COED 6160 – Performance and Conditioning for Sport Coaching

This course has been designed for coaches to develop knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to be effective in the implementation of performance and conditioning in sport. The end result of this course is to develop a proper warm up techniques, appropriate test choice, design a needs analysis to ultimately create programs designed to cater to the athletes for peak performance.

One of the assignments was a group assignment that focused Sports Injury Prevention for Runners.

 Joe Kisonu High School School Cross Country Team

Welcome to the running program!  Every day before you start your weight training or conditioning program, you will spend time warming up for your said activities.

Why do we need to warm up and what are the benefits?

Performance may be improved, as an appropriate warm up will result in an:

  • Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles,
  • Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness,
  • Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles,
  • Increased metabolism and muscle temperatures,
  • Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise,
  • Mentally focused on the training or competition.

The purpose of these exercises is to help loosen up your muscles and ligaments to help prevent injuries, sprains or strains.  One of the key factors to better running performance is consistent training, which means having a body that can withstand pounding.  If you were to start running, there’s a good chance that an injury may follow.  Nearly 80 percent of runners are injured each year with most injuries being caused by overuse (applying repeated force over a prolonged period of time).  Sudden changes in training volume can also do some damage, regardless if you are new or an experienced runner.  Injury prevention measures can include a multitude of strategies, one common method being core stability training.

Core stability exercises don’t always have to involve you lying on your back or acting like a statue for minutes on end.  There is a time and place for exercises that involve those positions, but progressions must be made to further challenge your ability to maintain a stable torso.

Runners that have a better core stability are more able to maintain a stable torso and possess better trunk control while running.  The core muscles help absorb and distribute impact forces and allow body movements in a controlled and efficient manner.  This will allow for less energy to be wasted and it will lead to a more efficient running stride and a reduction in injury risk.

In addition to keeping the spine and abdomen stable about the axis of the vertebrae, the 29 core muscles also all work in unison to allow breathing and the natural twisting motion to occur during the running stride.

Running with weak abdominal, gluteal muscles and tight hip flexors are a common biomechanical abnormality associated with several types of running injuries.  A strategy to limit injury risk for any runner should include:

  1. Attaining optimal hip flexor flexibility
  2. Improving core strength and stability
  3. Improving gluteal strength and stability

Some common types of injuries are runner’s knee, achilles tendinitis, shin splints, sprains, blisters and stress fractures.  Remember there’s a fine line between pushing through and pushing your luck.  Only you and your doctor will know what’s bestyou’re your body when the running gets rough.  To minimize the aches and pains, consider these general tips to stay on the safe side:

  1. Stick to the 10 percent rule.

Don’t increase mileage by more than 10 percent each week.  Upping those miles unexpectedly is a major reason overuse injuries occur!

  1. Warm up and cool down.

Heading for an intense run?  Remember to warm up and cool down to ease your body in and out of a workout. This will help keep injuries at bay.

  1. Fix your form.

Smooth and efficient is the key.  Not only will poor form hinder performance, it could lead to unnecessary pain.  Make sure to use correct running technique to prevent injuries, especially shin splints and back aches.  Imbalances can also lead to problems down the road and it never hurts to visit a skilled physical therapist who can help identify and address any biomechanical issues.

  1. Replace your sneakers.

Keep track of how many miles those shoes have logged and replace them every 600 miles, if not sooner!  It’s also worth swinging by a specialty running shoe store where the staff can help you figure out which shoe is the perfect fit.

  1. Keep it even.

Avoid running on uneven surfaces that put unnecessary stress on ligaments.  While off-roading is a fun change of pace, rough terrain may make it easier to twist an ankle—so be extra careful on the trails.

  1. Add in strength training.

Don’t disregard those dumbbells, even if running is your main gig.  Lifting can increase structural fitness, which helps bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles endure all that pounding.  Pay special attention to strengthening hips since weak hips are linked to higher rates of injury.

  1. Know your limits.

Shocker: Overtraining can cause overuse injuries!!  Make sure to take at least one day off per week and mix up those fartleks and hill-repeats with some easier recovery runs.  Don’t forget to pencil in regular rest days as well.  You and your body deserve it!

Once you finished doing your warm-up exercise, go ahead and start your workout.  Once you have completed your workout, be sure to finish off your training with a cool-down stretch.

Why do we need to cool down and what are some of the benefits?

Cool down is to help the muscles to relax, realign muscle fibers and re-establish their normal range of movement.  An appropriate cool down will:

  • Aid in the dissipation of waste products – including lactic acid,
  • Reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities,
  • Reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood,
  • Allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate.