In 2012 while training for my first half marathon I developed an overuse injury to Tibialis Posterior, a calf muscle that supports the arch of the foot. Looking back at my training diary it is hardly surprising: I was doing zero strengthening or cross training and speed/hill sessions were weekly (sometimes twice weekly). Since then I’ve seen two physios and a podiatrist, and I’ve religiously lunged and squatted, stretched, massaged and iced. I’ve run two half marathons niggle free but any attempt to run hills, do speed work or set a 5k PB has resulted in a flare up. It’s a little frustrating.
Not surprisingly, from time to time I will do a little of my own internet research. Google any running injury or issue and within milliseconds you will be presented with hundreds of different opinions with YouTube videos of stretches and strengthening to go with it. It is hard to know what, if any has any scientific basis to it. On my most recent search I came across this blog by Tom, a Brighton based physio. Tom doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but he does review the medical literature on running injuries and present that evidence in an easy to follow way. His post on Tibialis Posterior Tendinosis discussed a study that found a combined approach of orthotics, calf stretches, and eccentric strengthening exercises the most effective rehab.
I already wear orthotics and I was doing calf stretches after every run. However the study recommends 3 x sets of 30 seconds of calf stretching, 3 x day. The strengthening exercises use Theraband and involve 3 x sets of 15, 3 x day. For 12 weeks.
The thought of adding more exercises into my week, especially three times a day, does not fill me with joy, but having discussed with a physio colleague I’ve decided it is worth a try so I have taken a deep breath, invested in Theraband and made a start. One week nearly down, only 11 to go 🙂
Tom’s post also suggests looking at running form. I remembered seeing a comment on Twitter regarding Kinetic Revolution, a company that offers 3 hour seminars around the country. They also have a six week online running form course. I’m considering doing either or both. Having read a few of their blog posts, they also appear to be well versed in the current medical literature, rather than caught up in the latest running fad.
Have you ever tried improving your running form? Do you have experience with Kinetic Revolution or perhaps another running form coach?