Running Advice

Running Advice, Injury Prevention

Expertise and training plans

At The Running Company, we love to share the lessons we have learned running, from runners we have met and supported, and garnered from trusted healthcare professionals. Our Athlete’s Lounge is where we share our expertise and answer your questions.

What is Digital Gait Analysis?

Gait analysis is the study of your foot, ankle and lower limb motion during running and jogging. The process evaluates the foot’s anatomical structure, and its related degree of pronation. Pronation is a positive aspect; it’s the bodies natural mechanism to cushion itself. But it’s the degree to which you pronate that is the concern, particularly as one foot can pronate greater than the other, so we need to try to achieve a sense of balance.

The Running Company offers digital gait analysis, during which we film you running barefoot on a treadmill and study your movement. In digital gait analysis, a customer is filmed from behind and the recording is then played back frame-by-frame to identify specific movements not visible to the human eye in real time. We then use the analysis to assess your degree of pronation and foot fall to help find the perfect blend of comfort, support, weight and durability in your next pair of shoes to prevent injury and ensure that footwear isn’t a contributing factor to any issues you may have.

During the process, our fully trained employees also typically examine patterns of wear on customers’ old running shoes. For example, a worn heel can suggest a heel strike, in which the heel of the foot strikes first instead of allowing a larger surface of the foot to absorb the shock. Runners who land hard can develop stress fractures more easily.

Not near a store? Try Concierge, our premium level online gait analysis service

How Much Will the Digital Gait Analysis Cost?

The Digital Gait Analysis offered by The Running Company is completely free in-store and online, and is just a part of the process we go through to ensure that when you’re purchasing a new pair of shoes, we do all we can to minimise injury through recommending the right shoe.

How Long Will the Digital Gait Analysis Take?

A Digital Gait Analysis appointment typically takes 30 minutes in-store. It can be more or less depending on the person, but please allow at least half an hour for a consultation.

If you are using Concierge, our online gait analysis service, simply complete our quick and easy questionnaire here, and we’ll get the process started straight away.

How Do I Book a Digital Gait Analysis Appointment?

Simply give your local The Running Company store a call and we will arrange it over the phone.

For Concierge, our premium level online gait analysis service, we can get started straight away.

Get Started

What is the Average Cost of a Pair of Running Shoes?

The average cost of a good pair of running shoes is $200, but it can be more or less depending on your specific requirements.

When Should I Typically Replace My Running Shoes?

It is recommended that you replace your running shoes every 800km depending on the type of running shoes, your running style, body weight, and the surface on which you run.

Running in old or worn out shoes can lead to an increase in running injuries. Over time running shoes lose stability and shock absorption capacity. When this happens the stress to the feet and legs increases dramatically.

Do I Need Any Other Running Specific Apparel?

When you first get started with running, you don’t need to rush out and buy fancy running clothing. But we do advise that you avoid wearing cotton when running because it holds your sweat and doesn’t dry quickly, which can lead to chafing. Synthetic fabrics, such as CoolMax or Dri-Fit, wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur. Although technical fabric running clothes may cost a little more, you will appreciate the comfort, especially during long runs. It’s also a smart idea to avoid wearing cotton socks. Wearing running socks that are a synthetic blend will help prevent blisters.

Women should make sure that they wear a good, supportive sports bra. The sports bra should fit you properly and not be too stretched out. Most sports bras need to be replaced when the elasticity is lost, or if your weight changes significantly.

What Type of Socks Should I Wear?

You can buy running socks in many different materials, thicknesses and sizes. When choosing a sock for running, the most important factor to consider is the material. You want to stay away from cotton socks. Once cotton gets wet, it stays wet. So, when your feet sweat, the moisture won’t get wicked away. Wearing cotton socks in the winter will make your feet feel cold and clammy and in summer, they will blister.

The best running socks are ones that are made from natural materials such as Merino wool or synthetic materials such as Dri-Fit and CoolMax because they will wick away moisture.

What Are the Benefits of Running Barefoot?

Barefoot running can be a useful training tool in your running armoury, and there are some very compelling arguments for going shoeless, or at least wearing the least amount of shoe possible.

You may develop a more natural gait and strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot. Removing the heel lift of most shoes helps the Achilles tendon and calf muscle stretch and lengthen and may reduce injuries, such as calf pulls or Achilles tendinitis caused by short, tight tissues.

