How do I strengthen my ankles for trail running?

How do I strengthen my ankles for trail running?

This is Ask Coach Parry and today we have a question from Uzwile Mthimkulu. He says he always gets injured in his ankles, especially when he trains on the hills and in the mountains and during trail running events.

He wants to know if there is any advice for that? He also wants to know if you have any advice on preferred nutrition when running long?

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Brad Brown: This is Ask Coach Parry and today we have a question from Uzwile Mthimkulu. He says he always gets injured in his ankles, especially when he trains on the hills and in the mountains and during trail running events.

He wants to know if there is any advice for that? He also wants to know if you have any advice on preferred nutrition when running long?

Lindsey Parry: In terms of helping to protect those ankles from turning, you need to work on your proprioception. If you train in a gym, most gyms have got either stability pads or little hedgehogs or bosu balls.

Take your shoes off and get onto those stability pads and you stand for 30 – 60 seconds on each leg balancing. You will feel that you feel very unstable in the beginning, but the more you do it the more stable those ankles will become.

Then once it becomes easy, let someone throw tennis balls or something at you that you need to catch so that it distracts you again and makes that surface feel very unstable again. Then finally you do it with your eyes closed.

As soon as you remove the visual stimulus, once again you will feel that you become very unstable. Once you have got much stronger more stable ankles, you will also be better at stopping your ankle before it gets passed that point where you’re going to injure it when you are running trails or hills.

Of course if you have turned and damaged those ankles a few times now you will also need to strengthen the muscles in the ankles. You will need to get yourself a stretch cord or theraband or something similar.

And do some pushing your foot away – pulling your foot towards you type exercises. But I would highly recommend you see a biokineticist or at the very least a personal trainer in a gym, to figure that out.

If you don’t have access to a gym, then at home take 2 or 3 or 4 pillows – the more pillows you stack up the more unstable it will be – and you can also balance on that without shoes. That will do similar to what the stability pad or hedgehogs would do.

What about nutrition?

As a final bit of advice for preferred nutrition: For longer stuff and particularly when you are doing multi day events, you want to make sure that you take in nutrition regularly throughout the day. You want to get in between 60 and 90 grams carbohydrates per hour.

Of course some of those 90g’s you may make up for immediately after exercise by having a really good meal. But while you are on the move certainly at least 60g’s an hour from a variety of sources; gels, energy drinks, biscuits, peanuts, little sandwiches and that sort of thing.

Because generally trail running intensity is lower and it is much easier to eat solid food.

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