The Best Time to Run: Morning Versus Evening

The 10th edition of Asia’s largest night run, OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017 will return next month on 25 March 2017.

The Sundown Marathon concept was inspired by a common training routine:

“Why don’t we race at night since we train at night?”

The fundamental ethos of challenging you to sacrifice sleep, run through the night and beat the sunrise, is a refreshing concept since majority of races are held early in the morning. Novelty aside, have you also wondered when is the best time to run?

Morning

Despite the fact that most races are held early in the morning, you may be surprised to hear that the peak time for running is not at this time.

Your bodily functions are at their worst with low body temperature making your muscles stiff and vulnerable to injuries. Also, you are likely to be running with poor lung function and depleted energy stores, considering that you have not had any substantial food intake the whole night.

However, most scientists agree that this is the best time of the day to boost muscle.

Dr. Stephen Bird, from the School of Human Movement Studies in Australia, said,

“There’s a strong argument for doing weight training in the morning if you are interested in building muscle. This is because testosterone, the hormone most responsible for muscle-boosting, is at its highest around this time.”

If you are interested in a morning session, you might want to make it an anaerobic session with the aim of building up your calf and quad muscles.

Evening

Your body temperature is at its highest at this time. Therefore, your muscles are supple and you are less likely to get injured.

With better lung function and higher metabolism, the same level of exertion feels easier than in the morning. You can often run longer or faster in the evening with the same effort.

However, it can also be difficult to find the motivation to run after a long day of work. Your body may be ready to run but not your mind. It is common for people to procrastinate and come up with excuses to convince yourself to run another time instead.

When Is the Best Time to Run?

Scientifically, the best time to run will be later in the day or in the evening when your body temperature is higher. However, scheduling a run early in the morning ahead of your busy schedule makes it less likely for you to procrastinate.

Nevertheless, some is better than none, and more is better than some. Aim for 150 minutes of physical activity every week if you are just starting out.

This post has been written by Goh Yun Jie.

The Five Most Common Running Injuries (And How to Treat Them!)

According to a report by the Sports Council, jogging is the most popular sport in Singapore. With this in mind, and the fact that the 2015 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon is fast approaching, we’ve compiled a list of the most common running injuries. So whether you’re a regular runner or a running rookie, this article should boost your chances of staying injury free throughout your training.

  

5 most common running injuries

  

1 - Runner’s knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), also known as “runner’s knee”, is the irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap. Symptoms include an aching pain in the knee joint, particularly at the front of the knee around and under the kneecap. There is often tenderness along the inside border of the kneecap with swelling sometimes occurring after exercise. Knee pain accounts for 40% of all running injuries.

Runner’s knee typically flares up as running intensity increases, during or after long runs. It may also be worse after extended periods of sitting, or while descending hills and stairs.

Anyone with biomechanical factors that put extra load on the knee is vulnerable to runner’s knee, with risk factors including over pronation of the foot (foot rolls inward excessively) and weak muscles around the hip and knee. This reduced muscle strength can result in incorrect tracking of the kneecap over the femur bone resulting in damage or irritation of the underlying cartilage. External factors such as running surface and improper footwear can also contribute to the problem.

Treatment and rehabilitation is based around reducing pain, identifying the causes and strengthening or re-training muscles which may have contributed to the injury.

  

2 - Plantar Fasciitis

As we discussed in one of our previous blogs, plantar fasciitis refers to an inflammation in the plantar fascia, which causes pain under your heel and often radiates into the arch of your foot. This painful sensation can range from annoying to excruciating and can account for up to 15% of all running injuries.

It usually has a gradual onset of pain, with tenderness felt under and on the inside of the heel. Pain is usually worse on your first few steps in the morning but eases as the foot warms up. Pain then tends to return later in the day or after exercise.

Runners with very high or very low arches are usually more vulnerable. Other runners at risk would be those with extreme pronation or supination (foot rolls outward excessively), those wearing improper footwear and those who increase their running distance too quickly.

Recovery time can range from three months to a year, but six months is more likely the norm.

  

3 - Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury causing pain, inflammation and/or degeneration of the achilles tendon - the thick band of tissue that attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. It makes up about 10% of all running injuries.

Symptoms can be either acute or chronic. An acute case may develop over a few days, is usually more painful and can limit activity. Chronic injuries will come on gradually over a few weeks, not necessarily preventing activity.

The achilles tendon may be painful and stiff at the start of run and first thing in the morning. As the tendon warms up the pain will go away, only for it to return later in the day or towards the end of a long run.

An increase in activity, either running distance, running speed or a sudden change to running up hills can all contribute to this condition. Tight and/or weak calf muscles or over pronation of the foot can be risk factors, as these put increased strain on the achilles tendon.

