Too often we know or sadly are a player or athlete who keeps getting continually injured in the summer months during the championship/racing season. The hamstring goes,we suffer another ankle injury etc. The consequence is that we miss the crucial time when we need to build fitness and form. Here are three things we can do to try prevent this happening this year when races come around. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a person get ready for a half marathon for example and then they get an injury a couple of weeks before it that ruins all the months or hard training and preparation. Avoid this scenario this year by following three key steps;

Get conditioned

For hurling the key is to put in about 3 weeks of steady, easy runs during the off season. You should then progress to short runs to the 45m line and back in 20 seconds and then 20 second breaks. This is called Maximum Aerobic Speed. It builds the amount of running you can do without building lactic acid which can break down muscle. You should try get up to 5 minutes of this MAS training and then take 5 minutes easy jog and try to repeat 2 more times. Try to continue this type of session at least twice per week all the way up to championship, even when the intensity has to increase. You should then add match play early on to help get the specific fitness you will need in the summer months.

For runners the same logic applies. Do at least three weeks of easy runs progressing the distance and speed by about 10% each week. Then we need to add tempo runs 2 X 10 minutes at a pace where you can only say one sentence before needing a breath. Additionally, we should do farklek type sessions. Farklek are sessions where you vary the pace for a 30 or 40 minute run. Run hard for times of 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 15 seconds, 1 minute. The distance that you run for is pretty random but whatever time you run for just run easy for that time as a recovery. Once you have done 2 or 3 weeks of this type of work you are ready for track sessions and specific sessions linked to your 5k or 10k or marathons.

Make sure you are moving well

I recommend a functional screening here. This is a specific analysis which assesses the way you move so that you can highlight your weak links and give you simple exercises to correct these faults. Every person should be able to move through their full range of motion in a controlled manner. This creates a foundation to allow you to move easy with no restrictions. There have been a number of studies that have found that those who move better have less chance of injury over a season and are able to train at a higher quality and quantity than those with poor movement patterns. If you ignore good technique or the way you move it may be setting yourself up for trouble. If you do not try to improve the way you move and just purely focus on getting stronger, fitter or faster, then you may be building fitness on dysfunction. It is like building a house without a solid foundation. Yes you will be able to build it but how long will it last before you run into trouble. It is the same with our bodies, without a good foundation, we can build a good fitness but we may run into trouble as we continually try to train harder and get closer to our key races or matches.

The two main areas I would say are crucial to get moving correctly are the ankles and the hips. Try do calf stretches and basic hip stretches to improve this.

In association with the Kilkenny People and Kilkenny Fit for Life, I will be running a one hour workshop on Functional Screening in three weeks time. The workshop will require a five euro donation to St Vincent de Paul. It will be a practical workshop and will hopefully give you identify some of your weak links and what exercises you can do to fix them. If you feel the workshop was not worth 10 times your donation to SVP then I will personally pay your donation no questions asked. There will be limited availability for the workshop so email if you are interested.

The third step is to get your recovery right and I will do a separate article on this in the coming weeks


Weekly column with Eoin Everard, Kilkenny Chartered Physiotherapist

In the last article we talked about the idea that training ‘stresses’ the body. We discussed that stress is needed to ensure we constantly improve. Here is the link in case you missed it

This week’s article is all about varying the stress we apply to our body. If I run or work out at the same intensity, for the same amount of time all the time do you think I will continue to improve? No. Your body gets used to the training or stress you apply to the body.

How does this apply to your training? Well most people, like my friends in Newcastle tend to start by doing the same training again and again. They run the SAME distance at the SAME pace every time they train. They wonder why after a few races they keep getting the SAME results.

We need to change up the training type to change up the results! Don’t keep putting the same stress on the body. Vary it and your fitness will come on leaps and bounds. I will discuss 3 training types that I think will really help. Here is a simple template for a person doing 3 10k (6 mile) runs per week.

