Benefits of Pilates for Runners

1 Many runners are unaware of the importance of a strong core, which in a bio-mechanical sense is the anchor of your running technique. Without it, running form and technique tend to go out the window when you’re tired and that can lead to stress related injuries. But if you hit the Pilates mat, your centre and indeed everywhere else, will be strengthened, physically and metaphorically. When doing Pilates, you are constantly engaging your core. You may think you run mainly with your legs, but you also use your psoas muscle (lower abdomens). Having a strong core is key, especially when running uphill, so your lower back doesn’t take over.

How can you benefit from pilates?

  1. A stronger core, back and pelvis are the main rewards, as well as increased flexibility, strength and range of movement. The emphasis is on defining and strengthening key muscle areas and if you do it properly, you can really feel the burn.
  2. Pilates photoRunning is performing the same movement over and over. This receptive motion leads to overdeveloped muscles such as the quadriceps, but also leads to weak and tight underdeveloped muscles such as the hamstring and gluts. With pilates exercises, we can strengthen the back-side of the leg and supporting hip muscles. This corrects muscle imbalances and therefore makes the legs stronger and able to handle more exertion!
  3. An improved posture is often the result for people who do Pilates regularly, as it makes you aware of how you stand, walk and sit and a stronger core supports a straighter spine. All of these factors will reduce susceptibility to injury when the miles start to stack up.
  4. A lot of coaches talk of the importance of breathing properly. Many runners breathe from the chest, especially when they pick up the pace, when really they should be breathing from the diaphragm. Pilates teaches deep diaphragmatic breathing, which will help your breathing pattern and rhythm in your running.
  5. In terms of your lower body your knees take a hammering when you train regularly. But Pilates can help here by strengthening the quads and hip abductors, which support the knee and hips when you run. Anything that you can do to strengthen weak areas will help prevent injury and ultimately provide greater running power.
  6. A lot of runners talk about greater flexibility in muscles and joints after they‘ve regularly attended a Pilates class and the fact that there can be a resistance element, really helps toning and sculpting of certain areas, especially those abs.
  7. You can clear your mind too, perhaps not in the same way as a yoga class which tends to focus more on re-establishing your relationship with your spiritual core, but certainly enough to leave refreshed and reinvigorated. If you have been using it as an active recovery session, you won’t be disappointed and your body will soon start to show the signs of a Pilates tone.

How can pilates decrease a flare-up of IT Band injuries or prevent any other type of injury?

If there is weakness in the hip, it can present itself as pain in the knee. Runners and cyclists tend to have a very weak gluteus medius (bottom muscle!) which is the primary cause of IT band issues. When the gluteus medius is weak, we recruit other small muscle groups around the hips, like the Tensor Fasciae Latae. That muscle is not meant to do all of the work during running. When that muscle is weak and asked to carry the full load, inflammation and injury occur. By strengthening the gluts and back of the leg, pilates reduces injury and improves running efficiency.

One leg circleWhy not give ONE LEG CIRCLE a go || This is perfect for runners, however it looks deceptively easy but is challenging when performed correctly! To perform this exercise in this position perform knee circles away then towards your body. The goal is to lengthen your leg away from your center to open the hip joint and keep your quadriceps out of the equation which will help you gain the most benefits from this exercise. By finding the balance of engaging the abdominals, pelvic floor and low back simultaneously you will improve torso stability which will consequently allow greater hip mobility.

We currently run pilates classes at Kingswood Health Centre these include lunchtime classes. If you are interested in joining or finding out more information please contact us on 0117 961 2060 or

Do Sports Massages benefit recreational as well as elite athletes?

Have you ever wondered why a sports therapist is an integral part of an athlete’s entourage from tennis players, cyclists to marathon runner’s? Professional athletes have been using the science behind a sports massage for years in fields where peak performance means everything. So what is the secret and how can we all benefit from this?

Sport Massage

Sports Massage is not just simply poking and prodding already strained muscles but a deep soft tissue massage therapy and has many benefits for the elite to the recreational athlete.

Does it actually work?

 Yes..depending on when you have the sports massage will vary your goal…

Pre-Event – Generally advised 30mins -2hours prior to an event, quick, light strokes and techniques are used to excite the nervous system to promote responsiveness, increase blood flow carrying oxygen and nutrients to the muscle fibers. This allows you to be confident that your performance is being enhanced and many add it to their pre-event routine.