If you deal with an acute case properly, a few days rest with the correct treatment might be sufficient healing time. If you keep running as usual, you could develop a chronic case that is a difficult condition to treat and may take more than six months to go away.

  

4 - Iliotibial band syndrome

Your iliotibial band (ITB) is a thick band of fascia that runs from muscles at your hip joint and connects to the outside of your knee. When you run, your knee flexes and extends, which causes the ITB to rub on bony points on the hip and knee. ITB syndrome results in pain usually on the outside of the knee or sometimes the outside of the hip, which is caused by friction of the ITB on these bony points causing inflammation. ITB syndrome can be responsible for up to 12% of all running injuries.

ITB syndrome has a gradual onset. It comes on at a certain time into a run and progressively worsens until often the runner has to stop. After some rest the pain may go, only to return when you begin running again. Running, particularly downhill running, normally aggravates the pain. Pain may also be felt when flexing and extending the knee, which may be made worse by pressing the tender bony point on the outside of the knee.

It may develop in runners who suddenly increase their running distance. A naturally tight ITB may make someone more susceptible to this injury, while weak hip muscles are also thought to be a significant factor. Other risk factors include a leg length difference, runners who over pronate, and poor foot biomechanics.

  

5 - Shin splints

Shin splints is the common name often given to pain over the inside lower part of the tibia or shin bone. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, it is as a result of forces from the muscles of the lower leg pulling on the tissue surrounding the bone resulting in inflammation and pain. This makes up about 15% of running injuries.

There is usually pain at the start of exercise which often eases as the session continues, only to worsen later in the training session or afterwards. Symptoms are often worse the next morning.

Shin splints are common among new runners and those returning after an extended layoff. They're a sign that you've done too much, too quickly.

Biomechanical factors, such high or low arches, over pronation and over supination of the feet can increase the stress on the soft tissues of the lower leg, resulting in pain and inflammation. Other risk factors include running in improper footwear, running on hard surfaces and a lack of lower limb muscle flexibility.

Left untreated, the muscles will continue to pull, causing further stress to the shin bone. This may cause a crack to form in the bone, resulting in what is known as a stress fracture. The pain will progress to the point where it is noticed more during the run, and will result in a longer time away from running. It's possible to prevent a stress fracture by responding to the developing problem: stop running and see a physiotherapist.

  

Jogging

  

Top tips to reduce the risk of injuries

  

Wear correct/proper footwear

Many runners get excited about starting a training program however they make the mistake of grabbing their favourite pair of old sports shoes and then wonder why they get foot or knee pain two weeks into their program. Its recommended that you replace your running shoes every 500 miles (that’s every 800 kilometers), if not sooner! You should make sure you get a good pair of running shoes BEFORE you start your training program.

Picking the right shoe is key to ensuring comfort, performance, and remaining injury free when you run. So it’s probably worth dropping into a specialty running shoe store, where the staff can help you figure out which shoe is right for you. Things to consider when buying a new pair of running shoes include the type of running, the terrain type, what sort of support your foot needs, the heel to toe drop of the shoe, any current injuries and of course the fit and feel of the shoe. Unfortunately for your bank balance, you usually do get what you pay for when it comes to running shoes.

We have previously written a blog article as a guide to buying a running shoe - to read it, click here.

  

Warm up and cool down

Always take time to warm up and stretch, as cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm up with very light jogging for 5 minutes. Research has shown that dynamic stretching is more beneficial before exercise. Then slowly go through some dynamic stretching for 5 minutes. Post exercise stretching can help to reduce muscle soreness and to keep muscles long and flexible. Be sure to stretch after each training practice to reduce your risk of injury. Research has shown that static stretching, holding each stretch for 30 seconds and repeating 2- 3 times, is most beneficial after exercise. Cool down and static stretching should last about 10 minutes.

  

Increase Slowly

Many people get so excited by training that they go from 3 months on the sofa to attempting a marathon in 4 weeks – this is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you increase your running times by small amounts only - a 5 -10% increase in either distance or time each week is plenty, and it can help you to stay pain free. One of the biggest predictors of injury in runners is rapidly increasing training volume – the more training you do, the greater the risk. Also, you don’t give time for your body to adapt to all the training you do. Don’t be a fool, stick to the 10% rule!

  

Biomechanical running analysis

Running injuries are often produced or exacerbated due to poor technique, poor biomechanics or the weakness of specific key muscle groups, amongst other things.

