JKConditioningWhat runner doesn’t hate getting injured? Knee pain, heel pain or even low back pain can put a damper on any runner’s training. Usually though, the site of pain is not the source of the injury.

Think about it like this. You have a door rubbing in a door frame on the handle side (opposite the hinges).

One way to fix this problem is shave the door so it doesn’t rub anymore. Compare this to lateral knee pain. The site of the problem is the knee, just like where the door rubs against the door frame. Shaving the door is the same as trying to fix the knee (only).

What we need to do is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

By looking at the hinge side, you’ll notice the door isn’t held in the door frame properly, therefore causing the door to rub.

So, as the analogy says, take a step back and look at the body as a whole.

Commonly, pain in one area results from the body compensating for a problem in a different area.

Take for example, weak hip muscles. When these guys are weak, during single leg stance (running!) the weakness in the hips result in a lateral shift of the pelvis with each stride (known as the Trendelenburg Sign).

This changes the efficient mechanics of running into a non-efficient running stride with potential compensations. The body will experience different stresses and different wear patterns, just as a car would, if it had a crooked axil. Commonly, knee pain will result and many runners will think the problem stems at the knees.

With a proper assessment, weakness in the lateral hip muscular will be found (notice, NOT, where the site of pain is).

This is just one of many examples of how running injuries start.

Unfortunately, running by itself is not sufficient in building a resilient body. And because running is repetitive in nature, believe it or not, certain muscles tend to over develop while others tend to weaken. This can lead to muscle imbalances and incorrect movement patterns.

A strategically designed and individual-specific strength and prehabilitation program must be implemented in order to avoid running down the road to injuryville.

I’ve come across numerous runners that think that lower body training isn’t necessary because of all the miles they run – they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here are 3 rehab tips to keep you safe and sound, all season long.
 

1. Seek a reputable soft tissue therapist to address, well, soft-tissue related issues.

 

Active release techniques, Graston or just plain old therapeutic sport massage may be warranted on a regular basis. This depends on how much you run per week, but I would guess that most runners will benefit from frequent soft tissue therapy.
 

2. Work on joint mobility (often).

 
The ankle joint and hip joint (among others) can become restricted in their movement(s) and if so, can wreck havoc on a runner’s body. Running with a stiff ankle can affect the entire kinetic chain and result in a awkward, inefficient running stride.

A simple exercise to work on ankle mobility and calf flexibility is the Downward Dog.

Go into a pushup position and pike your butt into the air. Drive your heels downward and keep your knees straight. Get your butt as high as possible. Hold for 5-sec (do 5-6 reps; 1-3 sets) if performing pre-workout and 30-60-sec (do 3-6 sets) if performing post-workout. You can bend one knee inward to isolate one leg at a time if you wish.
 

3. Incorporate muscle activation exercises to wake up sleeping muscles.

 
As I said earlier, certain muscles tend to weaken with running. Let’s continue on with our weak hip muscles not being able to stabilize our hips when running.

One of many hip strengthening exercises is the X-Band Walk.

Hold a circular band and stand on one end. Cross the band in front of you to take up slack. With your feet starting hip width apart, step to the side without hip hiking or leaning – stay strong through your trunk and remain tall. Follow with the trail leg but don’t let it drag on the ground or snap in. Repeat until you have completed 12 steps. Return to the start by side stepping the other direction – remember not to turn around or else you’ll be performing it on the same side again! Perform 2-sets daily (yeah, I said daily!) before runs.

Well, there you have it – 3 ways you can prevent injuries all season long. (this post is not at all exhaustive and only scrapes the surface)

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them below. If you have any running friends that you think will benefit from reading this post, please share it with them 🙂

RUN STRONG,

-Jon

JKC was recommended to me by my good friend Casidhe Dyke. Cas had been training with JKC for a while, and both he and his father had seen great results from the personal training that Jon and Thomas were giving them. I was and still am primarily a triathlete and I’ve always struggled with injuries. I was talking to Cas about incorporating more strength training in my program to try and prevent injuries going forward and Cas suggested that I give JKC a try. I reached out to Jon not long after, and the rest is history! After working with Jon and Thomas for a few months, I was getting stronger, faster, and most importantly, I was staying injury-free. I ended up being able to train the whole season without significant injury and posted a personal best at Ironman Copenhagen in 2018. A big part of that was due to the strength training and coaching I received at JKC.

I started at JKC in January of 2014 and I’m 67 years old. When I had my Initial Assessment, I knew – almost immediately – that Jon knew what he was doing and what he was talking about. I was overweight, out of shape, and in serious need of someone, like Jon, who could get me back on a fitness/conditioning routine that suited me, my age, my less than acceptable physical condition, my sometimes intermittent RA, and my need for a structured, consistent and yet flexible training and conditioning program that would work for me.

Fundamentally, if I made a choice at all with respect to JKC – it was to continue to come back each week. I have not been in a lot of gyms. To be honest, they used to intimidate me. What makes JKC different is their approach to each and every one of their clients. Jon and Thomas – and now Craig – tailor each training regime to the particular needs of each client. That ensures that the training regime will suit each client upon the start of training and changes as the client improves. It adjusts for any physical setbacks such as injuries and it adjusts for success. It is just that simple.

It is also the consistent encouragement that comes from Jon, Thomas and Craig. That voice that comes to you while you are in the middle of a particularly difficult set – rear-foot elevated split squats comes to mind immediately – that says “good job” or “keep it up” or “just a couple more reps.” To know, in that moment, that you are not alone and the trainer is paying attention to what you are doing. That is priceless for me.

I came to JKC through recommendations from my peers from lululemon. As a current ambassador, I’ve been introduced to legacy ambassadors, like Jon, and I knew a bunch of other people from the store were working out here so I wanted to give it a go. I often dread lower body workouts so I started coming here to do legs. I’ve had such great progress that I now come twice a week— and, I no longer hate leg day!

I’ve never experienced this sort of hybrid between group workouts and personalized service. Many group strength training services offer a sort of one-size-fits-all workout for the general population, which has never been of interest to me, because I want my workout tailored to my needs! I LOVE that you can be in a group setting while doing your own personal program; I love the camaraderie and community at JKC, and, I’ve seen incredible results thus far! Jon is always so attuned to what I need.

My original reason for joining JKC was to get some sage advice to help with my running. I had been looking for awhile, came across Jon, met for an assessment, and was quite happy with how that all went. Apart from the running specific strengthening and conditioning approaches, JKC is different from other gyms as I am a fan of the small group sessions where everyone has their own goals and individualized programs. As well, the run coaching is super. All the coaches go the extra mile to make sure you get the best out each training session. They are fantastic motivators! My favourite memory is deadlifting 330lbs. Making a lot of great friends and meeting some really cool people is pretty high up on that list, too.

I’ve always been a gym rat, but was getting tired of the same ol’ routine. My better half was attending JKC and encouraged me to try it out. My favourite part of JKC is that is isn’t a gym – it’s a community. Jon and Thomas are awesome, and I love that every time I go I know who’s working out with me and we can socialize while working on our health. Everyone is supportive, encouraging and genuinely looks out for one another. It’s an upbeat and positive experience and I can honestly say that I look forward to each and every workout.

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