Post-Event- Deeper, slower strokes encourages further blood flow to the muscles and encourages the removal of lactic acid and waste products. Post event stretching and massage promotes faster recovery time and reduced risk of injury. In fact recent research by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that it reduces the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

How will it help my training?

Train more efficiently; recover quicker, with fewer injuries…

As part of a training schedule, regular sports massage therapy is highly beneficial. Niggles from training can be addressed at an early stage preventing further more serious injury, muscle lengthening and assisted stretch can improve flexibility and blood flow is increased bringing with it fresh oxygen and removing built up waste. The pressure applied from a massage softens the fascia tissue making the muscles relax, as well as decreasing the adhesions that can be created during training where the fascia and muscles stick thus decreasing flexibility. General performance can be improved as the therapist works with you to achieve your goals.

In our opinion a sports massage is an integral part of any training plan from training in the gym, regular cyclists and tennis players to those of you already training for the London Marathon 2015.

By Kelly Palmer, Sports Therapist, Action Potential Clinic, Kingswood, Bristol. Follow Kelly and other members of the clinic on twitter and Facebook.

Acute Injury Management

By Hannah Longega, Physiotherapist, Action Potential Clinic, Kingswood. Follow Hannah and other members of the clinic

Congratulations if you were one of the 12,000 people who took part in this year’s Bristol 10k. Whilst we sincerely hope you feel fantastic and haven’t injured yourself on the way round, here are our top tips of what you can do to help yourself on the way to recovery if you have felt that dreaded twinge today.

Bristol 10K


Whilst most people have heard of PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) for management of acute injuries you may not have heard of POLICE. This latest acronym has resulted from research by Bleakley et al 2012 who have suggested this update on finding that complete rest for a prolonged period may be harmful.


Use braces, bandages, tape etc. to protect your injury whilst it heals. Exactly which option you use depends on the injury and so it can make it difficult to decide which one to go for, so speak to your health care professional if you are at all uncertain. In short this step helps prevent the injury from receiving too much loading in this early stage, which can lead to more damage being created.

Optimal Loading:

Optimal loading has replaced rest in this acronym.

 What does it mean?

It means avoiding movements in the direction of the injury or any strenuous activity involving the injured part at this early stage. Then as you recover progressively increasing the load that you put through the area.

 Why has it replaced rest?

  • It has been found that too much rest can lead to joint stiffness, muscle weakness and tightness.
  • Optimal loading has been found to restore strength and the structure of the injured area and to stimulate healing.
  • The right amount of activity can also help decrease swelling by using the muscle for instance the calf to move the swelling up the body when they contract.

However, the amount of loading put through the area varies depending on the injury so seek help from a healthcare professional if you’re at all in doubt. As a general rule of thumb do as much as you feel able but don’t push through the pain.


As a general rule apply ice to the injured area for 10-20 minutes wrapping it in a damp, clean tea towel.

A few precautions with ice:

  • Do not apply to a numb area or an open wound
  • Take care not to get ice burn. So don’t apply ice directly to the skin, or leave it on for a prolonged period of time.


Make use of tubigrip or kinesiotape in order to prevent further swelling. In the clinic when we use tubigrip we tend to apply a double layer making sure that although the area feels compressed it is not painful and that there is good circulation below the bandage. We tend to recommend taking the bandage off at night for comfort.

We also make use of kinesiotape and have seen some great results including when Jake Hayes (chiropractor) injured his ankle training for the London Marathon this year. Whilst he had to take time out of his training the tape helped him back on track to run London in 2:43!



If you are unsure about how to apply this, seek advice from your healthcare professional.


This can be an effective way to decrease the pain and the swelling.




The London Marathon Experience

Jake Hayes, is a senior chiropractor at Action Potential Clinic, Bristol. Follow Jake and other members of the clinic

Have you ever wondered what its like to run the London Marathon? We sat down to find out with Jake Hayes (Action Potential Clinic, chiropractor) who has done just that a whopping 7 times!


What was it like running the London Marathon?

It was a wonderful experience! At times it was very hard as it was hot this year. However, it is a fantastically supported event to be part of, with thousands of people lining the race there is literally not a hundred meters without people. This can be a little overwhelming due to the volume of people and the amount of noise that they generate. However, they provide fantastic support and really drive you on which keeps you motivated. I don’t run with my name on my vest anymore but if you do, you get what feels like 600,000 people shouting your name all the way which, feels pretty amazing!

What keeps you motivated when you are running such a long way?

If it’s a training run what keeps you motivated is the bigger picture. If you want to do something to the best of your ability then you need to put the time in. Apart from the fact that you enjoy it and you are out in the fresh air. Often at times training motivation for me is a bit of time to yourself, you can think about things and you see interesting things that you wouldn’t usually see.

In the actual run it is quite different, the motivation is to run as fast as you can whilst being quite disciplined – constantly checking your speed and your pace, checking runners around you and how are you feeling in terms of being relaxed, good posture, good running form. You check the runners around you to ensure you are following the racing line – to ensure that you are running as short a distance as you possible have to! You may recognise people around you and together you can share the load much like cyclists do.

I have always found a marathon a race of two halves, the first being relatively easy due to the excitement, seeing landmarks such as tower bridge, cutty sark and of course all the people lining the route. It feels amazing to run past the landmarks that you have seen on TV. However, you run over Tower Bridge and then you realise that you are only half way around. Up to this point you tend to run on a bit of a cloud of excitement and adrenaline, then at this point the adrenaline starts to go and it becomes a numbers game of how many miles you have left to run.

What was involved in the training for the marathon?

I follow a specific training plan by Pfitzinger and Douglas called Advanced Marathoning, this is a well recognised marathon training plan. This was an 18-week training plan that involved running between 55 and 70 miles per week (approximately 10 hours per week of training).

Fundamentally, to run a marathon you have to run distance, so one long run per week. You build up the distance covered during this run and should aim to run at least a couple of 20 mile runs in the training programme. Within the last 3 weeks you generally taper down the amount of miles you run. In my programme the pace and distance varied daily from 5-20 miles. This included tempo runs that are fast and short, longer and slower runs for endurance, interval training, track runs and 5k runs which are for speed, strength and psychological strengthening.

What are you high points from the marathon?

Ultimately, it is always a fantastic feeling of achievement to cross the finish line. You have put in a long training plan of 3-4 months on average and it is a long journey. Often initially this is a journey that you don’t know if you will be able to complete, as you don’t know if you can run 26 miles, as you won’t do this number of miles in training.

Also, seeing friends and family in the crowd, I’m lucky that I get to see my family 4 – 5 times around the route. Running past the landmarks that you have seen on the TV. from being a child is also a high point.

What tips would you give to anyone who wants to have a go at running London?

Start something simple by running short distances. It is a marathon and not a sprint! If you really want to do it, running a marathon is a big undertaking and is not to be taken lightly.

You need to see whether you enjoy running enough, and if you are physically capable of running well enough which, you won’t necessarily know to begin with, so just start by running two to three times per week for 20 minutes. You could walk and run, alternating just so you can build up your fitness.

Expect it to take time! It took me a year to train to do a sub 3-hour marathon, now because I run all the time it doesn’t take me, as long to reach the level of fitness required for this time

Remember to enjoy it!

by Hannah Longega, Physiotherapist, Action Potential Clinic, Kingswood

Running Tips for Beginners


Do you want to have a go at running (having never thought about it before)? If so, then check out our tips for beginners….

Young couple run together on a sunset

1.Start with the right kit! ‘Get good shoes, go to your local running shop such as Easy Runner (, Moti (, or Up and Running ( for expert advice on correct shoes for you, they don’t need to be expensive but they must be a good fit. This will help prevent injury and be more comfortable’ says Jake Hayes (Chiropractor and London Marathon veteran!)

Otherwise, running clothing should basically be comfortable you don’t need to have all the branded gear. Whilst it’s always great to have nice and shiny new gear, it really isn’t necessary for running.

2. Start gently, 20 minutes 3x per week is fine. Break it into run/walk as a good way to start, and then build up gradually. This will help it feel achievable and enjoyable.

3. If you are carrying an injury it is worth getting it checked out by your GP or a health professional before you start. This way you’ll be pain free when you start.

4. Warm up/cool down. Whilst there is some debate over this area, it will make sure you feel better in the hours after the run and as such we strongly recommend it. It will also make you body feel more comfortable when running. Cooling down isn’t just about static stretches make sure that you walk for a couple of minutes to allow your heart rate to gradually slow back down. Then focus on static stretches i.e. those you hold for 30 seconds. In particular focus on your legs, these are the areas that typically stiffen up post run.

5. Run with friends or a group. There are lots of people running nowadays, having company is a great motivator and distraction! Local clubs such as Bitton Road Runners ( have beginners groups and a wealth of experience to benefit from; running clubs cater for all abilities not just for the elite.