  • Do one longer run at a slower pace than normal. Doing a longer run than the distance you intend to race is a great way to increase your aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity simply is your ability to use the oxygen you take in when you exercise. Doing longer sessions can help increase your ability to use oxygen more efficiently when you run, which will help you a lot in the shorter distances. Only progress the distance by 10% each week as was discussed in last weeks article.
  • Do one shorter distance run at a ‘one sentence’ pace. This is a rough introduction to what we call tempo runs. This is roughly the pace you would run a 10k (if you are fitter this might be more half marathon pace). What I mean by ‘one sentence’ pace is this, you should run at a pace where if you were talking to a person you would be able to say one sentence before you would have to get your breath. If you are on a run and you can talk continuously on this run, you are not running hard enough. If you cannot talk at all due to having to breathe so hard, then you are going too quick. I would recommend doing a very easy warm up jog of 10 minutes. Stretch. Then try 2 x 10 minutes at this tempo pace with 2 minutes between each 10 minute effort. Getting used to running hard for a prolonged period will really help you when racing at this pace.
  • Finally, try to do one interval session per week. Interval sessions are sessions where you run shorter distances at quicker than race pace with a short recovery. Generally we can start with a 1:2 ratio. This is whatever time or distance we run hard for we have a break of the half that time or distance. The break that we take allows you to go quicker for each repetition than you could in a race. If you were used to running 10k in your runs, I would recommend maybe starting with 5 times 1000metres. For simplicity, let’s say you can run a 10k race in 50 minutes. This is 1k in 5 minutes. Start by running 1k in 5 minutes and take a 2 and half minute rest afterwards. Repeat this four more times. If you feel the 5 minutes is a little too easy then move down to 4 minutes 50 seconds. Soon you will be running your K reps so much quicker than your race pace!

By trying this type of training you will be so much more prepared for your 10k race. With the interval running, you will find the first few kilometres of the race slow because you are used to going a lot faster. You should be able to continue with your good pace near the end because you have been working on the longer runs also.

This type of training is harder than just going out and doing the same thing over and over but I promise you it will give you better success in the summer races. Get out and train smart!!

For more information and tips on avoiding injury when running email


Check out the column every week with Chartered Physiotherapist Eoin Everard in the Kilkenny People

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

When I was doing my Masters in Newcastle a number of my friends decided to run a 10k. It was a great idea and they were all very motivated to start. When I asked them about their training for the event, their answers shocked me. They were just running the 10k distance 3 times per week. While 3 times per week is an excellent start, sadly, doing the same training again and again will not lead to big improvements. This article is broken into two sections that will revolutionise the results you get! Progression and Variation. Get these two elements right in your training and you will see massive jumps. Ignore it and well as the saying goes, If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”

Training- How to NOT Over do or Under do it.
Ok, why do we need to keep progressing our training. The problem is the body adapts very quickly to stress that is applied to it. What I mean by this is that your body will get used to running 10k at a certain speed or lifting a weight a certain amount of times. Think about the first time you went for a 3 mile run for example? That was a huge stress on the body, your lungs were burning and your heart was pounding. What made matters worse you legs were probably sore the next day too!! However, what happened after 3 weeks of doing your 3 mile runs? Were your legs as sore the next day? Were you out of breath? If you were still going the same pace the answer is probably not. Your body adapted to the stress and got fitter so it could cope better the next time. The graph below illustrates this point. We train hard, our fitness levels temporarily decrease, we rest for a day and recover. In this recovery stage our body adapts and progresses in a stage called supercompensation, which allows us to train and compete at a higher level than before.


So what does this mean for our training? Well unfortunately it means that we need to constantly progress our training as we need stress to improve. If we keep doing the same amount of training, our bodies become used to the stress so it does not tire us out. This means we stop stressing the body and stop improving as we never achieve that supercompensation phase.

Practically then how much should we progress? You should try increase the distance you run between 2.5 and 10% each week. If you are running a total of 10 miles in the first week, then increase this by 10%. The second week you should run 11 miles in total (10% of 10 is 1 so 10 +1= 11, sorry if that was completely obvious but I want to make sure everyone is following this). The next week we should add another mile so that we are running 12 miles per week. The third week we should be running 13 miles per week.

The fourth week is where it gets a little tricky. Yes we need to stress our bodies to improve but we also need to allow recovery periods. Too much stress may lead to break downs or injuries. Therefore, I recommend a 3:1 approach. That is you increase your training for 3 weeks by 10% and then on the fourth week you have an easy week and drop back to week 1. In our example, our athlete would only run 10 miles again in week 4. The next month I would start at 14 miles (technically it should be 14.3; 10% of 13 miles from week 3 but I wouldn’t get hung up on .3 of a mile!!). Here is an example of the first 6 weeks.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
11 12 13 10 14 15 16 14

Try this and you will constantly stress your body enough that you will see big results. Make sure you take that fourth week easy to allow yourself to completely recover.

Next week I will talk about what training to do so we are not constantly doing the same thing over and over.

For more information and tips on avoiding injury when running email


Improve your Speed on the pitch this summer- Eoin Everard

Weekly Column in the Kilkenny People. 

Speed Velocity

This article is for our runners and hurlers who think just doing a lot of sprinting will make you fast. WRONG. Becoming quick is much more complex than that. We are training students to have degrees in strength and conditioning because there is so much science behind what you have to do to get quick, strong, powerful AND STAY HEALTHY.

