After running Tokyo Marathon and Osaka Marathon in two consecutive years, I completely fell head over heels in love with Japan. So, when I heard about Regetta Canoe, a unique and modern Japanese footwear brand inspired by the traditional Japanese clog or Geta, I definitely wanted to give their shoes a try. The shoes are lifestyle shoes, but it’s an added bonus that it is recommend for runners since it helps with recovery after long runs. (more…)
– My Hot Flow Yoga session at Fitness First –
This June has been tough for me. After finally accepting that I was burnt out, I forced myself to go on rest and recovery mode. I only ran 3 easy 5k runs the past couple of weeks! Waaah, it’s been hell! Thankfully, I’ve been able to calm myself down through yoga. I’ve always been a fan of yoga and I do believe that every runner should take a yoga class at least twice a week. Read on for the benefits of yoga for runners… (more…)
For runners who are eager to learn about how to improve their running performance, this Summit is definitely worth looking into…
What: Enervon Activ Runner’s Summit
When: August 17, 2013, Saturday, 8:00am To 5:00pm
Where: Jose Y. Campos Hall, Bayanihan Center
8008 Pioneer Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Who Can Join? Runners who are planning to run longer distances in their future races or the Run United Philippine Marathon are encouraged to join this summit.
The Enervon Activ Runner’s Summit is a whole day learning program for runners aspiring to progress better through the help of top coaches, sports science experts, and sports nutritionist. Sessions includes running physiologies and proper sports nutrition.
For more info, visit Unilab Active Health website.
Lucky is the runner that doesn’t have to deal with any injuries. At one time or another, most runners will be faced with an injury; it’s just part of life as a runner. One learns how to manage it and prevent any major problems to allow us to continue doing the sport we love.
One of the most common running injuries is Illiotibial Band Syndrome or ITBS. Here’s a definition from about.com:
Iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, is due to inflammation of the iliotibial band, a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg. The iliotibial band begins at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee joint. The band functions in coordination with several of the thigh muscles to provide stability to the outside of the knee joint.
I first felt the symptoms of ITBS in late 2008. Completely unaware of what I should’ve been doing to appease my angry, tight muscles, I proceeded to run as fast and often as I could. What happened? ITBS went on full attack during my half marathon in Standard Chartered Singapore Half Marathon. At Km 19—yes, just 2 km shy of the finish, my left knee locked and refused to bend. I wobbled like Erap to a slow and excruciating finish.
It happened again in New York City Marathon 2010. Dormant for over a year, ITBS decided to unleash an all out war against me during the race that I spent 4 months preparing for. You really just wanna strangle this annoying injury if you could.
ITBS is nasty and evil. And, I must admit, it’s a lot more stubborn then I am. Left unmanaged, it will worsen until you reach the point when every step is so excruciating you won’t be able to run. BUT, if you learn how to manage ITBS as soon as you feel tightness in the ITB or soreness in the knee, then you can enjoy your runs with little worry.
Here’s what I do whenever I feel any symptoms of ITBS arising. It’s based on years of personal experience dealing with ITBS, but I’m no doctor so this should not replace a consultation with an expert.
1. Wear compression tights. This is the first thing I do when I feel even the slightest symptoms of ITBS returning. During every run, no matter how hot it is out there, I wear my compression tights. I use 2XU because it’s light, comfortable, and flexible (not as stiff as other brands). During cooler months, I use CW-X, which is a bit thicker than 2XU, but has a special model to address ITBS. I believe there’s a newer model of CW-X tights that are lighter. I hope Runnr brings it in soon.
2. Change shoes. It used to be that once I found the perfect pair for my feet, I would use that shoe for every single run. I felt safe in them. But, Hector Yuzon of SecondWind advised me to regularly change shoes. When I feel the slightest soreness on my knee or tightness on the ITB, I modify something in my footwear, be it a change of shoes, replacing of insoles, or putting them back on or removing them.
3. Foam roll. To ease the tight ITB muscles, I foam roll three to four times a day for 10 minutes. Roll on those tight muscles gingerly. You’ll feel the nodules fighting it out and it can be quite painful, but you gotta do what you gotta do to run again. I got my foam roller at Chris Sports for around P1,000, but I think most sports stores will have them. I also once used a PVC pipe and wrapped a yoga mat around it. If you’re on a budget, this works well too. Click HERE to read my old post on Foam Rollers.
