The Hope and Dream 10 takes place again this year on April 10th and is being held to raise much needed funds for Hope Cancer Support Centre, Wexford Hospice Homecare and Friends of Wexford Hospital. The project was the brainchild of Tom Herlihy and John O’Leary back in September 2011. Their vision for this race was to make it all inclusive, regardless of ability. Many thanks to Tom and John and all their volunteers for the their invaluable contribution to date. From 2015 onwards the Hope Cancer Support Centre CLG has taken over the organisation of this event. The 10 mile race is designed to appeal to everyone from the walker/jogger to the serious runner. The 10k event will appeal to walkers and joggers alike. The Little Dreamers Dash is a kids event that was established to fulfil this ethos of all inclusion. It takes place on the Promenade for all children, while the main race is underway.
BY MARC LINDSAY MAP MY RUN BLOG One of the great things about running is you don’t need a lot of gear. That said, a good pair of running shoes is a must — and you’ll need to replace them frequently to avoid common overuse injuries. When you need to replace them is subject to debate. If you ask 10 different experts, you’ll likely get 10 different answers. While there is no one right or wrong answer for everyone, there are a few general wear-and-tear signs that can signal it’s time for a new pair of kicks. Why Running Shoes need to be replaced. Running shoes are designed to be protective and supportive. Once the exterior sole or tread, midsole and upper begin to wear, your feet, ankles, knees and hips will have to absorb more of the pounding as you run on the road. When the midsole, (which provides a majority of the cushion on impact), has been compressed enough times, it won’t provide those shock-absorbing qualities that can help to reduce the likelihood of an overuse injury like patellar tendonitis, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis among others. “Air is one of the key ingredients to the foams that are used in running-shoe midsoles. This is what allows the shoes to be light and comfortable underfoot,” says Cori Burns Run Category Manager at Under Armour. “In turn, over time and under the repetitive stresses of running, the foam structure can break down or compress.” The general range for when a midsole begins to break down is between 300–550 miles. The number of miles you run until the midsole breaks down varies so greatly due to a number of factors that can differ from person-to-person and shoe-to-shoe. It isn’t recommended to judge midsole breakdown based on time, since the number of miles you run from month-to-month can differ. “In addition, the outsole rubber, under the sheering forces of foot-strike will also wear down over time. Similar to the tread on tires,” says Burns. “To maximize the cushioning underfoot and keep your feet and joints feeling fresh, it’s best to refresh your shoes.” Factors that affect Midsole Breakdown Because of the variances of anatomy and training habits, midsole breakdown can vary greatly between runners. “The amount of load (weight of the runner, number of miles run in the shoes, wearer’s efficiency and foot-strike) plays a significant role in the breakdown of a shoe over time. However, the foam composition and how resilient it is to ‘compression set’ will also play a major role,” says Burns. Below are a few factors that should be considered when determining how often your running shoes need to be replaced: • How much do you weigh? Larger runners need to replace shoes more often since the compression of the midsole will be much greater than it is from a smaller runner. • What’s your running style? Runners who have an efficient stride and are light on their feet will not wear out running shoes as quickly as runners with an excessive heel strike who pound the pavement. • Where do you run? If you run primarily on the road, your running shoes will wear faster than they will if you run on grass or dirt trails. • What kind of shoe do you have? Different models wear at different rates depending on the quality of the materials in the midsole. Minimalist shoes can wear even quicker than other models. Signs that it’s time to replace your shoes Not everything needs to be scientific. If your running shoes have started to feel flat and you begin to notice aches and pains in your feet, ankles and knees, it’s probably a safe bet it’s time for a new pair. “It’s often said that a runner should replace their shoes after about 300 miles,” notes Burns. “But it’s important to consider the underfoot feel and the outsole tread pattern as well. If the shoe still feels lively, it is likely fine to continue pounding out the miles. But, if the midsole feels dead and if the outsole traction has worn away, it’s a good sign to refresh your shoes.” Here are some other basic wear-and-tear signs that signal the need for a trip to your local running store: • Visible creases or cracks in the midsole. • A worn outer sole showing the midsole, or an outer sole that’s rounded or bald like a car tire. • An unsupportive heel counter. • Tears in the upper. • The shoe sole is visibly worn on either side so that it leans to one side on a flat surface. • The midsole doesn’t feel as springy as it did when they were purchased. If you’re still on the fence, try on the same model you already own. If there is a noticeable difference in how they feel, you might want to go ahead and make the purchase. Tips to make your running shoes last longer Whether or not you’re a high-mileage runner, replacing your running shoes every few months can get expensive. To make your running shoes last as long as possible, there are a few things you can do to improve their longevity. While it might seem expensive at first, purchasing two or three pairs of running shoes and alternating them can help them to last much longer than they would if you only run in one pair. “having a couple of pairs to rotate throughout the week can alleviate the stress on a single pair, and ultimately allow both shoes to last longer,” says Burns. This is due to the compression of the midsole, which takes close to 24 hours to return to its normal shape. By alternating pairs if you run one night and then again the next morning or afternoon, you’ll give your joints more protection and increase the longevity of your shoe. It’s also a good idea to switch up your running surfaces instead of sticking to the sidewalk. “Running on softer surfaces, such as grass or a treadmill can help to preserve your shoes,” says Burns. Since concrete is a much harder surface, your shoe’s midsole will have to compress more to absorb the impact of your foot strike. By alternating runs on softer surfaces like dirt, grass or even the treadmill every once in awhile, your shoes won’t have to work as hard to provide the cushion and support your body needs. If you’ve gotten into the habit of wearing your running shoes while running errands, this also decreases their lifespan. Only wear your running shoes while running and get a separate pair of shoes to wear while you’re out in town.