At PhysioActive we offer a professional running assessment service where runners of any skill level can come and get their running style analysed. Our running analysis consultation is a biomechanical video assessment of your running, combined with specific musculoskeletal screening tests to assess: running technique, biomechanics and gait pattern when running, shoe wear pattern and key muscle group strength. After evaluating the results we will provide you with the following service: Advice on proper running technique, footwear, an exercise program optimal to you, a DVD recording of you running and a written report. Benefits of this service include: improved running performance, prevention of injuries, optimization of physical condition and optimal training load for your individual goals.

  

Come get a check-up

One of the biggest predictors for injury is past injury history. A previous injury may have left some scar tissue, reduced range or led to muscle weakness that will greatly increase the risk of injury when you resume training.

At PhysioActive we do more than just treat your sports injury. During the assessment and treatment we do not only focus on the cause of the injury, but also on the sport specific physical demands, skills and movement patterns that are needed for your sport. Our sports physiotherapists incorporate manual therapy, electrotherapy (including ultrasound and shockwave therapy), sports taping and exercise therapy using our cardio, weight machine and free weights in our multi-modal approach to treatment.

To be able to safely and fully return to sports it is essential to regain optimal strength, mobility, stability and coordination. Physiotherapy will help you to achieve these goals and to speed up your recovery.

  

Suffered an injury?

Please get in touch with us today and book a physiotherapy session with a member of our team.

  

Thanks for reading!

This post has been written by physiotherapist Liam Mc Ginley.

New year, new resolutions, new aches and pains?

January – the month of renewed dedication to creating that beach body. Or maybe more realistically, the month dedicated to working off the excess of December.

Whether you’ve launched yourself into an active lifestyle for the first time ever or just upped the intensity of your regular training, hopefully you finish your workout feeling justifiably smug at your achievements. That is until you wake up the next morning, barely able to hobble to the bathroom and regretting every one of those squats from the day before.

Enter delayed onset muscle soreness - or DOMS for short - that post workout muscle soreness that makes the average flight of stairs look like your own personal Everest.

But what is DOMS?

The exact mechanism that causes DOMS isn’t well understood; however, it appears to be the result of micro-trauma in the muscle and connective tissue causing inflammation. And while any exercise can induce DOMS, exercise with greater emphasis on the eccentric phase (the lengthening movement – think of lowering the dumbbell during a bicep curl) plays a significant role.

So is DOMS bad for you?

Put simply, no. Painful, limiting and often embarrassing while you waddle like a duck, but not harmful. However, DOMS can reduce muscle efficiency and reduce your range of motion so it is important to remember that your overall effectiveness will be reduced in subsequent workouts/sporting sessions. Due to the increased injury risk this can pose, it's important to allow your body to rest and recover.

Tips for dealing with DOMS:

Final Words:

Don’t be scared by DOMS and don’t use it as a reason to stay away from the gym. However, if you have any concerns – or your pain has lasted longer than 7 days – consult a friendly physiotherapist for advice and reassurance.

Problems with hamstring injuries?

Please get in touch with us today and book a physiotherapy session with Joel and the team.


Thanks for reading!

This post has been written by PhysioActive physiotherapist Lisa Gold.

Thoughts or questions?

Leave a comment below, say hello on Twitter (@physioactivesg) or visit us on Facebook (Facebook.com/physioactivesg).

Running Shoe Buying Guide

Picking the right shoe is key to ensuring comfort, performance, and remaining injury free when you run. However, in today’s society where we are faced with rows upon rows of shoes displaying the latest technology, colours, special features and new fads, this can be an overwhelming task.Running Shoes

There’s no single 'best shoe' as everyone has different needs that must be met. Your biomechanics, weight, the surfaces you run on, and the shape of your feet means that one person's ideal shoe can be terrible for another. It is not uncommon for people to have several types of running shoe to suit all of their adventurous needs. In general, a pair of running shoes should last between 400 to 500 miles of running. Take a look at your shoes and check if the midsoles and outsoles are compressed or worn down- If they are, it may be time for a new pair.

There are several different categories of shoe available today, so to clear this up below is a round up of the different types you will see on those shelves.


Types Of Running Shoe

Motion-Control Shoes

They are good for over pronators, those with flat arches and are also a good choice for heavier runners. This category is the most supportive and controlling, and is designed to slow down excessive pronation. They tend to have a harder midsole on the inside of the shoe and a tough rubber outsole material. Due to this extra or denser material on the sole, they are generally heavier and slightly less flexible.

Stability Shoes

Stability shoes usually have reasonable cushioning with some midsole features (for example dual-density midsoles) to improve stability. They are often made with a semi-curved shape and suit most runners, especially neutral pronators. They are suitable for average builds and runners with normal arches.

Cushioned Shoes

Cushioned shoes are ideal for supinators, who wear the outside of their shoes, and for runners with high arches. These have a softer midsole and less support to encourage some pronation.

