Getting “Ultra” Ready

The Elk Valley Ultra 50km race takes place Saturday July 29, 2017, with runners competing solo or on a three-person team. By the time this comes out, those signed up should be deep in training with their bodies fairly prepared to maintain the distance. Here are some tips as race day approaches to prevent overuse injuries:

  1. Achilles tendonopathy:  Discomfort in the Achilles tendon is very common for distance runners. The first rule to rehabbing this injury is to listen to your body. Do not try to run through pain, instead stop and walk to avoid further aggravation. Rest is essential in your recovery so a few days off running is recommended. Cycling or swimming are good alternatives as you are healing. Ice following your run by submerging your effected Achilles in the river or ice bath for ten minutes. Be mindful of over stretching calves – minimal gentle stretching is recommended. Eccentric calf strengthening can help heal this type of injury quickly. Using a stair, raise your heel on your good leg, transfer to your affected side and slowly lower down until your ankle is as far down as possible then repeat 15x, do three sets twice daily. Try to keep your knee bent as you lower your ankle down in order to stretch your soleus (deep calf) muscle.
  2. Hip pain:  Because you lift your leg every time you run, hips are commonly a sore spot for distance runners. Stretching your hip flexors by staggering your legs, squeezing your glutes and lunging forwards for five slow breaths per side will help. Strengthening your glutes and abdominals using a knee side plank clamshell, 15x per side for three sets, twice daily will also help keep your body aligned. You can add a theraband around your knees for extra resistance.
  3. IT band friction syndrome:  This can present itself as pain down the outer thigh or near the patella (kneecap) and can shut you down quickly if not addressed. Myofascial release using a foam roller, rolling pin or even a soup can down the outseam of your pants from your hip to your knee five to ten times per side helps. If you find a particularly tender spot, stop there and breathe until the discomfort lessons as you have found a trigger point. Massage around the patella (kneecap) again using the foam roller or rolling pin to make sure your patella is slack (has movement). Single leg ¼ squats watching for knee over toe alignment and straight hips 15 times per leg, three sets daily will help stabilize your knee as will the above mentioned glute/abdominal exercise.

Congratulations to all of the racers on all of their hard work leading up to the race. Here’s to arriving at the startline injury free – good luck and have fun!