First step in getting you quicker, understand that speed does not come down to one thing. What stage of running are you struggling with? What do I mean? Well is it the first 10 metres that your man gets away from you, is it from 10 to 20 metres that other players are catching up or is it that your all out speed is not up to scratch? Maybe it’s all three!! I will answer how to work on all these questions (even if it is all 3). The first thing to recognise is that these 3 categories require different training to improve.

Slow off the mark (0-10 metres): This requires that you work on acceleration. Off the mark speed is all about FORCE. How much force can you push into the ground. How much force can your muscles generate. This requires that you get strong. Split squats, heavy squats and single leg deadlifts are good exercises to use here. The goal is to get your muscles to produce more force. Think about it like a car. This first stage is all about how much horse power you have. If you don’t have much horse power then it will be difficult to get your car to go fast.

Maximum speed (10-20 metres): In a 100m sprint this is phase is longer but for a match example this is generally seen running 10 to 20 metres. This portion is not about strength, you should have good strength from the last phase. This phase is about power, which is the ability to use your strength quickly. Your foot is only on the ground for split seconds and so you need to be able to generate force quickly. Think about our car, we might have a lot of horse power in the engine but if that horse power does not spin the wheels quickly then the car will not be that fast. To improve your power I recommend weighted squat jumps. Get into a squat position holding 2 10kg dumbbells, try jump as high as you can. Another great thing to do here is push a car (or sled at 12.5% your bodyweight if you have proper equipment) for 10 seconds. Both of these get you using the strength you have quickly. This will really improve your maximum speed capacity.

Finally maintaining speed: This is about putting it all together. In this phase it is about being specific. You should not really use weights in this phase. Instead do lighter sled runs, try to bound across a pitch or do 10 single leg hops each side and then into a sprint. You need to teach your body how to use the new strength you have given it.

In conclusion to improve your speed first you have to improve the capacity of the engine (maximum amount of strength you can generate). Then you have to improve the engine power output so that all the cylinders fire at once (generally through jumps with weight). Finally you need to make sure all the power from the engine converts to speed on the road.

For videos of the exercises mentioned in this article or for more information email and I will send them on to you.

New Research Claims Treating Back Pain Quickly and Effectively May Help Reduce Future Pain, Suffering, and Even Disability

If you have ever had low back pain, then you will find this information very useful… especially if you do not want your back pain to come back!

New research published in the Journal of Pain (a peer-reviewed publication of the American Pain Society) indicates that pain severity during an episode of back pain is correlated with future pain and disability.

The authors of the study write, “After six months, the results showed that baseline pain intensity was associated with a 12 percent higher risk for developing chronic low back pain and patient beliefs that pain would persist conveyed a 4 percent risk increase. After five years, baseline pain intensity yielded a 9 percent increased risk for chronic pain, while believing that pain would persist had increased the risk by 6 percent.”

According to Science Daily: “The authors noted that their research confirms previous studies concluding that baseline pain intensity is a key predictor of future pain and disability.

“Clinically, the study confirms that effective pain relief in the initial management of low-back pain has implications for long-term improvement.”

Based on this research, it is clear that all back pain should be taken seriously and treated appropriately because treating back pain quickly and effectively may help reduce future pain, suffering, and even disability.

Email or text 0852207889 for comprehensive treatment to fix your back pain quickly.

What About Preventing Back Pain?

If you want to prevent low back pain, then you must first understand its cause.  A 2008 study found that the majority of low back pain (97%) is mechanical in nature.  Mechanical low back pain is the general term that refers to any type of back pain caused by injury to the spinal structures (bones, ligaments, and disks, for example).

In other words, if you have low back pain, the odds are the cause is NOT a tumor or anything life-threatening.  But… and this is a very big BUT… every case of low back pain should be evaluated by an appropriate physician to rule out non-mechanical causes.  This is why physios are trained in differential diagnosis to determine when low back pain is mechanical and when it is something more serious.

What Treatments Help Mechanical Low Back Pain?

Physiotherapy has been shown to be both safe and effective for the treatment of mechanical low back pain.  For example, a study published back in 1990 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) compared physio care to hospital outpatient treatment and found:  “Physiotherapy treatment was more effective than hospital outpatient management, mainly for patients with chronic or severe back pain.  A benefit of about 7% points on the Oswestry scale was seen at two years.  The benefit of physiotherapy treatment became more evident throughout the follow-up period.  Secondary outcome measures also showed that chiropractic was more beneficial.”

The study concluded, “For patients with low back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated, physiotherapy almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management. The benefit is seen mainly in those with chronic or severe pain.”

It is great that Physiotherapy care can help low back pain, but the main goal of any treatment should be to get you out of pain AND prevent your pain from coming back.

