Mighty Jarrah Trail Run Course

**Mighty Jarrah Trail Run Training Courses**
2 Courses to choose from
First Trails Beginner OR Challenge Trail Course

Team Front Runner look forward to helping you, your family and friends prepare in style for the inaugural TriEvents Mighty Jarrah Trail Run on 19 August in the beautiful Dwellingup Forest area.

These 6 week training courses are equally suited to those looking to run their first trail running event (First Trails. Mini 6 or Mighty 10) OR fitness and running enthusiasts looking to prepare in style for Perth’s biggest Trail event (Challenge Trail Course. Mighty 10 or Almighty Half Marathon). Better still, we understand time is a premium so we offer both weekend only OR a full weekday and weekend course!

We cater for all experience and ability levels.

6 week Training Courses 

Course options: First Trails Mini 6 / Mighty 10 OR Challenge Trail Mighty 10/ Almighty Half Marathon Course

Cost: $139 (weekend only) or $199 (weekend+weekday). Early bird savings Book before June 16th and receive $10 off weekend or $20 off combined course

Numbers: Strictly 20 participants per course

Choose either 1 or 2* Training Sessions week

  1. Saturday 7.00am- 9.00am (Compulsary) Various locations (Kings Park, Bold Park, Trigg Bushland, Helena Valley, Bickley Brook & Darlington)- Trail Endurance and Skills
  2. Wednesday 6.00am- 7.00am (Optional) Bold Park (Trail Intervals)

Included Educational Workshops:

  • Welcome Workshop- 6.00pm 5 July The Running Centre (West Perth). Meet your training team and our coaches, get the inside on what gear you need, what courses we will use, training plan and get an exclusive 25% off storewide (*excluding Garmin and sale items)
  • Trail Skills and Technique – In week 1 Trail star and coach Marlene Lootz teaches you all the basics so you are confident and ready for the trails
  • Nutrition and Fuel for Trails- Sports dietitian and super runner Alex Dreyer helps with practical fuelling tips!

What do Team Front Runner deliver?

  • Professional Coaches: All our coaches are Athletics Australia accredited coaches and we are trusted partners of both Athletics WA and Triathlon WA.
  • Education: Workshops scheduled to increase knowledge and build confidence
  • Community: as Perth’s most trusted and experienced running coaches group, we cater for beginners, fun runners and race winners. Any age and ability!
  • Great Value: We love running and want to see you achieve your goals. Weekend only training starts from only $139 (*) for 6 weeks and Full Course (including weekdays) $199 (*) for 6 weeks. (*- Plus Booking Fee)
  • Fun: we love running and want you to love it as much as we do!

Lets Go! We look forward to welcoming you to Team Front Runner and helping you to achieve your goals in the inaugural TriEvents Mighty Jarrah Trail Run.

Queries? Call us on 0478 841 104 or email us admin@frontrunnersports.com.au

 

Trackstars Run School Holiday Program – 2016

Does your child love to run?  Give your kids skills for running no matter what their distance or interest.  During January, we are excited to provide 3 half day running programs, with 3 different themes.  For information on our Bike Stars School Holiday half day program, please see HERE.

All sessions are $39 per child, and include all of the following: –

  • Sessions delivered by Australia’s leading running coaching team, official technique and physiotherapy providers of Athletics WA, with full coaching accreditation and WWC checks.
  • A morning of guaranteed skill development, technique enhancement and of course FUN!
  • Morning tea is provided of fresh fruit and drinks
  • Book ALL THREE sessions and SAVE $20. ONLY $99. BOOK NOW
Session Details: –

Session 1: Monday 11th January 2016 – Cross Country, Strength and Agility.  (Dodd Street, Lake Monger 9.15am-12pm)
Your child will love the wide open spaces of our XC session!   Agility improves speed, balance and coordination in children.  During this session we will introduce children to the skills required to run strong with control.

Session 2: Wednesday 13th January 2016 – WA Aths Centre, Speed and Power. (Stephenson Ave, Mt Claremont 9.15am – 12pm)
Teaching your child skills and technique to run fast and with power on the track!  Lots and speed and plenty of fun to be had.

Session 3: Wednesday 20th January 2016 – Technique Rhythm and Road. (Dodd Street, Lake Monger 9.15am – 12pm)
Your child will learn the secrets of how to run well on the road, over any distance.  How to stay focussed, in control with great form and how to pace to complete a strong and confident finish.

BOOK NOW, as places are limited to 30 children per session.   Confirmation email together with event disclaimer will be emailed to parents the week prior to each event.
NEW BIKESTARS: Monday 18th January 2016 – (Dodd Street, Lake Monger 9.15am-12pm)
Bike Stars cycle drills and skills – during this session your child will be introduced to road safety, race etiquette, bicycle handing and riding with confidence….together with plenty of fun! Coached by 2* Australian Duathlon Champion Tom Bruins SIGN UP NOW

We look forward to working with your children!  For any queries, please contact Andrea on services@frontrunnersports.com.au.

 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Raf Baugh
B.Sc Physio, Level 2 AA
Managing Director

http://frontrunnersports.com.au/1602-2/

Power for Triathlon: Blog 1/3

Training to power: An overview for triathletes.

With the improvements and advancing technology in the cycling world, power meters are fast becoming a mainstream addition to a serious triathletes machine. The benefits of training and racing to power are very applicable to cycling in triathlon, particularly long distance events.

Over this three part blog we will look at the features; benefits; options and application of Power into your training and racing plan.

About power and power meters

A power meter is able to provide you with instant feedback about the amount of physical effort you are exerting to move your bike. Power is measured in Watts and is a measurement of the force exerted from your legs to your bike’s drivetrain per second.

Power is able to show you how hard you are working at that point in time – the higher your power output is (in relation to your power zones), the harder in general you are working. When compared to heart rate, power readings are instant whilst heart rate is lagged and responds to the demands of that exertion. This allows power to be a more sensitive and responsive tool when riding a bike compared to heart rate. Consider a stretch of road with some hills and different surfaces. It will be easier to pedal downhill and over smooth surfaces than uphill and over rough surfaces. A power meter will tell you how much power you are putting through to the bike in each case, whereas the heart rate will be slower to adjust as your cardiovascular system reacts to the demands of the course.

The effects of aerodynamics and friction are so much more significant in cycling than in running and bike courses are so varied that power output required to maintain a certain speed will vary so much throughout a bike course. Consider the Busselton Ironman bike course – there are smooth patches of road, rough patches, sections of head and tail wind as well as slight inclines and declines. When riding through each of these areas, an athlete riding without power will find their target heart rate drift as well as their speed varying greatly. An athlete riding to power will simply ride to their target power zone the entire time.

Power and triathlon

Just like heart rate zones, an athlete can train to power zones to improve their performance. Threshold power can be determined just like running critical velocity or threshold heart rate can. From here, an athlete can then know what power zones they need to ride in to get the most optimal training and in term maximise their race performance. On race day the benefits are similar as an athlete knows what power zone they need to ride to throughout the race.

The benefit of power meters in triathlon is huge, and on race day power readings are arguably more beneficial to all triathletes than cyclists in a road race. This is because so much of a triathlete’s training and racing is done as individual efforts compared to road cycling where much almost racing is in groups. If you are able to know how hard to ride by yourself you will be in the best position possible complete the bike leg at an optimum level. In doing this, your run and therefore your overall race result will also benefit.

In part 2 Tom will talk about types of Power Meters and pro’s and con’s of each type…….