When it comes to running shoes its essential that you establish what 'type' of foot you have. Normal everyday running shoes fall into one of three categories - Neutral Cushioning, Support and Motion Control. Most people fall into the 'Support' category. A simple way of establishing your shoe type is to conduct the 'wet test'. Remember, this is a useful indicator but for a more accurate test we recommend that you visit us in store for a free comprehensive video gait analysis consultation. The Wet Test works on the basis that the shape of your wet footprint on a dry piece of paper roughly equates to the amount of stability you might need in your shoe. It will show you what features you should look for and equip you with the basic knowledge you need to make the right decision. The Normal Foot Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock. It’s the foot of a runner who is biomechanically efficient and therefore doesn’t need a motion control shoe. The Shoe for You: Stability shoes with moderate control features. The Flat Foot This has a low arch and leaves a print which looks like the whole sole of the foot. It usually indicates an overpronated foot – one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards (over pronates) excessively. Over time, this can cause many different types of overuse injuries. The Shoe for You: Motion control shoes, or high stability shoes with firm midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. Stay away from highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features. The High-Arched Foot This leaves a print showing a very narrow band or no band at all between the forefoot and the heel. A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated. Because it doesn’t pronate enough, it’s not usually an effective shock absorber. The Shoe for You: Cushioned (or 'neutral') shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Dont make the mistake of buying support or motion control shoes.
This is adapted from Running Strong: The Sports Doctor's Complete Guide to Injury-Free Running for Life, by Jordan Metzl, M.D. Why do you run? Because it feels good. Because it relieves stress. Because it fills you with energy. Because it makes you happier. Because it enables you to eat pie. I get that, because running is important to my life, too. As a 32-time marathoner and 12-time Ironman triathlete, I love to push my limits. But the number one reason I run is the pure joy of it. But it’s pure hell—physically and emotionally—when you’re injured and you can’t run. I get that, too. It’s the reason I became a sports doc. Ripping my ACL in soccer practice in med school was devastating, but I can now say it was the single most important event to influence my work as a sports physician. It’s what drives me in my medical practice to help my patients. I have developed a get-stronger, run-better, stay-injury-free plan built on several principles. Follow these rules and you’ll be able to keep running in good health. 1. Build a strong kinetic chain. You love running, right? Maybe it’s the only physical activity you really want to do on a regular basis. And you know that to be good at anything, you need to practice, so to be a better runner, you need to run—absolutely! And that’s one excuse runners give for doing no strength training. Then there’s this: When your sport of choice involves the great outdoors, sunlight, fresh air, cruisin’ down the road, over the trail, or along the beach, who wants to be stuck inside a sweaty, smelly gym doing semi-static strength exercises? I get that. I’m a runner, too. But I also want to run for the rest of my life and run to my fullest potential, so I strength-train two or three times a week. Running is great, but it can create muscle imbalances or accentuate ones you already have. If you have a weak left hip abductor, for example, your left knee may come under extra strain when you run and over time may get injured. When you run—when you do any kind of movement—multiple muscles, bones, and joints are called on to work together to create fluid motion. Your feet, lower legs, knees, hips, lower back, core, arms, and shoulders are all part of your running kinetic chain, and when one link isn’t working, the repercussions can be felt all the way up or down the chain. When you strengthen all the links in the chain and maintain good flexibility from top to bottom, you’ll run stronger and stay injury-free. 2. Isolated, single-muscle exercises aren’t worth your time. Now that I have introduced you to the kinetic chain, you will understand why I’m going to tell you to walk right past the exercise machines at the gym. When was the last time you were lying on your back pushing something heavy up over your chest as you do when you bench press? Whether you are running or cleaning up the yard or putting groceries away, you are using your whole body. Many muscles fire simultaneously or in rapid succession along your kinetic chain to create that fluid, beautiful thing we call movement. So you need to strengthen your muscles in ways that use your whole body and with exercises that mimic movements you actually do in real life. This is called functional strength training. The exercises in my IronStrength workout for runners are full-body exercises and, with the exception of the arm moves, they rely on your body, not weights, for resistance. Plus, there’s a bonus: Many of them mimic the movements you use in running, so they build strength right