Core is key

…and other tips we wish we could tell people – before they get injured.

Ebony Hornibrook

“I used to be a social sprinter while studying physio in Brisbane.  I can still remember my coach, a former Kiwi hurdling champion, saying to me, ‘Ebony, I’d hate to break it to you but you’re not going to be a professional sprinter, but you do look good trying!’

“Now before you jump to conclusions, he wasn’t commenting on my short running tights or fancy spikes but on my technique.  I didn’t let him know I used to practice my sprint drills in my lounge room while I was trying to study as I was so keen to perfect my running style.”

“With my sprinting days behind me, cut short by a hamstring tear (dancing injury, don’t ask) I prefer to help others with their own technique. Little tweaks here and there to a person’s natural running style can go a long way in terms of resolving and preventing those little niggles and also improving performance.”

So, in an effort to keep Queenstown’s runners out of physio consults, we’ve asked Ebony to share her three best pieces of running advice.

1 – It’s never too late to fix your technique…
…but it makes a lot more sense to it do before you get injured.

Like many physios, I subscribe to a minimalist, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to running technique. Your stride is individual and shouldn’t be tampered with too much. However there are some basics that you need to have sorted; correct muscle activation, good posture and proper stride, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for injuries and slow times.

Diagnosing correct technique is hard, but a good place to start is with cadence – count your footsteps in an average minute of running, if you’re doing drastically more or less than 180 steps-per-minute you might have a problem on your hands.

2 – Core is key

The core is our body’s powerhouse, controlling not only your trunk, but also your upper and lower body. By specifically strengthening your core you are setting yourself up for a decrease in injuries and increase in your overall running performance.

You could do a lot worse than adding a basic plank or side plank (if you don’t know what that is, Google it… now!) to your training runs. That’s probably the simplest core exercise, but if you’d like to know more, drop by the studio… we know ‘a few’.

3 – Footwear

Shoes maketh the runner – they can improve your efficiency and help dodge injuries – but they’ve got to be the right ones.

The right pair can alter how the repetitive forces of running are applied to your body, which will help you get the most out of your particular stride and sidestep injuries. A great tip is to buy a few different pairs of trainers: a minimalist pair for short runs, a set for road and some grippy trail runners and mix things up a bit. That variation will help stop niggly repeat strain injuries.


Ebony and the Studio team have been working with runners for years, helping them go further, faster with fewer injuries. If you’d like to us to help you get set up for your best running season yet, email us at