With the marathon season approaching, here are the top 10 ways to manage your training. Whether you are training for a particular race, or just trying to run pain free, the following is essential:
1) Progressive Overloading:
If you go from 0 to 100% in your first run you’re putting yourself at increased risk of injury right from the start. Use these next few months to build up nice and slowly so that you’re ready for what your training plan is going to ask of you.
2) Follow the 10% Rule:
Most running injuries are a result of biomechanical overload, an ‘overuse’ injury as opposed to tripping up and spraining your ankle ‘acute’ injuries. So the best way to mitigate the risk of running injury is to build up your mileage each week by 10% only. Often when a runner comes in to our clinic with an injury, we can look back over their training plan and see an accidental spike or jump up in their kilometers or number of training sessions. Document your running data, track your mileage to avoid over training.
3) Make sure your trainers aren’t off the shelf:
Off the shelf trainers are a false economy. The ability of a trainer to completely affect your running style is very real, it’s not just a clever marketing campaign. Don’t wear what everyone else is running, get a gait assessment done and get what works for your body (your whole body, not just your feet). If in doubt, get a podiatrist to assess your gait while wearing them.
4) Find out your weak areas and work on them:
This is where we come in, see a professional who can tell you which areas of your body could do with benefiting from strength work, what you should focus on with your mobility work and any tweaks you could make in your running gait if you’re already having a few niggles.
Follow a long run, speed workout or hill workout with an easy run or rest day. Alternating easy and hard days allows your body time to recover and rebuild after the stress of a hard workout. If you do only hard workouts, your body will eventually break down and you will be more prone to injury and burnout.
6) Add intensity to your workouts:
Speed workouts and hill workouts can increase your muscle strength, speed and improve your race performance. Add intensity to two of your workouts per week, with intervals, tempo runs, hill workouts or fartleks. Strength training in invaluable. Do circuit training, weightlifting or resistance training exercises with your own body weight — such as squats, push-ups and planks — to increase your muscle mass. Stronger muscles will help you run faster and better prepare your body to meet the challenges of harder workouts.
7) Sports Massages:
Sports massages aren’t just for elite athletes, they’re such a great tool for preventing injury and aiding recovery from heavier sessions. We recommend booking your sports massage in advance, around your planned training sessions – you might not need much in the beginning, but they’ll be a saviour as your mileage increases.
8) Don’t panic when things don’t go to plan:
Have you had the flu and had to taper back your training? Had work commitment and had to take a week off? This happens and it happens to everyone. LISTEN TO IT. That one week you had to skip your long run does not mean you won’t be able to finish your marathon, and who knows what would’ve happened if you’d pushed yourself when your body didn’t want you to push, nothing good comes from these sessions.
9) Strength training in invaluable:
Do circuit training, weightlifting or resistance training exercises with your own body weight — such as squats, push-ups and planks — to increase your muscle mass. Stronger muscles will help you run faster and better prepare your body to meet the challenges of harder workouts.
10) If you do get a pain / niggle / injury:
Don’t bury your head in the sand – it doesn’t help. Deal with it quickly and it gets dealt with quickly (funny that). But postponing seeking help, you are enabling symptoms to progress, making them harder to eventually resolve. There are very few injuries that would require you to completely rest, so don’t allow it to escalate.