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Trainers….. Black ones, white ones, ones with go faster stripes…
It’s a question we often get asked. What trainers should I wear? Which is often followed by, I’ve been to a Trainer shop and they watched me walk around in different shoes and I’m even more confused now….
Well, to start with, every event, and every type of training can require different footwear. So tennis requires different shoes to long distance running, which requires different shoes to a long distance race, and again different shoes to track running.
So, when you ask this question, remember what you have in mind, training wise. If you’re a long distance runner who races and your looking for improvements in your times, then you will need your normal training shoes as well as a race pair, which are usually slightly lighter in weight.
Then, you have to know if you pronate, supinate, or are just neutral. In the old days they used to take a look at your barefoot print after you got out the shower. This really doesn’t tell you much. You must be assessed moving in bare feet to get a true picture of what your foot actually does.
Although it sounds really complicated, the correct footwear is essential, not only for improvements in training, but also to keep you injury free.
Now there is warm weather training and then there is just being daft! It’s not often Britain gets a heatwave, but when it does we seem to sit out in it, covered in cooking oil, burning ourselves. Well some of us do. Others who are being dedicated to their training think, excellent! Athletes do it so it must be good for me!
Training in a heatwave is not a good idea. It really isn’t going to harm your training programmes to take a few days off, or to try something indoors. All too often I see people in this country out running in the mid day heat because they are too scared to miss a session, or think it will aid their training.
Training in very hot weather you are unaccustomed to can lead to many problems. Commonly cramp, headaches, dehydration, and pulled muscles. This isn’t to say all people suffer in this weather. Athletes such as sprinters, enjoy this weather and actually thrive and improve their training. However, they still wouldn’t train in a heatwave if their body is not used to it.
It you are determined to train, make sure you get up extra early, or save it till after 8pm. Hats are essential, as is water proof sun cream. Even at those times of day. Blisters are more likely, so remember to use talc inside your socks to try and prevent them. Also Vaseline in areas that rub such as inner thighs and under arms is also a good idea. Remember to take water, drink plenty and try and find routes that are in the shade. This weather never lasts long in this country so taking a few days off until things get back to normal isn’t going to hurt.
So, we are all focused on our training, it’s going really well… Then boredom kicks in!
It happens to us all. No matter what your training for, it happens to most people about a month to six weeks after you start. Don’t worry, this is totally normal, it’s why gyms are packed in January, and then by mid February they are empty again. People start to realise how much time training takes, and how other things in your life, that you miss doing, have taken a back seat.
This is where changing your training around, or cross training becomes important. Firstly it’s always helpful to pick an event or sport that fits into your routine. For instance, there is no point taking up squash if the nearest court is 45 minutes away – your interest will dwindle very quickly. Secondly as soon as you feel you’re getting bored change your routine. So, find a different friend to train with, or change your routes or even try a different activity for a while. This change doesn’t have to be similar to your chosen sport, it could be something totally different. But what it will do is keep you fit and active so that when your ready to go back to your training plan, you will do it with the enjoyment you started out with originally.
And remember, your training plan needs to be flexible. Don’t worry about missing sessions, or altering something someone has given you. Everybody works differently so nobody’s training should be the same.
So, last week I gave you a few reasons to train in the rain. The rain has now quickly been replaced by lovely sunshine. Which, whilst lovely, brings its own set of issues with it.
Dehydration whilst running is the main cause of a poor performance. It’s as important as all of those speed, interval and core sessions and you will need to practice taking on board fluids and gels before your race day.Whilst some people swear by jelly beans, for others it makes them sick. Some people love gels, but different brands will affect people differently. Others swear by isotonic drinks or salt tablets. All of these will affect everybody differently which is why it’s important to try them to see which works best for you.
Through proper hydration you can still run well, but as soon as you dehydrate you will slow, your legs become tired and cramp, and eventually your head will spin. However, it’s also important not to over hydrate. Hyperhydration can cause the same effects as well as swelling of the brain. This is why it’s important to practice with whichever method you have chosen.
A good way to estimate it is you need 1 litre of fluid to replace every kilo lost during a training session. Once you have worked out this, you will know exactly how much to drink.
So, we’ve picked an event to compete in, Decided to do it for charity to make sure we do it, but some days we still need motivation! As we are all living in Britain, the weather is unpredictable at the best of times, and the ‘it might rain, so I’m not going training’ is an excuse we all use, including myself.
Here are my top six reasons why training in the rain may prove useful!
- You won’t meet as many people, dogs, horses, cars etc. This is great as it means you won’t have to stop quite so many times to let them pass!
- You will train faster to get it done quicker as you will want to get home. Make these sessions your speed sessions as the motivation of a nice hot shower when you get back is more than enough to increase that pace.
- You will warm up properly so less likely to injure yourself. On hot days we are all guilty of going straight out and starting quickly because we are already hot. We might be hot but our muscles aren’t! So on those miserable days when we warm up correctly because we have to we are less likely to get injured.
- You won’t get as dehydrated on the rainy days which is great for your performance as dehydration can actually decrease your performance by 10%
- 5. If it’s raining on the day of your race you don’t have a choice about getting wet. It makes these day good experience and good race preparation.
- Hot chocolate and biscuits at end of the session are more than a welcome and earned necessity
Ok, so perhaps entering an event isn’t quite enough motivation to start training properly, but doing it for a charity definitely is. I have decided to run for a charity called More Than Words. They teach severely disabled children who can not speak a special sign language so that they can communicate with their families. The NHS don’t provide this service and knowing there are parents out there who have never heard the words ‘I Love You’ from their children gave me the motivation to start, and keep training.
Whilst I have probably only run 400 meters, I have walked over 30 miles last week and have already walked 12 in the pouring rain this week. Tomorrow I have an interval session planned and I’m working hard on my core strength.
My core strength has been hampered by a large diastasis after the birth. This is the gap between the ‘ab’ muscles running up from the belly button that pregnancy can cause. If you have this, you can help it by laying on your back, pulling in your pelvic floor muscles and doing a slight head raise. Once the gap is less that 2cms, you can then increase the head raise to a head a shoulder raise, similar to a small stomach crunch. Once it’s closed then you can progress to full crunches, and your training will become a lot more effective and less painful.
So, I guess I’ve secretly been waiting for the knee consultant to come up with a magic answer for my knees, or to tell me to give up. In reality I now know it’s not going to happen. So, I’ve gone and booked onto a 30 mile hill challenge in Wales in September.
Now that something is booked I’ve got to get on with my fitness. My weight is back down to pre baby, assuming that the scales aren’t broken, so I’ve no excuse. If like me, you are finding excuse after excuse to put off exercising, booking an event (and doing it with someone) is a great way of making you start training again. I now walk 6 miles most days with the dogs, so I have a base level to work from. I’ve taken part in the odd bootcamp and spin session so I’m now going to spend the next 125 days improving on my fitness and getting around this rather interesting challenge in September!
I’ll start tomorrow…….. Honest!
The pregnancy course we went on last weekend was amazing,! It taught us everything to help us treat all the aches and pains we all experience through pregnancy, at a greater level than previously. It also touched on the emotional side of pre natal and post natal care. We all forget there are softer sides to people, and not only have their bodies been turned upside down physically, but emotionally too. This emotion never stops, and it’s not only child related. Women all over the county have the return to work battle. You pop in to see old colleagues and you don’t fit anymore, you stay at home and you get lonely. Well luckily there are many ways to help with this, we understand this and treatments like acupuncture, reflexology and massage can not only help relax you but also help with the anxiety. Post natal exercise can also do massive amounts to help release endorphins and get you feeling better. And if you can’t find child care, you can always bring them with you!
So, this weekend I’m off on a CPD course for pregnancy. I’m really looking forward to this as it should help teach us more techniques to look after you all. Did you know 2/3rds of pregnant women experience back pain, which gets worse as the pregnancy progresses? It’s also the sacrum that moves to allow the baby to pass through during birth so it’s no wonder we can suffer for a while afterwards.
All the research shows that while we as a profession can’t stop the pain from coming, we can help you manage it. I’ve seen many clients over the years and helped them with the aches and pains of pregnancy, and have also been personally able to relate to them. The modalities we use include massage, acupuncture, stretches, Pilates, even sessions with Joe the personal trainer have helped. So really, this is just to let you know, we can help you, and you don’t have to suffer during or after your pregnancy. And if childcare is an issue you can always bring them – All the staff love babies! (Even though mine cries a lot!)
Ok, so for the past six weeks I’ve waited patiently to see an orthopaedic surgeon on the NHS. I was seen by one of the top specialist in Wales, in whom I have placed all my hopes in to make me better!
We chatted about my knees for a while, and he gave me a thorough examination including my hip and spine, where a lot of knee pain and be referred from. Pain that travels is usually a sign that it might not be your knee playing up, so if your therapist is checking other parts of your anatomy, don’t worry, they are just doing a really thorough job. I always tell my patients the nerves are like tree routes. They come out of your spine and travel down your limbs in a certain pattern. If something is irritating that tree route (nerve) at some point, it can be felt anywhere along that route (nerve).
Anyway, the next phase is in 6 weeks for some x-Rays so we can see what’s going on. I know we are making progress but my hopes of running a marathon this year is slowly disappearing.
I’m booked in to see Amy on Friday in Chester for more acupuncture as getting down stairs is almost impossible at the moment.
Ok, so after three weeks of sulking (you may have noticed the silence) I have worked out I can run on a treadmill pain free. So two sessions in, I’m feeling determined again. I say sessions, the first one lasted 5 minutes, the second lasted 7! If your used to running out doors, which, lets face it, is 100% more enjoyable, treadmill running does not really come into training schedules. However, it can be useful for a few things. Firstly, Always remember to increase the gradient to 1% so that your hamstrings are used to help mimic outdoor running, otherwise there is very little benefit that can be crossed over.
Treadmills can be useful for interval training, hill climbing sessions and speed work. It can take a lot of the stress out of certain types of sessions if used correctly. It also helps make twenty minutes pass much much quicker. Play about with the programmes as its not just about running 5k on the machine, try and make it more enjoyable by putting a bit of speed work in it, or 5 mins of hill climbing. It’s still better than swimming!
So this week training has been progressing slowly with my knee injury, I went to bootcamp and only did the exercises I could do pain free, which helped mentally with the fact I was still doing something. I also saw Zoe for Acupuncture on my knee. This really helped. My body responds very well to acupuncture and its helping speed up my recovery a lot. Many years ago I had Bi-lateral retinacula released performed on both knees – it’s now a procedure that isn’t carried out as it has a very poor success rate. They basically go into the knee and trim the structures on the outside of the patella to free it up, however, all it does it create extra scar tissue and compound the original issue. This, combined with a very old fashioned training coach, makes it no surprise that I suffer with bad knees! At the height of my running career my coach was into quantity not quality. Which is still the thinking of many long distance runners – the more miles the better!
This isn’t the case, it’s about the quality of the session, each mile run needs to combined into a correct training programme, not just plodded out. Sessions should be at tempo, combined into a speed session or an interval session with only one long run a week. There is little benefit to the body running 10 miles every day at the same slow pace, as all the body will ever do is run 10 miles at a slow pace! We have seen a few people this week to help with their running styles and I am adamant that with the correct advice, dedication and training, anyone can knock time off their marathon and half marathon times.