6. Have a target or a desire, pick something achievable like a Parkrun – a free weekly 5km race, locally we have Ashton Court, Little Stoke, Mangotsfield/Pomphrey Hill and Chipping Sodbury ( Maybe then aim higher, local races such as the Bristol 10k and the Bristol Half Marathon ( can give you a taste of the big city races or if you prefer  for something more local and lower key there is the Bitton 5k summer series held monthly at Bitton Station ( .

 Otherwise think about why you want to get out running it could be as simple as to get some time away from the stresses of daily life. Everyone will have a different reason but do keep it in mind; this will make it easier to keep running.

7. Enjoy it! Running is a natural activity, we all run at some time in our lives, it is a great way to get fit, lose weight and is good for our overall wellbeing – it costs very little to benefit from the ‘running high’.

Feeling inspired? How to enter the London Marathon 2015


It’s not easy to get a place running in the London Marathon, as we hear in clinic from you guys. So to point you in the right direction here are the main ways you can use to enter:


  1. The Online ballot for the London Marathon 2015 ( will open on 22 April 2014. Last year 125,000 entries were received within 11 hours. It is expected that this year 125,000 people will be allowed to enter before the ballot closes. Successful entries will be notified in October.
  2. Race for a charity. Charities are allocated ‘Gold Bond’ places. To get one of these you’ll have to pledge to raise around £2000, this is because the charities themselves will have had to pay an entry fee for each runner. To find out more, and to browse a list of participating charities, check out the Virgin London Marathon Charity Listings (
  3. Have you entered previously? If you’ve completed the marathon in a fast time previously there’s a chance you could qualify for an automatic ‘good for age’ entry. For men aged 18-40 this is between 2h45 and 3h05, and for women aged 18-40 it’s 3h15 – 3h45. If you are quicker than this you can qualify for the UK Athletics Championship entry, otherwise qualifying times increase for older age categories
  4. Did you pull out this year? If you did you may be eligible for a fast track re-entry. Entries must be in by 5pm on June 20, 2014. Click on this link for further information:


Jake will be applying for his 8th London Marathon through the third route. Hopefully, some of you will be able to join him there next year!



So just what is podiatry/chiropody?

ImagePodiatry (also known as chiropody) is the diagnosis and treatment by podiatrists (chiropodists) of diseases and other disorders of the feet. They can be thought of as like a foot doctor. Podiatrists are highly skilled health professionals who have been trained to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs. They also prevent and correct deformity, keep people mobile and active, relieve pain and treat infections. It is also perfect those who just simply can’t reach their feet!

 You may want to see a podiatrist for advice and treatment if you have painful feet, thickened or discoloured toenails, cracks or cuts in the skin, growths such as warts, scaling or peeling on the soles or any other foot-related problem.

 Podiatrists can also supply orthotics, which are tailor-made insoles, padding and arch supports to relieve arch or heel pain. You put the orthotic device into your shoe to re-align your foot, take pressure off vulnerable areas of your foot or simply to make your shoes more comfortable.

 Even if your feet are generally in good condition, you might consider having a single session of podiatry to have the hard skin on your feet removed, toenails clipped, to find out if you’re wearing the right shoes (take your shoes with you for specific advice on footwear) or just to check that you’re looking after your feet properly.

 Podiatrists are highly trained professionals registered by the Health Professionals Council (HCPC) that have trained solely in the area of the foot and lower limb for several years. In order to become an HCPC registered practitioner a podiatrist will have undertaken and passed a full time degree in podiatry at one of thirteen schools of podiatry within the UK or will have met stringent entrance criteria set by the HCPC

 Treatments Available from a Podiatrist

  • Nail care
  • Callous removal
  • Treatment of corns
  • Debridement of (but not active treatment of verrucas)
  • Advice on skin and nail conditions such as athlete’s foot.
  • Postural / ergonomic correction
  • Biomechanical analysis and correction
  • Assessment and care of the diabetic foot.

If you would like further information or to book a consultation, please contact the clinic on 0117 961 2060 or

Free Advisory Consultation

As the world of back, muscle and joint pain and its treatment can be a complex and confusing subject. At Action Potential we offer a FREE 15 minute advisory consultation, to see whether we can help.

This gives us the opportunity to advise you of the likely cause of your problem and whether or not chiropractic would be able to assist in your recovery.