means, you should hopefully find the following advice useful!

Cadence (the total number of steps you make per minute) is dictated by your running style and can have a big impact on your running economy (i.e. your energy expended). It is also a risk factor for many running injuries.

What does the research tell us?

A 10% increase in step rate may reduce knee joint loading by up to 34% (Heiderscheit et al 2011).

Low cadence (<166 steps per minute) is linked with a 6-fold increase in shin pain versus a cadence less than 178 steps per minute (Luedke et al 2016).

Low cadence is typically seen with:

  • an “over-stride” pattern – see below left, versus good foot placement right. When over-striding the foot contact is made significantly ahead of the knee and the runner’s centre of mass. This is a common running style fault and injury risk factor.

  • similarly, increased ‘bounce’ or excessive vertical oscillation expends excessive energy and also poses a risk to injury.

So what is the ideal cadence for running?

The ideal cadence for running is thought to be approximately 172-190 steps per minute.

How do I go about making changes?

Changing your cadence can take some practice and it’s sensible to only increase by 5-7.5% at a time. Allow  2-3 weeks to accommodate this amount of change before you increase any further.

There are several mobile Apps available to help set and monitor your cadence and many running and sports watches will record cadence as part of their standard data. Additionally there are running coaching strategies and drills that can be learnt to aid the correction of over-striding or excessive bounce patterns.

How can we help you?

If you are unsure if your running style is a cause of any niggling injuries or are wondering if your running style is efficient, it’s best to have a Biomechanical Treadmill Assessment which we offer here at Physio on the River.

Physio Dave Burnett is our running guru and runs our running clinic. He can give your running style an MOT and coach you through any changes necessary. He can also help you resolve any old injuries you may be carrying.

Next steps……. (no pun intended!)

To book a Biomechanical Treadmill Running Assessment with Dave just:

Call 0203 916 0286

Email us here

Or simply pop in for a chat – we’d love to see you!

Read how Physio helps experienced runners improve performance and manage injury risk

If you are an experienced runner, it’s highly likely you’ve trained and competed whilst injured.

Indeed, research shows that runners often carry old “niggles” that have never been properly sorted out.

If you are a seasonal runner, or tend to aim for certain events, you may find that you are susceptible to injuries at certain times of the year, or points in your annual training cycle.

We asked Dave Burnett, who heads up our Running Clinic, to explain the common causes of injury and how we can help you reduce your risk and manage ongoing issues whilst at the same time improve your performance!

What caused my injury?

This is a commonly asked question at the clinic!

In the absence of an acute trauma or a specific isolated event, “overuse” is a common cause of injury.

To be more specific overuse usually means “training load errors”.  Simply put, if your training load (i.e. the frequency, intensity, time & type of training) is higher than what your tissues (e.g Achilles Tendon or Knee-cap Joint) can tolerate, you’ll get injured.

And why hasn’t my injury resolved yet?

Tissue tolerance is related to to several different factors and all of these can affect your ability to get over an injury:

  • your age – we all recognise that we become less elastic and quick to recover as we get older
  • our genetics – some people just have good genes
  • our general health and level of fitness
  • previous injuries we have suffered
  • our strength & flexibility
  • our biomechanics – the way we are built or the way we move
  • and finally our recovery, sleep, nutrition & lifestyle!

Runners that are at a higher risk of injury

Certain sub-groups of runners are at higher-risk of injury including

  • Beginners with less than 1 year’s experience
  • Runners with previous injuries (particularly in the first 3 months following the injury)
  • Marathon runners who run more than 40 miles/ 65km per week
  • Runners who rapidly increase their  speed or distance
  • Women with a low BMI or reduced bone density (Osteopenia or Osteoporosis)

(JAMA, 2014)

How can training load affect injury?

Various factors influence training load including:

  • The nature of your weekly running programme  – i.e. the frequency, intensity, time and duration)
  • Any other exercise or strength and conditioning you may do on top of your running
  • The nature of your running training is also a factor and some injuries are more commonly “volume-related” versus “pace-related”.

 

How can I improve my tissue tolerance?

Improving your tissue tolerance will reduce injury risk and can be achieved in several ways:

  • Cross-Training – using a variety of types of exercise in your training e.g. using swimming/cycling/cross-trainer
  • Optimising or adapting your running style– your running style will change the forces placed on your joints and muscles- small adaptations are often effective to help solve ongoing niggles and can help improve your economy and performance.
  • Optimising your footwear for your specific running biomechanics– this will help reduce load on the system
  • Taping can help offload your tissues so they have more tolerance to exercise
  • Running Specific Strength and Conditioning – it is now widely accepted that running performance can be improved by combining endurance training with explosive strength training. Adapting common gym-style strength work to make your programme specific to your running demands will help you improve your tissue tolerance more quickly
  • Maximise nutrition, hydration and sleep– these will undoubtedly help performance, recovery and tissue repair.

How Physio can help

At Physio on the River, we can help you both:

  • recover from injuries which are stopping you from running
  • help those ongoing niggles you are carrying whist continuing to run and
  • help reduce the risk of re-injury

Our physios are specialists at assessing the way you move and identifying the causes of injury. Combining our clinical skills and video gait analysis we can give you a really thorough screening and a baseline of information to create a tailor-made plan of action.