where you need it. 3. Single-leg exercises should be a priority. Single-leg squats, lunges, and hops build incredible strength and stability. The benefit of great balance isn’t just to prevent you from falling on your butt. A stable runner is a healthy runner and a more efficient runner. One of the most important elements of injury-free running is good alignment. When all the links in your kinetic chain are in the right order, your body can better handle the stress of running and more gently absorb ground reaction forces—the forces that drive up your leg when your foot strikes the ground. With strength and stability, you move more efficiently; all your energy is focused forward, in the direction you want to go, instead of being wasted in wiggling hips or wobbly knees. Finally, think about the stance phase of running: Your foot is planted on the ground, you lower your body, and then you push back up as you go to push off. You are kind of doing a single-leg squat, so including single-leg exercises in your strength workout builds muscles specific to running. Good idea, don’t you think? 4. A strong butt = a happy life. The good old gluteus maximus is a runner’s best friend. And a lot of us sit on it for way too many hours every day. This is the biggest and strongest muscle in your body. When it hooks up with gluteus medius and gluteus minimus—well, they make a powerful threesome that generates most of the propulsive force when you run. Your glutes also join forces with your core muscles to provide stability when you run. Here’s what happens when you don’t have stability: As you run, you get too much movement in your hips, too much motion in the ocean; your hips rock up and down. Picture this: As you plant your right foot, let’s say, and your right hip drops down, your right knee is forced inward toward your left leg. It’s not a pretty picture, and this movement can mess up the tracking of your kneecap and lead to an injury called runner’s knee. It also pulls on your iliotibial band (ITB), a thin band of tissue that runs from your hip joint along the outside of your thigh and attaches just below the knee to your tibia. Over time, pulling a tight ITB over the bony protuberance on the outside of your knee creates soreness in the band called iliotibial band syndrome, which can be a real pain to get rid of. You may even find that the inward movement of your leg causes you to overpronate, which can lead to foot problems, shin issues, and trouble all the way up to your hips. This is your kinetic chain in action unfortunately, not a positive action. Strengthen that butt and your troubles will disappear. 5. You can control pain with strength. As I mentioned earlier, when I was a first-year med student, I tore my ACL playing soccer. Eventually I had surgery, rehabbed, recovered, and became a runner. Fifteen years after blowing up my knee, I noticed pain in and around the joint. Sure enough, it was arthritis. In my search for a solution, I tried anything and everything. As a sports doc, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to cure the arthritis, but there had to be a way to reduce, if not eliminate, the discomfort so I could keep running. One day I saw a notice for a functional strength-training class, and I decided to give it a try. The next day—no kidding—my knee felt better. This was a discovery that would change my running life (and change yours) forever. As I got into strength training and plyometrics, I learned that when my legs, hips, and glutes were strong, my knee hurt less. Today these knees have seen 32 marathons and 12 Ironman triathlons, and they are still going strong. By shouldering more of the physical workload, strong muscles support vulnerable joints. When some of the load of running is transferred from your joints to your muscles, pain eases and injury progression slows down. And that’s not all. Strong muscles make joints more stable. A stable joint is a healthy joint and is much less likely to get injured ever. 6. Sleep is the most important activity of the day. An ever-increasing number of studies show how important sleep is to the health of our minds and bodies: to memory, focus, cognition, mood, creativity, healthy blood pressure, healthy weight, a healthy immune system. And catching all the z’s you need every night makes you a stronger runner. On the flip side, research shows that exercise helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and enjoy quality z’s, with one caveat, according to the National Sleep Foundation—that you exercise at least 3 hours prior to hitting the pillow. When you fall asleep, though it’s lights out for your conscious self, several other systems are up taking the night shift. These are the hours when your body repairs muscle, builds bone, ramps up red blood cell production, restocks glycogen, and reviews and stores the neuromuscular learning that occurred during your day’s run. Cut the shift short and your body doesn’t have time to do those jobs thoroughly. Night after night of not enough sleep increasingly wears you down mentally and physically. Not only will your running performance suffer, but you will also be more prone to injury—and, oh yeah, your general health will suffer too. Earlier I talked about holding daily exercise sacred. Do the same for a good night’s sleep. A solid eight hours makes for great recovery, ensures all systems are ready to go, and puts a shine on your health and a smile on your face. Sweet dreams.