On Friday 14th September I was invited to the RUN Sportsshoes event in Brighton. Attendees included running novices, fitness experts and internet bloggers to name a few.
The day started with a dynamic flexibility session to help prepare us for the day ahead. The exercises were specific to running and warmed us up suitably. The instructor informed the group of the benefits of dynamic flexibility in the warm up phase as opposed to static stretches. When I attend running events I still see people stretching statically. What they are not realising is that they are potentially weakening the muscle before they have even started. Dynamic flexibility mimics the exercises that you are about to do in the main workout, whilst maintaining tension in the muscle and increasing range of movement.
We then took part in a strength and conditioning session, which helped to develop core stability and function specific to running. Some of the exercises were challenging, particularly considering the wide range of abilities in the group. The instructor was very good at correcting technique and coaching the group into the correct positions.
I felt that some of the exercises were fairly advanced for the novices in the group. As a Tutor for The Training Room I would encourage new Personal Trainers to always remember your progressions when dealing with new clients. Better to start on the first option and boost client’s morale as you progress quickly through the options.
The partnered planks were good fun. I felt that it might have been more beneficial to demonstrate and perfect a basic floor plank first before progressing it to holding your partners feet. This would ensure that everyone felt it in their core. If people are weak in their core/hips usually the pressure is taken into the lower back.
A team from Saucony were also present on the day to perform a biomechanical analysis of our running techniques. The experts conducting the gait analysis certainly knew their stuff!
They asked us to run on the treadmill for a few minutes and during this time they filmed our lower legs. They looked at the part of the foot on which we naturally landed and the alignment on the ankle joint.
After the analysis the team were able to decide the type of running shoe that would be most suitable for their style of running. We were all lucky enough to keep the trainers that we were fitted up in, and I have to say I’ve used mine for work a lot. They look great and give a really good performance.
I think gait analyses are definitely worthwhile. They help prevent injury and can unearth underlying existing injuries. I have worked with clients who have hip/knee/back problems and in some cases it can be their footwear which is the root cause. I would recommend a gait analysis to anyone who is active and runners in particular.
Once kitted out in our new trainers, we then took part in a group run. This was cleverly named the KIN run (Kin is a flying formation that birds adopt). The idea was to get us all out and running together regardless of ability.
We all kept together as a group and each runner took it in turns to lead the pack. Once you had a spell at the front you did a loop and then joined the back of the group. This meant that regardless of ability, we all got a spell at the front. Should someone fall really far behind or the group spread out too far, we would circle around (a tree was common on our run!) until everyone re-grouped. Established runners were able to accelerate to the front of the group quickly but were then pushed sufficiently as they looped round and joined the back runners.
It was a great team building activity and a fantastic idea for PTs looking to start up a mixed ability running class.
I can see this concept working well during bootcamp sessions where the range of ability of the participants is vast.
After the run we performed partnered stretching. The photos speak for themselves! The stretches were fun. It’s always important to remember that some people do not like the hands on approach. I think it’s important to ensure you are aware of this if you implement any close contact into your work with clients.
After lunch a local nutritional therapist delivered a talk based on the palaeolithic diet and the benefits this plan has for athletes and general public.
The information wasn’t new to me and is the approach and concept that I would use when dealing with my own clients. It was delivered really well and very easy to understand. Many of the group felt quite enlightened after the talk and I am sure felt inspired to make changes in their own food choices.
The day finished with a question and answer session with a panel of experts. They all told their story about why they got into running and what motivates them to push through their vigorous training regimes.
We all sat in silence and listened in awe of these amazing people. At the end of the session there was an opportunity to ask questions. Each of the runners offered their own insights into what to takes to be a runner. I think what we all took away with us was the realisation that just like in exercise; everyone has a different motivation to succeed in everything they want to achieve. As a PT it is down to us to help our clients realise what their motivations are and how we can best help them to achieve their goals.
Sportsshoes.com have kindly offered The Training Room students a 10% discount on products available on their website. Details of this discount will soon be listed on The Training Room’s Student Site.
Amy Betts - Tutor at The Training Room