Our Standard 60 minute Running Assessment includes:

  • Establishing the specific details of your running history by exploring your training programme, coaching advice and goals for up and coming competitions
  • A physical screening to identify important biomechanical factors related to running (e.g joint and muscle flexibility tests and lower limb strength and muscle control measurements)
  • Treadmill analysis of your running with Hi-Speed video
  • A report of your video analysis findings
  • An exercise programme to help facilitate your rehabilitation

NB- if your Screening Assessment and/or running analysis identifies a specific injury requiring treatment then a course of physiotherapy can be provided.

How to book a Running Assessment with Dave or one of our team of Physios:

Call 0203 916 0286

Book online here

Email the clinic here

Or just pop in and speak to one of our Receptionists

If you found this useful and would like to read our other running related blogs just click here.

Are you a first time marathon runner or new to distance running? Read our top tips for avoiding the injury pitfalls!

 

If you have just got your first place in the London Marathon for 2018 – congratulations! Or perhaps you are new to distance running? Either way you’re no doubt excited but perhaps equally anxious about the challenges ahead.

Training for, and then running a marathon is a great achievement but there are lots of potential pitfalls along the way to overcome. Read on to find out our Running specialist, Dave Burnett’s top tips to help you glide along the road to success! Dave heads up our Running Clinic team of Physiotherapists.

 

1. Training programmes

“What do you mean? – I don’t just start running?!”

Whether you are just looking to get round or have a timed goal in mind, a marathon training programme is vital to success.

The programme you choose will depend on lots of factors including: your previous running experiences, the time you have available to train, your general health, your level of fitness and any injuries you may have or have had in the past.

If you are new to exercise, have any significant cardiovascular or bone health problems or are overweight, it’s a good idea to see your GP before you start training.

If you are new to running and don’t exercise regularly, it’s best to start with a Beginner’s Training Programme such as:

http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

https://www.runnersworld.com/training/the-8-week-beginners-guide

If you have some running experience or you are generally fit and exercise regularly the below link offers Marathon Programmes from beginner to advanced.

https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/trainingplans/

You will notice that your plan includes lots of activities that aren’t running. This is because we know that working on all the different aspects of fitness – flexibility, cardiovascular, core strength, muscle power and running pattern can help your all round performance and lower risks of injury.

2. Distance runners get injured frequently – so lower your injury risk!

Since the 1980’s the yearly risk for regular runners to get injured has remained as high as 70-80% despite advances in training methods and footwear technology.

As a ‘running beginner’ (i.e. less than a year’s experience), or if you have had any previous running injuries, you are at a higher risk of getting injured.

‘Overuse’ or ‘training load errors’ are common pitfalls in distance running. Beginners are often susceptible to injuries caused by ‘too much, too soon, too fast!’.

Simply put – if your training load (frequency, intensity, time and type) is higher than what your tissues can tolerate, you’ll get injured.

Our tissue tolerance is multi-factorial and related to: our age, our genetics, our general health, any previous injuries, our strength and mobility, our biomechanics, ability to recover, sleep, nutrition and lifestyle!

How we can help: At Physio on the River we offer a Physiotherapy Running Screening Assessment. Our physios can give you expert advice to reduce your injury risk and help you to progress through your training programme. The running assessment includes:

  • Health screening to help flag up any important health or disease factors that could affect your running
  • Physical screening tests specifically tailored to running which will highlight movement restrictions or imbalances in muscle strength or control
  • Treadmill video analysis of your running to identify any technical issues with your running pattern
  • Advice on running based strength and conditioning exercises to complement your training schedule

3. Do you need an injury MOT?

Research shows that runners often carry old injuries that have never been properly sorted out. An old niggle can place you at higher risk of developing a further injury so it’s really essential to get these assessed and treated properly before you start out on your running journey.

Common problem injuries may include calf muscle or Achilles tendon injuries, kneecap or knee tendon problems, buttock, hamstring and groin injuries or lower back pain.

Our physios are specialists at assessing the way you move and identifying the causes of injury. They can help you resolve ongoing issues.

4. Treat your feet!

It may sound obvious but a decent pair of running shoes will help reduce risk of injuries and make those longer runs much more bearable down the line.

The type of shoe you choose will depend on several important factors including:

  • your foot posture and shape of your feet (narrow or wide, high arch or flatter arch etc)
  • your running style – whether you are a heel striker or a forefoot striker
  • your running biomechanics – i.e. how all your joints from the lower spine to the toes move in a chain. Running can be affected by seemingly remote things like a stiff big toe or a stiff upper back!

It is therefore good to consider buying some shoes from somewhere that has the knowledge and skills to identify these factors properly. Locally we recommend Sporting Feet in Putney or Up and Running in Sheen.

5. Food for thought – literally!

A late and a croissant on the train to work simply won’t cut it in the world of marathon training! Your training schedule isn’t a license to eat just what you fancy!

  • So base your diet around mainly fresh, unprocessed foods – vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds.
  • Don’t forget to include some healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and oily fish to support your immune system, which may be compromised by heavy training. These healthy fats can help your joints recover from pounding the pavements.
  • Eat more on your long run days and less on your rest days, particularly starchy and sugary foods.
  • Keeping alcohol to less than 14 units per week is also advisable.

To read more about nutrition and hydration for your marathon training and the race day itself read our blog here.

So to summarise: start by sorting out any old unresolved niggles, get yourself a proper training plan suitable to your particular level of experience, come and have a Running Assessment Screening session or Injury MOT with Dave, get yourself a decent pair of running shoes and don’t forget to fuel yourself properly!

If you would like to book a session with Dave or one of the team of physios, just call 0203 916 0286, email us here , book online by clicking the book online button on the right here or drop in for a chat.

If you have found this blog useful and would like to read our other running and marathon blogs just click here.

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