4. Tiger Tail. On top of the foam roller (I know I can be quite obsessive about battling ITBS), I use the tiger tail right after I run or while I’m watching TV. Just roll over the tight areas of your leg. While you’re at it, roll over the calves, quads, and hamstrings too. Tiger Tail is available in Chris Sports for around P1000. Click HERE to read my old post about Tiger Tail.
5. Deep tissue massage and therapy. Even if you foam roll and tiger tail, there’s nothing like a physical therapist’s expert strokes to remove those nodules. I visit Peak Form Sports Recovery Center (formerly Riovana Sports Recovery Center) at the 2nd floor of Riovana for a session of ultrasound, laser, deep tissue massage, stretching and finally cryo therapy at least once a week until the ITBS is gone. This center is owned by ortho-surgeon Dr. Gary Eufemio and Coach Jim Saret so you know you’re well taken care of. Click HERE to read about it and for contact info.
6. Stretch. You should be doing this even if you don’t have any ITBS. Always stretch AFTER a run. For the ITBS, my favorite stretch is this: I stand with my left leg over the right leg. I stretch my left arm over my head reaching over to the right side. You’ll feel the stretch up to the hip. Do it again on the other side. I do this after every run. And, I also do it at home as often as I can. Click HERE for a visual.
7. Strength training. ITBS is caused my a muscle imbalance. Your ITB is tight because your VMO (inner thigh muscles) aren’t strong enough. So, with every step during a run, there’s an imbalance. You must strengthen the VMO to correct this. You can head to the gym and do some hip abductor exercises. Or you can purchase therabands and do the work at home.
8. Dry needling. This is my last resort if, after 2 weeks doing nos. 1 to 6, the ITB is still not budging. This is still a pretty controversial form of therapy; some say it works, some say it doesn’t. For me, it provided immediate relief from the tightness. I go to Dr. George Canlas’ clinic at Moro Lorenzo Sports Center in Ateneo. You’ll have to get a consult with him and ask if he would recommend dry needling for your case. Aspi is my go-to dry needling guy here. Click HERE to read my old article on Dry Needling.
With dry needling, the therapist pops a large needle directly into the tight muscles in your leg. You’ll feel like you’re being electrocuted; sometimes you’ll cringe and even cry because of the pain. It’s painful. (They say it makes PBA players cry!) Your muscles will be sore the following day. But, it can definitely rid all the tightness without the slow and painful strokes of a massage. The downside? The relief is temporary. Once you run again, the tightness will return.
So, guys and girls, that’s what I do to fight ITBS. Once you get ITBS, the battle doesn’t really end. Every time you up your mileage or train for a marathon, the symptoms reappear (well, at least for unlucky flatfooted me.) As a runner, you learn how to manage an injury wisely and keep it from preventing you to run. You gotta teach those injuries who’s boss!
I’m a sucker for spas and deep tissue massages. I also know the value of therapy and treatments for muscle tightness or injuries performed by licensed physical therapists. So, when I dropped by the new Sports Recovery Center on the 2nd floor of Riovana in Bonifacio High Street, I thought I had died and gone to runner’s heaven.
The new Riovana Sports Recovery Center recently opened to service athletes, specifically runners. It’s a spa and clinic in one. While most of us visit a doctor’s clinic only when we’re already injured, the Riovana Sports Recovery Center hopes to change all that by espousing the value of preventive maintenance: getting treatments done even before injury. Simply put, it’s the place to go for pre-race conditioning or post-race recovery treatment, or just to give your body a treat after regular training.
IT’S A PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER
Owned and operated by MultiSportMatrix, a company with big names in the Philippine sports medicine scene, such as Dr. Gar Eufemio, Dr. Jun Rafanan, and Coach Jim Saret, the center is like the physical therapy area of a sports center with high-tech medical equipment, namely one of three cryo machines in the country, laser and ultrasound. They also offer sports massage, acupuncture by Dr. Philip Tan-Gatue, platelet rich plasma (yes, just like what Kobe and Tiger do!), hydration therapy / oxygen supplementation, kinesio taping, and stretching.
