Between now and the big race day on June 6th Elverys Intersport will be giving you tips and tidbits on how to get yourself ready and on the road to the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon.
By now, hopefully your training is well underway as June is only around the corner! I’ve worked with lots of female athletes (both professional and beginners) and there are often a couple of niggly problems like back pain or a bit of leaking when you run….that may be holding you back. Often it can be an issue with your pelvic floor – did you know that 1 in 3 women have some sort of pelvic floor problem? But don’t panic, there’s a solution!
Your pelvic floor muscles run like a sling from the front of your pelvis to your tailbone and they have a number of jobs, like giving you control over your bladder and bowel and keeping your pelvic organs where they are supposed to be. But they are also really important when it comes to preventing low back pain, as they provide stability for the joints of your lower back and pelvis.
The muscles can become stressed during pregnancy and childbirth or if you have chronic constipation, which can lead to problems with low back pain, some leaking from the bladder or bowel or even a dragging feeling as if things are moving down and out.
For many women, leaking when they run is a very common problem. I say common, but it’s really important to remember that leaking is NEVER normal and there is almost always something that can be done about it! Probably the best way to address the issue is to check in with a women’s health physio who also works with athletes: she will be able to not only help you address your pelvic floor issues but also look at your running form. Remember: most women don’t need pelvic floor strengthening (no more kegels!) but they do need to re-learn coordination of the pelvic floor with the breath.
In the meantime, here are some tips to help you get started:
Know your floor!
Your pelvic floor muscles do a number of jobs, including controlling bladder and bowel function. Find your pelvic floor by taking a deep breath in, and as you exhale, relaxing all the muscles in and around your pelvis. Take another breath in, and this time as you exhale, close your anus and lift up and in, (as if you were trying to stop gas escaping) Count to 5 out loud (to make sure you’re not holding your breath. Then (this is the most important part!) fully relax your pelvic floor. Congratulations! You just found and activated your pelvic floor muscles!
Coordinate with your breath.
Now that you know where the muscles are, practice coordinating with the breath. This will give you more stability during your run and may help with your endurance. Take a breath in and feel how both you lower tummy expands a little and your pelvic floor drops a little. As you exhale, your tummy should gently move back in by itself and your pelvic floor rises a little. This cycle should happen with every breath but if you are worried about leaking, you may not be fully relaxing the pelvic floor, which might be making the problem worse! Try this exercise standing, sitting or lying still, and as you get the hang of it, try to incorporate the breath and pelvic floor muscles into your running.
Watch your alignment.
Keeping your ribcage over your pelvis when you run can help manage the pressures of running on your pelvic floor. Wearing supportive clothing like a good sports bra and EVB shorts can really help improve both form and function when you run in my experience. If you are worried about leaking or painful breasts when you are running, that can actually make the problem worse by causing extra tension in the body and can lead to other mechanical problems or injuries. Set yourself up for success and enjoy your run!
Find more from Michelle Lyons, MISCP, RPT, CNT at Celebratemuliebrity.com & check out more on EVB Sports here http://bit.ly/1q0FrnH