BOOK A FREE MEETING TO DISCUSS YOUR TRIATHLON GOALS WITH TOM BOOK HERE

Thomas Bruins is a professional athlete and former 2012 and 2015 Oceania Professional Duathlon Champion as well as mutliple state Athletics and Duathlon champion. Tom is a qualified Engineer and Triathlon Coach who specialises in skill and performance consulting for triathlon. He can be contacted via email triathlon@frontrunnersports.com.au 

The What, Why and How of the Anaerobic Threshold

As runners become more invested in their own running and are looking for ways to enhance their running performance, the term “threshold” training will often come up. Many people may know this term and are aware of its perceived importance, however the specifics often get lost in translation. By the end of this blog, we hope you have an understanding as to what your anaerobic threshold is, how you can measure it and how you can use it to effectively train towards your next PB!

 

What is the Anaerobic Threshold?

 

Firstly, to understand our threshold (AT), we need to understand how the body uses energy when we run. Aerobic energy is simply energy that is derived from oxygen (O2). When we run, our body is breathing in O2 from the environment and taking it to working muscles via the lungs and bloodstream. The muscles then use this O2 for energy and put out carbon dioxide (CO2) as a waste product that we can then breath out. This is a very sustainable activity as there is plenty of O2 to breath in and the body has an effective method of expelling the CO2. As our exercise intensity, and subsequent demand for energy, increases, the body will continue this cycle of breathing in O2 and breathing out CO2. If we keep increasing our exercise intensity (running faster) then eventually there is a point when the body can no longer supply the energy required through O2 alone. This is where the anaerobic energy system comes in. As your O2 demand approaches its maximum capacity, the body will begin to supply energy through anaerobic sources (the details of which are beyond the scope of this blog). The advantage of anaerobic energy is that it can be supplied to the body extremely quickly, essentially topping up the energy demand that cannot be supplied by O2. The disadvantage is that the waste product of anaerobic energy, hydrogen ions (H+), cannot be dispelled as easily as CO2 (the waste product of aerobic energy).  When we use anaerobic energy, lactic acid is the initial waste product that immediately breaks down into lactate and H+. The H+ are our primary concern as when they accumulate, they create an acidic (low pH) environment in both the working muscles and the bloodstream. When the pH drops significantly, muscle function is impaired and performance is compromised. Anyone who has tried to run near their best pace for more than 30s will know the feeling! Now, without getting too complicated, a key point to understand is that to clear the H+, we need to combine them with O2. But remember we are already using all our O2 to fuel our aerobic energy. So until we reduce the intensity of our run to a point at which there is now O2 to spare, we will continue accumulating H+ and our pace will not be sustainable.

 

Our AT can now be defined as the point at which H+ are being produced in the muscle at the same rate at which they were being cleared into the blood. If we begin accumulating H+, we are above our anaerobic threshold.

AT

Understanding where our threshold training sits in relation to our other aerobic zones in crucial to making sustainable improvements to your running performance

Why Should We Improve Our Anaerobic Threshold?

For runners of all levels, improving their AT is a significant predictor to distance running performance. For runners targeting distance events (>3000m) almost all of the gains in performance will derive from improving the capacity or efficiency of the aerobic system. To justify this, we must remember the proportions at which each energy system contributes to our running. If we run at our best pace for 45s, we derive ~50% of the energy from both aerobic and anaerobic sources. Going up to 2min sees us use 65% aerobic/35% anaerobic and 4min will see us use 80% aerobic/20% anaerobic. So with the time it takes to run events of 5km, 10km, 21km or 42km, our primary concerns for increasing performance lies with our aerobic system. Remember our AT is the point at which we go from being sustainable with our aerobic energy demands, to unsustainable. So if we can raise our AT (run at a faster pace for the same H+ production) our aerobic performance ceiling is increased and our distance running performance can improve significantly.

 Measuring our Anaerobic Threshold

Now we know what is the AT is, we need to be aware at which running intensity the AT occurs. The gold standard for AT testing is a lactate threshold test. This test is typically performed on a treadmill and involves gradually increasing your running pace to find the point at which the AT occurs. Whilst the H+ are the measure of the AT, they are very difficult to measure in the muscle. So a far more effective method is to measure the concurrent level of lactate in the blood. Most runners will find their AT correlates very closely with a measure of 4mMol of lactate in their blood. A graduated treadmill test that measures blood lactate can then identify the pace and heart rate (HR) that leads to this 4mMol blood lactate measure. Find out more HERE

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Whilst we have the ability to run over or above our AT, the resultant increase in anaerobic demand often leads to an increased recovery time for a reduced aerobic benefit from the session

 Estimates can also be made of your AT through a practical running session. At Front Runner Sports, we will often perform what’s known as a Critical Velocity (Vcr) test to assist runners in finding their AT. Due to the accumulation of H+, we know it is impossible to run at a pace exceeding your AT for >30min. So running at your best effort for 30min with the aim to cover the maximum possible distance in this time, will give an accurate estimate of your AT. The resulting average pace and/or HR that you sustained for this 30min is known as your Vcr. If a runner has put in their best effort over 30min, we expect a small amount of H+ accumulation at the end of the run. So to derive your AT pace from the Vcr testing, we recommend taking 97% of the pace you were able to run for the 30min. For example if your Vcr pace = 5min/km = 12km/h, then your AT = 12 x 0.97 = 11.64km/h = 5.09min/km

Training at Your Anaerobic Threshold

 Once you have a pace or HR that correlates with your AT, we can set about training to improve it! We know that the most effective way to improve our AT is to train on or slightly beneath our AT, not above it. As the body does not like an acidic environment, regularly going close to the point of H+ accumulation (but not over it) gives the body the stimulus it needs to enhance the aerobic capacity within the muscles (again, the specifics of which are beyond the scope of this blog) to improve the capacity at which O2 can be used as a fuel source.

How long you can spend at your AT is a reflection of your current conditioning to AT training as well as your muscular endurance. However, most regular runners should find that in training, they should be able to run for ~20min (either continuous or in long intervals) at their AT when working reasonably hard. To continue to improve your AT, we need to gradually increase the amount of time we spend running at your AT. This could be achieved by having less recovery between AT intervals or spending more time at your AT. But importantly, you should not run quicker than your AT, as we lose the aerobic stimulus required to get maximum aerobic adaptation.

As you become more competent, some runners can aim to spend up to 30min at their AT. If you can achieve this, then it would be recommend to re-test your AT to quantify the improvement you have seen. Some example sessions can be seen below:

Recreational Runner

  • 3 x 7min @ AT with 3min of walk/light jog recovery (R)
  • 2 x 10min @ AT with 3min walk/light jog R
  • 1 x 15min @ AT

 Serious Recreational Runner

  • 3 x 8min @ AT with 90s easy jog R
  • 2 x 12min @ AT with 2min easy jog R
  • 1 x 20min @ AT

 Advanced Runner

  • 3 x 10min @ AT with 90s steady jog R
  • 2 x 15min @ AT with 2min steady jog R
  • 1 x 25min @ AT
Herdsman

Finding a consistent and uninterrupted section of running trail is perfect for AT training

 The 3 principles of progressive overload can be applied to threshold training to improve the aerobic stimulus the session will provide:

Firstly, make the run more continuous. E.g. Instead of running 3 x 8min @ AT, run 2 x 12min @ AT. Both will stimulate the body for 24min at your AT, but a more consistent application of the training stress will make the run more difficult.

  • Secondly, a more active and shorter recovery. Typically threshold intervals should be separated by 90s – 3min of active recovery, depending on your current level of conditioning to the training. If you find you need more recovery, you will likely be exceeding your AT pace. As you train more regularly at your AT, you will find your time to recover and feel comfortable again will reduce. So initially take less time (e.g. from 3min to 2min to 90s) then try to make the recovery more active (e.g. from a walk to a light jog, to a steady jog).
  • Lastly, increase the time period you spend at your AT. If you can aim to get up to 25-30min of running at your AT, you will see a nice improvement in your AT pace when you re-test.