Racing/Minimalist Shoes

Minimalist ShoesThese shoes tend to be light, flexible, have little motion-control, stability or cushioning. The heel to toe drop tends to be smaller than the shoes above (<6mm) and they will wear quickly due to light thin rubber sole and thin midsole. They suit the lighter or more efficient runners who looking to do get a good run time. There is a risk of injury if you transition to these shoes too quickly.

Off-Road or Trail Shoes

These are very durable and have deep grooves in the soles to enhance grip. They tend to be a little heavy due to the soles and are ideal for off road running/ rocky trails.


How Do I Choose My Running Shoe?

So now you know what the different type of shoes are out there, you need to ask yourself some key questions before you hit the shops to make your choice as pain free, easy and accurate as you can:

1. What type of running will I be doing? E.g. Leisure, racing, triathlons, trails?

The type of running is important to determine the type of shoe to look at, as the shoes will provide different soles, weight, and support. For example, an everyday running shoe tends to have more support and a slightly thicker sole, compared to a racing shoe which tends to be lighter, and have a thinner sole, verses a trail shoe which tends to have larger treads and better grip.

2. What type of terrain will I be running on? E.g. Roads, trails, rocky terrain?

Again this will help determine the type of shoe necessary to ensure the support and soles are adequate for your needs. Trying to run on hard, rocky trails in racing shoes will cause damage and wear not only to your shoes, but to your body too, so adequate shoes are important for injury prevention.

3. What type of foot support do I need? E.g. Neutral, over pronation or supination?

Foot SupportShoe Wear Patterns

This depends upon your foot type and biomechanics, which can be determined by your podiatrist, physiotherapist or sports doctor. If you have an old, worn pair of running shoes, check the bottom of them to see the patterns of wear, as this can often provide a clue into your foot mechanics.

Some people need extra support if they have distinct biomechanical abnormalities with their foot type to reduce the risk of injury, or for extra protection when returning to sport from an injury. You need to determine whether you have a neutral, high or low arch, a wide or narrow forefoot or any additional support or protection your foot needs.

4. What is the heel to toe drop?

The drop of a shoe represents the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the toe. This is one element that can affect how your foot strikes the ground when you land and also load the tissue around the foot and ankle to different degrees. A low or medium heel-to-toe drop (zero to 8mm) promotes a forefoot or mid-foot strike and tends to increase the loading on the calf, achilles and plantar fascia, while a higher drop shoe (10–12mm) can promote more of a heel striking pattern.

Heel To Toe Drop

One thing to note is the heel drop size and degree of cushioning are independent of each other. It is possible to find ultra-cushioned shoes that still have a zero or low heel-to-toe drop, for example.

5. Do I currently or have I previously had a significant injury, if so was this through running?

It is essential to determine the cause of your initial injury (technique/ overuse/ poor foot wear etc.) and to correct this first with the help of your physiotherapist. Within the first 6 weeks of your injury, it is unwise to change footwear to run in, unless this was the cause of your injury. Secondly, if you have been experiencing foot/ ankle/ achilles or calf issues, it is recommended that you use more supportive shoes and refrain from using minimalist shoes until you have recovered.

6. Do the shoes fit and feel comfortable?

• Firstly, you need to be trying the shoes on in the same socks you will be wearing during your runs to ensure an accurate fit.

• Take the shoes for a test drive- get on a treadmill if there is one in the shop and try them out. Alternatively try jogging up and down the hall way to ensure they feel comfortable.

• The best time to shop for shoes is in the latter half of the day, when your feet tend to be at their biggest.

• Check for adequate room at the toe box by pressing your thumb into the shoe just above your longest toe. Your thumb should fit between the end of your toe and the top of the shoe.

• Check for adequate room at the widest part of your foot. The shoe shouldn't be tight, but your foot shouldn't slide around either and the outer part of the foot should not be hanging over the edge of the sole. The heel of your foot should fit snugly against the back of the shoe without sliding up or down as you walk or run.

• The upper (part of shoe that wraps around and over the top of the foot) should fit snugly and securely without irritating or pressing too tightly on any area of the foot.

• Lastly, they feel comfortable!

Now that you have taken the time to kit out your feet appropriately, it’s important to know how well you actually run in them. More often than not, we find in the clinic that it is the way that people run in their shoes and their running technique they adopt that has one of the biggest impacts on how they land and injury risk.

If you feel that your running technique may be at fault, get in touch to book a Biomechanical Video Running Analysis with our in-house running specialist at the clinic.

Enjoy your run!


Thanks for reading!

This post has been written by PhysioActive physiotherapist Jenny Johnson B.Sc (Hons) - Physiotherapist, Sports Therapist, Pilates Instructor, Dry Needling

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