For injured runners, they recommend that you be assessed first in a clinic since the center is manned by nurses and physical therapists. Having said that, there will still be appearances by doctors as well as conditioning and running experts (need you ask who the running expert will be if it’s in RIOvana?!)
As for the staff, I must say that I was quite impressed. When I entered the center, they were very warm and accommodating; they welcomed me with smiles, explained each service, and answered all my questions. I heard the staff—most have a background in nursing or physical therapy and are athletes themselves— were hand picked by Dr. Eufemio himself. With such wonderful and professional personnel like that to spend a full hour or more of treatment with, I felt very comfortable and at ease.
IT’S A SPA
The center is clean, air-conditioned, and spacious enough for each of the beds in a cubicle. There are around six rooms in the center, two of which can be opened and converted into a couple’s room. There’s a room for stretching and another for acupuncture. There’s also a clean shower room for runners who wish to undergo treatments after a run. During the session, there’s relaxing music playing in the background, much like those in spas.
Riovana Sports Recovery Center offers the following treatments:
De Luxe Package……….P1000.00
I. For the lower back and both lower extremities
II. For the neck, upper back and both upper extremities
Includes the following:
– Ultrasound/Laser Therapy – Helps decrease inflammation and increase flexibility
– Sports Massage
– Full Body Stretch
– Cryo-therapy – This literally “freezes the pain away…”
° Additional P50 for every modality in excess
De Luxe Packages I and II combined!
Couples Package……….10% discount
Come in with a partner and get 10% off
For Patients with a Physical Therapy Referral……….P500.00 (for the first body part)
Inclusive of all modalities and exercises
° Additional P50 for every modality in excess
Full Body, Approximately 30 minutes
– Pre-pay for 6 sessions and get 10% off
– Pre-pay for 10 sessions and get 2 sessions free
– Combine any package with acupuncture and get 20% off
Thanks to Dr. Eufemio, I got to try a complimentary Elite Package last week. Dianne, a license physical therapist and an athlete herself, took care of me for almost an hour and a half. The Elite Package usually takes 2 hours, but due to my hectic schedule, Dianne and I focused on certain areas, particularly my shins, big toes, and Neuromas, instead.
We started with the Ultrasound, a non-invasive and no-pain treatment where Diane placed gel on my skin and used a contraption to decrease inflammation and improve flexibility. This was actually very relaxing. This was followed by the Laser therapy where I pointed out specific areas that were painful or tight. Dianne said this could reduce the nodules in muscles much like what a deep tissue massage would do but without the screaming and yelling.
I thought I escaped a deep tissue massage, but it was the third service in the package. Dianne massaged my shins, ITB, and foot, areas that I pointed out needed releasing. If you’re not in a rush, you can have a full body deep tissue massage. It’s part of the package.
Next, we used the Cryo machine, one out of only 3 cryo machines in the Philippines. This was my favorite! It works like an ice pack on your body, but reduces the time from the usual 10 minutes to 3 minutes and without the mess. It feels cold, but completely relaxing too.
Dianne would’ve ended the entire treatment with stretching, but I had to rush out to pick up the kiddos in school. So, I passed on the treatment and yet, I felt like I had the works done. I felt completely rejuvenated and my muscles were relaxed and loose. I felt so great I was tempted to do a tempo run that evening, but I decided against it.
Thumbs up to the Riovana Sports Recovery Center. It’s a novel idea that promotes proper care and therapy for athlete’s bodies to prevent injury and allow us to perform at our best at all times. The fact that it is backed by top sports and medical experts and manned by knowledgeable and accommodating staff who go out of their way to provide the best service in a comfortable, relaxing setting makes a visit well worth it. The facilities are clean and well-equipped, price is reasonable, and the location is convenient and accessible. Perhaps the only downside I foresee is that it will be hard to set an appointment when the rest of the world hears about this gem of a place for relaxation and recovery secretly hidden atop Riovana Running Store.
Riovana Sports Recovery Center
Mezzanine Level, Active Fun Bldg., 9th Ave. cor. 28th St. Bonifacio Global City
Open from 10am to 9pm daily