We trust you now have a greater understanding as to what the AT is and how you can use this knowledge to improve your running. If you wish to know more about this topic, or anything to do with your running training, please get in touch with our expert coaching team who are ready to assist you towards your next running goal! Please email or see our website.

Running Regards,

Front Runner Coaching Team

 

 

 

 

BLOGTIME: Mental Toughness

As the winter months approach, many runners set their goals and targets for the upcoming season of fun runs. A target race or event can provide a fantastic end point for a training process and can fill the runner with initial motivation. Where many runners (from beginners building up to their first fun run, right through to elite runners looking to run their best time) will often come undone, is the patch of training that occurs after this initial motivation. The buzz and excitement of entering the event has passed and the event itself is too far away to get excited about. So how can you encourage consistency in your training to ensure you give yourself the best chance of achieving your goal on race day?

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One term that is commonly associated with successful people, whether in running or otherwise, is mental toughness. What is mental toughness and how can you apply this to your own training to maximize your own success in running?

A common definition of mental toughness reads “A personal capacity to deliver high performance on a regular basis, despite varying degrees of situational demands”. Now I’m sure everyone can relate to this, where they have had the initial motivation to perform a task when the thought arises in their head, before certain circumstances (weather, work, traffic, sickness etc.) limit their capacity to perform the task as they want to and therefore don’t attempt the task at all. Now obviously some circumstances are beyond our control and part of being mentally tough is accepting that. However, what we must learn from this definition is that if we want to be mentally tough, we must focus on our behavior and not our thoughts.

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I recently attended a talk from a well renowned sports psychologist from UWA who discussed this very idea of focusing on mentally tough behaviors. His summary was that if an athlete is frequently delivering high personal performance, then it is as much a reflection on their behavior as it is on their skills. Therefore, his advice to athletes who are seeking their own levels of high performance was to make sure you behave in a mentally tough way and to not just think in that way. Backing up day to day and week to week, regardless of the circumstances is the key to demonstrating mentally tough behaviors and will be the cornerstone to your success in your own goals for your running.

On a closing note, how do you know if you’re being mentally tough… quite simply someone will tell you! To quote to famous AFL Coach John Kennedy… don’t think, DO!

 

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Happy running,

 

 

Ben Green

B.Sc (Hons)

Level 3 Coach IAAF

Coaching Manager

Front Runner Sports

 

Blog: 5 Marathon Tips by Rafael Baugh

 

Running a Marathon in 2015?
Head Coach Rafael Baugh shares his Top 5 Marathon Tips…

  1. Don’t run a marathon, be a marathoner: at school, you aren’t ready to sit your tertiary entrance when you are in first grade. Similarly, your best marathon is years of work and learning away. Take a long term approach to your running to maximise your potential. By focussing on ongoing self improvement and taking a long term approach to performance optimisation, you will gain the most from the “perfect challenge” that is marathon running.
  2. Mileage is VERY important: we live in an age where many want quick results, often while wanting to do less work. The marathon is the anti-thesis to this line of thinking. Increasing your training volume gradually over time is pivotal to improving your performances in the Marathon.
    The distances help teach the body to use fat as a fuel more efficiently, thus preserving glycogen (carbohydrate) for longer in well trained marathoners. It also helps lean up the athlete, builds strength in the lower limbs and perhaps most importantly adding easy/steady volume is much lower risk than adding more intensity or speed sessions.
  3. Strength is important: appropriate running drills and functional strengthening can provide significant gains and reduce injury risk for marathoners. The correct exercises can enhance the runners neuromuscular system and improve running economy through enhanced use of elastic energy at the musculo-tendinuous junction. It can also improve strength and injury resistance with consistent and ongoing application.
  4. Race Specific Training: we are in one of the biggest periods of improvement in the history of marathon running. One of the biggest changes implemented by the likes of Italian Marathon coach, Renato Canova (coach of world record holder, Wilson Kipsang and multiple world Champion Abel Kirui) is the addition of a final specific phase of preparation. This includes specific progressive or paced runs at close to race distance and speed. These specific sessions closely replicate the demands of the race and galvanise the physical, mental and emotional preparation of the marathon runner. Over repeated testing before events, these sessions also provide an extremely accurate guide to the athletes condition and make goal setting and pacing strategies much more accurate.
  5. Have a coach: probably the most poorly understood aspects of running training is load. A balanced training load that applies progressive overload with corresponding recovery will result in consistent and ongoing gains. Furthermore, it will play a significant role in preventing overuse injures which are so common in running populations. Essentially, the coach should be a logical guide and mentor for the athlete whom often attach emotionally to ideals or principles which should be sense checked for appropriateness.