Runners will learn to land on the forefoot rather then the heel. The heel strike during running only came about because of the excessive padding of running shoes, but research shows this isn’t the most effective or natural running stride. You may improve balance and proprioception. Without shoes, you activate the smaller intrinsic muscles in your feet, ankles, legs, and hips that are responsible for better balance and coordination.

You may feel more grounded. Being barefoot helps you improve balance, but it also helps you stay grounded and connected with your environment. You will learn to spread your toes and expand your foot while it becomes a more solid and connected base that supports all your movements.

But suddenly going barefoot or wearing a minimal shoe can be quite a shock to the system and require a slow adaptation phase. We are no longer hunter-gatherers and should allow time for our bodies to adapt to this style of running.

The Running Company stocks a complete range of shoes graded 0-10, with zero representing natural motion shoes and 10, a shoe which offers maximum support. Based on your Digital Gait Analysis, injury history, current running shoes and running goals, we will advise which running shoes you require.

Do I Need a GPS Running Watch?

For the most part running is a low-maintenance sport, and all you really need is a good pair of running shoes, but a GPS running watch can be an invaluable training tool.

For beginners, running watches can be helpful to keep track of how long you’re running and learning how to pace. More experienced runners like to use advanced features such as heart rate monitoring to help improve the quality of their training and their performance.

If you regularly train alone, GPS running watches can also be a great motivational tool. If you’re thinking about buying a watch, The Running Company can advise you on exactly which watch will suit your requirement, with entry-level watches starting at $200.

Why Use Endura Over Water or Generic Sports Drink?

The Running Company stocks Endura Sports Nutrition because it is formulated to replenish the muscle glycogen and electrolytes that are lost through sweat during times of exercise. The formula provides a ratio of electrolytes similar to those already found in healthy muscle cells. This includes a comparatively higher concentration of intracellular electrolytes (magnesium and potassium) than that of other sports drinks. The therapeutic levels of magnesium found in Endura Sports will also help to prevent muscle cramps. This is due to magnesium’s ability to regulate calcium.

Unlike a lot of other sports drinks, Endura Sports also has a comparatively lower glycemic load. This means it will have a lesser impact on insulin levels and not inhibit fat stores being used as an energy source.

If water alone is being consumed, electrolytes lost through sweat and energy production are not being replaced. This can cause significant cognitive and physical consequences such as affecting the body’s ability to regulate heat, reaching fatigue earlier, increasing heart rate and limiting oxygen delivery to the muscles. Also, there is no carbohydrates in water which will mean that glycogen, the muscles prime energy source, is not being replenished.

Why and How to Use Nutrition Gels?

Gels are an easy way of keeping glycogen levels up and are suitable for use before an event, but more commonly during as they are an extremely convenient way of maintaining blood glucose levels.

The Running Company stocks Endura Sports Energy Gels and Torq Sports Nutrition – both are a convenient energy source with a blend of immediate impact, sucrose-free carbohydrates combined with slow release complex carbohydrates.

For best results take one serve (35g sachet) 15 minutes before exercise then another serve every 30-60 minutes during exercise to prevent glycogen depletion and energy loss. For best absorption and to avoid gastric upset, each gel should be consumed with 250-300ml of water.

What Sort of Nutrition is Good for Recovery?

Following exercise, athletes need a combination of carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes to ensure adequate recovery.

Endura Optimizer contains carbs and protein in a 6:1 ratio as this is the most efficient way of replenishing glycogen stores, allowing the body to use the carbohydrates as a source of fuel, thus preserving muscle mass and preventing muscular catabolism.

Endura Optimizer uses a protein and carbohydrate rich formula that is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. It can be used as an energy-boosting meal before exercise, as a meal supplement during exercise (for events longer 2.5 hours), and also immediately after exercise for recovery. Endura Optimizer also has a complete range of vitamins and minerals, it is an exceptionally fast absorbing formula that requires very little blood in the gut to digest, and is extremely low in fibre which great advantage for obvious reasons.

Do Compression Garments Have Proven Benefits?

The Running Company stocks 2XU, whose compression garments have been extensively researched, designed and tested by world class athletes and several of the world’s foremost sporting bodies including the AIS, VIS and RMIT University. 2XU Compression garments are independently tested by leading physiologists at the AIS, who have now released scientifically proven results to indicate that wearing 2XU Compression garments improves athletic performance and recovery.

