ZC sports therapy

Training & Nutrition blog

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“What exactly do you do?”…

Today I was asked, “What exactly do you do?” If you come to me with an injury or persistent nagging pain, I will look to the cause of the problem and treat. I don’t go in for patch up jobs that leave you coming back week after week, month after month. I work in a dynamic and interactive way, using a wide variety of soft tissue techniques, stretching, sports strapping and taping, foot mobilisations and medical acupuncture.

Working with you, I can advise on rehab and what you can do to keep on enjoying the sport or exercise that you love. Far more than just massage, I’ll look at the biomechanics and functionality of your body. No patch up jobs. No unnecessary repeat visits.

The race season is nearly upon us, again. Nagging injuries, nag for a reason. Please don’t ignore the red flags.

Listen to your body.



Zigzagging up Hamburger Hill

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So when I saw the runner trotting up Newtimber Hill on the South Downs on Sunday, I noticed he was zigzagging his way up the hill.

Curious. I’ve heard of zigzagging down a step hill to save your knees. I’ve heard of cyclists using this method on a really steep incline, but also in running?

I am more than happy to ask anyone and everyone who knows more than me, about technique. I tend to use the experience of having an epic fail happen to me in one form or another, in order to learn. I tell myself it makes me stronger. Ha.

I tried the zig zag approach today on my hill reps, east side of the Brighton Marina. A 200 metre or so path leading from the sea to the cliff top. Surprisingly nasty in the legs.

I alternated each rep between run straight up and run in a wide-angle zig zag.

Each time I used the zig zag method my time on average was 9 seconds faster. Over 200 metres, I think that’s quite a lot. The intensity in my legs felt less as well. Quite amazed.

If anyone wants to give me the low down on whether this is a tried and tested technique please feel free to drop me a line. I appreciate in some trail paths you just couldn’t do this, but on wider more grass inclines, you could.

Aptly named ‘Hamburger Hill’ because McDonald’s is just round the corner in the Marina,the pics are of the ramp that I’ve press ganged quite a few like-minded runners into joining me on training sessions.They love me for it.
Hamburger Hill

Marina East ramp

Massive kit failure

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Yesterdays run was yet another lesson learnt in kit and the importance of getting the right kit.

The weather wasn’t terrible. It was cold, misty but the main issue was the wind, and it’s chill factor. 15 miles from Stanmer Park up to the Beacon, over the Dyke, out to Truleigh Hill and back to the Dyke. No problem. I had a few extra bits that I’d sourced to make my journey for comfortable and professional. Liquid and nutrition was all sorted, new Christmas present to myself some lovely Salomon Speedcross 3’s, and off I went.

The wind up on the ridge of the South Downs Way was absolutely brutal. It was an “Oh my God I cannot stop running whatever happens it’s so effing cold!” moment.

Beginning the run up the 211 metre nemesis of Newtimber Hill I saw another runner, who could only say as he trotted past me “The wind”….

10 miles in and despite having a very good base layer, the running jacket I was wearing had successfully managed to trap all the moisture from my body cooling my core temperature to what felt like not very much at all. It was highly unpleasant.

Only the day before I’d been speaking to a friend who was coming to grips with that fact she was going to have to fork out a couple of hundred quid for a proper trail running jacket. Not the sport fashion label gear you get on the high street, a taped seams, specific mountain marathon approved jacket. One that inflated into a zeppelin if you got into trouble and airlifted you off the trails to the nearest pub. Or at least it should do for £200!

If I’d had £200 on me at that moment and there happened to be a shop up on one of the hills, I’d have happily picked one up proclaiming it was the best thing to happen to me in my life, ever.

Massive running jacket kit failure lesson learnt. OMM Kamleika jacket on the wish list.

I’d also like to take this opportunity at moaning to anyone who will listen, about the fact there is not a lot of decent kit made for women who want to run trail/mountain marathons/ultras. Fine for the guys, loads of choice. But not for us. Please do something about that. I may send a tweet to a couple of brands that have a plethora on offer for the guys but not much as far as I can see for the lasses. And just because I’m female it does not mean I want to wear a pink jacket. Got that.

The salt tablets I was trying out worked well. The broken colon held up pretty well. It was probably in shock at how cold it was and so decided not to utter a whimper!

Last thing. Straps, tabs, buckles….why oh why do they make so many of them on a running pack? All I can see are bits flapping about in the wind and no matter how I shackle, tie, knot, tuck, get annoyed with, there’s always still something in my eye line flapping about. Maybe along with the very expensive mountain marathon specific running jacket come zeppelin, the straps are a part of the aircraft and are meant to flap about?

Next week 19 miles. Lets see what happens to me then!

The pic below is what I call the ‘Valley of Agonal Breathing’. It’s the Devils Dyke valley. There used to be a railway that took people up it! I tend to put it in at the end of my run to take my mind off the freezing cold state of my being, replacing it with a lactic acid Valley of Agonal Breathingvomit inducing burn in the legs instead.

Happy days.

Stair Run of Agonal Breathing

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Along the Brighton seafront is a staircase 70 steps high. It has 70 steps down the other side with a 10 metre flat ‘landing’ in the middle. Also widely used for training. It’s hilarious to see runners of Brighton bounding up and down this concrete chaos. Some are brave/stupid/crazy enough to do kettle bell swings at the top and Spiderman press ups at the bottom. That’s just too vomit inducing.

10 reps = 700 steps. Use the other side of the staircase to stagger down in a form of ‘recovery’.



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So this year I have decided to concentrate more on trail running and really conquering the hills and, being good at them! There’s a lot of technique involved in running up and especially downhill. Races have been lost and won on the downhill. I remember the Cheddar Gorge Half, being overtaken by hoards of runners as they flipped themselves down the slippery wet clay decent seemingly without a fear in the world.

The only way to get good at trails, is to do them. When the weather is howling and the conditions underfoot are appalling, all the better. Although my Achilles have taken a battering from all the mud and trying to pick my way through!

One thing I’ve come to realise is KIT is very important. When you’re up on the South Downs for hours, you need to be wearing and have the right kit. Being wet through and freezing cold is no joy when you have another 10 miles to go. Food and what you eat during, has also become more important. No water stations and portaloos. Take everything you need with you. You’re on your own. Which is why I love the trails.

The Longman will be the first run this year. 18.5 miles over the South Downs. A build up for longer runs later in the year perhaps? I’m no Ultra runner and my diverticulitis (broken colon) means running a very long way, probably isn’t a good idea. There is big kudos attached to running further than a marathon distance. I’m not sure it makes you a better runner or athlete. You enter the realms of a certain breed of creature with stamina and determination more than most possess. But whether we should all aspire to run longer and longer distances, I’m not sure. The couple from Oz who ran a marathon a day for a year. What’s next?!

Training has to be specific with lots of leg weights and hill training, done on the same day so an experienced PT from Brighton tells me. The same day? Yes, obliterate the legs in one go. Makes for better hill running. Okay. Right. Um.

There is a hill in Brighton which is a renowned hill runners delight. I say delight. Most people tend to swear about it. I ran with a guy who was training for a 50 mile. He walked up every hill we came to. Not sure I could do that, it would take forever and be too much of an onslaught stopping and starting.

Set the metronome and just keep going!

If you see me on the South Downs looking lost, it usually means I am!