Running regards,

Rafael Baugh
Managing Director – Front Runner Sports Training.

8 factors to consider when picking your next Marathon…….

Your training has been perfect, over many months you have built your fitness to your best level ever and you are excited to chase a PB and travel to one of the worlds great marathons. You jump on a plane Wednesday before the race, travel 24 hr though two flight changes, arriving in Europe ready to beat your best that weekend. A few days of new food, mild jetlag and some sightseeing later and race day is here. On race day you start well but towards the latter stages you feel a little off your best and you finish steady but in a time is a few minutes off from your best and little away from your goals…..

Sound familiar?

Having coached many marathon runners towards their target races over the past 7 years, this has become a clear and consistent pattern for runners travelling to big European and American races. Strong performances are the norm but rarely are they great races. By tracking these patterns we start to be able to identify the cause of these trends and help our athletes better choose the appropriate racing location and timing to achieve their goals. We also start to be able to develop better preparation strategies, both physical and mental, to increase the likelihood of goal attainment in the case of races in Europe and America.

When choosing your next marathon, it is really important to carefully consider your goals for the event. Are you chasing a finish, a PB time or an experience? While running a major Marathon such as Boston, Paris, Dubai, Berlin might look exciting on paper these races bring into play a number of external variables likely to impact performance that need to be factored into preparation and goal setting for these events. Similarly, some environments, such as racing Japan, offer significant performance upsides to domestic or local races for a number of reasons

What factors should you consider before next race:

  • Your personal goals-is it be run a PB
  • Logistics
  • Time Zone
  • Travel Time
  • Dietary Change
  • Field Depth
  • Climate
  • Cultural Changes

 

Kids Running – How should we train our kids to run?

Running is a fundamental, locomotor skill and its development is crucial to be able to participate in many sports and activities.  Many parents worry their children exhibit undeveloped running styles compared to their peers and fear this may hinder their ability to compete and engage in sporting activities.  Extensive research into running tells us that children respond differently to adults when exposed to running training and that more emphasis on good running fundamentals and technique may be the key to developing good runners.

Trackstars

Think back to when your football coach made you run laps as a young kid with the aim of making you fitter for the upcoming season. Although the intentions were good, the process may require a little rejigging. It is widely accepted in running literature that children do not respond the same way adults do to running training on a physiological level. A simple example of this is if you take an inexperienced child and an inexperienced adult runner and make them run 2-3 times a week for say a month. The improvements seen in the adult in terms of running performance will far outweigh that of the child.  This can largely be put down to physiology i.e. the child’s energy, cardiorespitatory and musculoskeletal systems are not developed to the level of adults and therefore wont be able to take full advantage of the training. So how else can be train running performance in kids?

The answer lies in technique! If you want your child to be able to swim then you would send them to swim classes were they would experience a mix of swimming technique drills, swimming laps and of some fun and games. So why is running so different? Why would the same approach not apply to learning to run? The answer is that it should. In 2014 I was apart of a research study which looked to identify if known “good” running biomechanics variables in adults were comparable in children and if good running biomechanics in kids meant better running performance in kids. The answer was an overwhelming yes! The top performing prepubescent runners (6-12years of age) exhibited the best running biomechanical variables of the cohort.Trackstars 2

I’m not suggesting that purely running technique or biomechanics will allow you to become a good runner but they certainly form a much larger piece of the pie then most of us would think. So to allow your child to have the best chance at becoming the best runner they can the key is a mix between running for fitness, technique fundamentals and of course fun and enjoyment! The right balance of all of these components helps form the basis of our trackstars development programs aimed at giving kids of different running backgrounds the ability to achieve the most out of their running. The key is also to start young. As anyone who has only started running technique drills in their adult life can attest to (myself included here), the saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks does hold some truth!

 

Jarrad Turner
Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
Front Runner Sports

To contact Jarrad please email rehab@frontrunnersports.com.au

OR for bookings call TRC 9324 2707

BLOG: Fear of the First Time

fear-quotes-2Fear can be a crippling emotion, and can quite often hold people back from attempting things in daily life, and more often than not, for no reason. I’m thinking in particular to a few “Fearful Firsts” as I began my running journey. Fear and self doubt come hand in hand, and one normally fuels the other.

I recall going to my very first fun run, back in February 2011, the WAMC Point Walter 5km or 16km. A friend of mind asked me to come along with her, as she had told me how friendly all the runners were, and how much fun the fun runs are.  At this stage, I had only run 5km or so a couple of times, so attempting 16km, in a fun run, with loads of people who look like super fit runners was a bit daunting.  We arrived at 6:30am in the morning, which was so early, I could not believe how many people were actually up at this time of day on a Sunday morning!  As we drove up, my stomach started turning as the fear kicked in.   I really did feel sick and I wonder if I wasn’t with my friend, I may have turned around and driven home.   On the start line, I positioned myself nicely at the back, where I could just blend in.  I clearly remember thinking, what on earth am I doing, how on earth will I run 16km!  I’ve always liked a challenge, and I sure did finish the 16km in 1:44, approx. 6:30/km.  I’ll never forget running over the finishing line, and someone yelling at me “Well done, great run!”  I felt like I was King of the World.

A few months later, joining in on a Sunday morning fun run becomes “normal” for me….gee my friend was right, what a friendly (slightly mad) bunch runners are. Running on my own, doing my own training also becomes quite normal for me.  I am “blessed” with a competitive nature, with a strong desire to improve and always get the best out of myself.   In  2012, I now find myself in a situation where I am driving to my first Front Runner group training session….

FEAR has just kicked in on my way to my first group training session.  Once again, my stomach starts flipping, when I drive up I see all these super fit looking runners.   The thoughts are flying around…”I really don’t belong here” etc etc.  By the end of the session, surprise surprise, I felt great.  I came, I ran and there was absolutely no need to be worried….these people are all very kind, friendly and genuinely interested in making sure I get the best out of myself, no matter what level of runner I am.

Group training sessions generate an electric energy that is impossible to duplicate on your own.  Having other people to run with, is invaluable.  It doesn’t matter if you are a walk/runner, or an elite runner, there is always someone to work with, to push you to make sure you are getting the best out of yourself.  All it takes is commitment and perseverance, together with the will and desire to continue and work through the tough times, as well as the good.

With the group training sessions, my running improves nicely.  During summer, I join the Front Runner group for the first time…at the TRACK!   Driving to the track, I feel the same FEAR and nerves the same as my first fun run and my first group training session. Driving up, I see real athletes on the track…OMG they have bodies of pure muscle!  I am not going in there!  Sure enough, my first track session was loads of fun, and again I walk away feeling awesome, with absolutely nothing to be worried about in the first place.

If you have been thinking of joining our Front Runner group training sessions, go out on a limb, put the fear aside and come along and have some fun.  Push the excuses aside, and remember we will get the best out of you by making sure each runner of any level, improves individually and sees a gradual gain in their fitness levels over a period of time.

Just know, that any feelings of fear or doubt are experienced by many people at their first training session.  We know what it is like, so come along and kick some PB’s!  We provide the structure; you provide the commitment…simple.

See you out there soon;   You’ll see me cheering loudly, especially for the first timers…. 😉

Andrea Bell
Level 2 Coach AA
Front Runner Coaching Team

BLOG TIME – Our Local Jogger Part 2: Knee Collapse

The knee is the most commonly injured area of the body for runners. This is surprising given its actual workload in normal, healthy runners. Ben often quotes his 50-18-32% split for the muscles working around the ankle, knee and hip joints respectively, so why is the knee always a point of injury if it does so little work?

The knee is built to be a flexible transfer joint. It transfers forces up and down the chain and allows functional limb shortening/lengthening for swing and stance phases of running gait. When either the ankle or hip have problems holding up their specific requirements, excess force is transferred to the piggy in the middle… the knee.

Rotational forces are a large contributor to disruption at the knee joint – either lack of hip external rotator strength (yes glutes, glutes, GLUTES!) or over-pronation in the foot both lead to internal rotation moments at the knee.

However collapsing down into knee flexion adds a large amount of load to the patello-femoral joint (behind the knee cap) and leads to the most common injury of all: “Runner’s knee.”

45 degree KF in MSt 55 degree KF MSt

The above runner is collapsing down into 55o knee flexion in the image on the right but only 45o on the left (better!). The more you collapse down into the leg, the more you are compressing the “spring” of the lower biomechanical chain. As the knee is a key component in transferring energy/load up and down that chain it experiences greater loading (just like going lower for a walking lunges strength exercise).

Patella forces diagram

From our Technique Course participants we have found the below averages for knee flexion in mid stace… aka “Knee collapse”.

  Jogging speed (5/10 pace) Sprinting speed (8 / 10 pace)
Peak knee flexion in Mid Stance 45.7o 43.1o

A meta analysis of the literature of the time (1997), performed by Tom Novacheck revealed an average knee flexion angle in midstance of 45 degrees for people “jogging” and this angle became less when participants ran at higher speeds, as ground contact time reduced. Our data mirrors that literature review quite closely.

The peak knee flexion angle can be a very good predictor of Runner’s knee. The Quadriceps muscle pulls the patella upwards and the patella tendon keeps if firmly tethered below, as you fall into more knee flexion the resultant force vector applied to the patella is retrograde (pulling the patella firm into its joint). The mild extra pressure leads to tissue breakdown and injury after multiple steps, kilometres, runs… a true overuse injury.

From a performance perspective the “spring” analogy of the lower leg is an appropriate one. A stiffer spring will give back a greater percentage of the energy that is stored in it when released. A stiffer lower leg through the “musculo-tendinous” (muscles and tendons, NOT bone) units will allow for a better running economy. Also, with less knee-bend comes less vertical change in the centre of mass. Less up and down motion means less energy is needed to work against gravity and more can be utilised to move FORWARDS, the most useful direction when running.

A Finnish study by Leskinen et al. in 2009 demonstrated that elite 1500m runners exhibited less peak knee flexion than national-level athletes when running at very similar speeds in a race (2min, 33sec kilometre pace compared to 2min, 36 sec pace). The elite runners are better at storing the energy in their patella tendons, just as with the Achilles, during stance and unleashing it in the propulsive phase of push off. The stiffer spring/less knee collapse allows for better elastic energy storage and thus performance.

In long distance running we all end up at a point where we feel as if we are running down INTO the ground, instead of flowing over it. It is at this point we are becoming inefficient and putting extra load through our connective tissue, especially the knee joint. Gluteal, quad and calf strengthening (all the extensor muscles) are needed to prepare the body to run longer and stronger than it currently can.

Knee injuries are one of the most common. If you are excessively collapsing down into the hinge joint in the middle of your kinetic chain seek help. The causative factor may not be in that exact area though.

 

If you have an issue in your knee tissue… trust the experts.

 

Running Regards,

Marc See (B.Sc Physiotherapy)