What Benefits Will I See From Wearing Compression Gear?

The Running Company stocks 2XU, whose compression garments have proven benefits in a wide range of activities.

DURING EXERCISE • Reduced muscle damage and injury via better muscle containment + stability • Heightened agility via increased proprioception + awareness • Improved Performance • Reduced muscle oscillation via reduced muscle fatigue in order to improve muscle endurance, strength and power • Better moisture management through high quality Lycra which wicks moisture from the skin • Temperature control via breathable fabric to keep you comfortable in both hot and cold conditions • UPF 50+ sun protection rating to guard you from harmful UV rays • Odour management via antibacterial, odour resistance fabric to keep you comfortable and confident when working out.

POST EXERCISE • Faster recovery from fatigue • Reduced swelling and muscle soreness • Improved ability to maintain performance levels after wearing compression garments for recovery between bouts of exercise • Improved circulation and more efficient flushing of lactate from the bloodstream.

OTHER • Less risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and jetlag when travelling due to heightened circulation.

Common Running Injuries?

Despite your best injury prevention efforts, you may find yourself dealing with some aches and pains. The below is by no means a definitive list, but common injuries we get asked about in-store. If you feel you have an injury, we can recommend a number of local practitioners who will be able to help you – click here for more information.

ACHILLES TENDINITIS

Symptoms Simple pain in the Achilles tendon on contraction, particularly if you tip-toe or run, although it may settle after a couple of kilometres. It is often stiff on first getting out of bed.

Warning Signs There may be little or no thickening of the tendon, which can be tender to touch. Many runners have uncorrected pronation which makes the tendon spiral slightly under running conditions and cause unequal stresses within it.

Treatment This should include a heel raise of Sorbothane or foam, ensuring that heel tabs do not impinge upon your tendon when your toes are pointed (cutting the heel tabs off will certainly help, too). Applying ice in the form of a pack or massage and very gentle stretching will prevent shortening of the tendon.

Your medical adviser should ensure that you have appropriate footwear, have pronation corrected, use ice, massage and possibly ultrasound most judiciously. Rarely, in the chronic case, you may need the tendon surgically decompressed.

Recovery Running through it is fraught with risk, though that does not stop many attempting it. Properly and promptly treated, a few days – left untreated, it may extend to years.

PERITENDINITIS

Symptoms The Achilles tendon is surrounded by a paratenon to help lessen friction with movement. You will notice swelling, thickening and tenderness in comparison with the other tendon, due to friction on the paratenon.

Warning Signs Your doctor may also be able to demonstrate crepitus, a crackling sensation in the tendon between finger and thumb as the ankle is moved.

Treatment Ice and gentle stretching should be the mainstay of your management after you have eliminated friction between tendon and shoe back.

This is one of only two conditions in which a steroid injection near the Achilles can produce dramatic relief. Provided your doctor inserts it into the paratenon and not the tendon, you can achieve a rapid resolution of symptoms and signs. However, if it is inserted into the tendon, there is a high risk of tendon rupture.

Recovery You should have a mandatory week’s rest after the injection, but if more conservative methods of treatment are used, training can be increased accordingly as the crepitus and swelling subside.

ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME (ITBS)

Symptoms This mouthful causes a pain on the outside of the knee when the lower end of a sheet of gristle running from the thigh rubs over the bony prominence on the side of the knee. It only hurts when the knee is moving through a particular angle, and it is more common when running downhill.

Warning Signs Pressing on the tender area and moving the knee should be enough to convince you, but your doctor will want to see your running action and to check whether you are bow-legged or supinate. If you have pain on one side only it may be because you always run on a camber or have legs of different lengths.

Treatment Ice it, ice it, then ice it some more. Also, check that you are not wearing old shoes, and try running on the other side of the road if the pain is one-sided. Lower your mileage.

If your footwear or gait is causing ITBS, you may need orthoses or build-ups to the outer side of your shoe. Exercises which stretch the band can help, while ultrasound or a cortisone injection should cure the problem. Although massage is often recommended, it sometimes makes the inflammation worse.

Recovery Improving your biomechanics can make a dramatic difference, and you could be running properly again after a week. Ignoring the pain will probably make it worse, unless you switch to better shoes or training terrain.

Find a Store Near You

If you would like to drop into The Running Company and benefit from our digital gait service firsthand then come visit one of our seven stores across Australia.

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