New research published in Arthritis Care & Research, the journal of the American College of Rheumatology, shows that being engaged in manual tasks involving awkward positions can increase an individual’s risk for a low back injury by up to 800%. Researchers also found that those who are distracted or fatigued while performing physical tasks are also at significantly higher risk for a low back injury.

What’s the Take-Home Message Here?

First, the majority of low back pain is mechanical and can be treated with physiotherapy care.  Second, many cases of low back pain can be prevented in the first place by avoiding awkward positions, distractions, and fatigue while performing physical activities.

Learning proper posture while sitting can help prevent the abnormal stress and strain that lead to low back pain over time. If you develop low back pain, seek the proper treatment, one that has a proven track record.

Getting the best care to get out of pain as fast as possible is extremely important.  Also, make sure your treatment plan includes information on how you can prevent your low back pain from coming back (such as learning proper lifting technique) because relapses are often worse than the original injury.

Here is a video to start you off. If you want a comprehensive treatment to quickly improve your back pain email or ring/text 0852207889

This is a video to help treat or prevent shin splints. Shin splints is a pain that runners or sports people can get on the lower 1/3 of the shin. It is really common this time of year as people are increasing the amount of running they are doing to get ready for road races or triathlons etc.

If you ever get pain in your shin when running or if it is sore the next morning I really recommend you do the exercises here.

If you want an individualised assessment and treatment to fix the REASONS that you specifically get pain, email me on or text 0852207889. Check out our functional screening videos and the testimonials to get an idea of how we assess not just the area but the whole body to get to the root of the problem. This ensures the problem gets fixed quickly and stays fixed.

Hope you enjoy the video

The full blog associated with this video will be posted by the institute where I lecture on functional screening. Here is a preview of the blog along with the video.

It is essential that you get your muscles back to their original lengths following training. Failure to do so can lead to some muscles becoming chronically tight which will alter movement around the joint and can lead to injury or hamper performance.

The important points are these:

    • Use the opposite muscles to get into the stretch.
    • Use the rope only at the end of the stretch.
    • Hold the stretch for only 2 seconds.
    • Repeat 10 times on each side.

Correct movement is the key for Eoin

The value of Athletic Therapy to sport and general health and wellbeing in Ireland cannot be overstated and another example of what the practitioners have to offer comes from therapist Eoin Everard.

The Kilkenny man is a keen advocate of Functional Movement Screening which fits into the ARTI approach of ‘prevention is better than cure’ and focuses on athletes having their body in the best possible condition to allow them to develop their skills.

Eoin, who came through the Athletic Therapy course in DCU before completing a Masters in Newscastle, first came across this approach during his placement in Montreal and was very impressed by it.

Basically, the approach involves looking at the movement of the body as a whole in order to correct problems and deal with injuries and to help understand it he puts forward a very simple analogy.

“The way I explain it to people is by saying that, if you have a hole in your roof and it rains, you have a problem of water on the floor. If you look at the problem as being the water on the ground, it can be easily fixed but as soon as it rains again then you have another problem.

“Obviously the key is to look at the cause of the problem so you have to fix the roof”, he added.

“It is the same with an injury or pain as you can’t just solve the obvious problem but instead you must look to what is causing it.

“That is basically what Functional Movement Screening is all about. It is taking a step back, looking that the big picture and then carrying out treatment on that basis”, added Eoin who works from his practice in Kilkenny called ‘Solutions: Physiotherapy and Athletic Therapy’

“I was very lucky in DCU to learn to look at the person as a whole and then when I went to Montreal I came across Functional Movement Screening. It made so much sense to me as an approach.

The benefit in the treatment of injuries is obvious, but the potential from the approach is huge when the approach is brought to the next level when adapted to help athletes further develop their skills.

Athletes and teams often forget about the importance of fundamental movement and this really is the starting point according to Eoin, who also lectures at Setanta College and LIT Tipperary.

“If you look at the requirements of an athlete as a pyramid, the base should be the full range of movement and on top of that you can build things like power, strength or any other attribute. At the top you have the sports specific skills.


The optimal performance pyramid.

“However, it is clear that you can be as skilled as you like but if you don’t have the correct strength or movement then you don’t have the foundations to develop your talent to the next level. Otherwise it is what is called, building fitness on dysfunction”, he added.

Eoin points out that FMS has great value for athletes in that it is something that can be done in pre-season and early analysis will help ensure there are not injury problems down the line.

It is an approach that is gaining in popularity with athletes and teams but Eoin is greatly encouraged that those who have tried this approach have seen the benefits both in the short term and long term.

For more information on Eoin or functional screening

Test news from blog Jan 2013