Staying injury-free is vitally important throughout your training programme.
While injury can often be par for the course when running and completing any physical activity, there are various techniques to help prevent any unwelcome time spent watching on from the sidelines.
With many peoples’ ABP Southampton Marathon, Half and 10k training programmes in full swing, we’ve enlisted the help of Official Physiotherapy Partner, Jonathan Clark Physiotherapy, to advise how you can stay fit and healthy throughout the process.
Here’s expert Liam Newton, a sports physiotherapist working with Jonathan Clark Physiotherapy, Hampshire Cricket and Tottonians Rugby, with his top tips:
Avoid making sudden and dramatic changes to your training regime
It pays not to make any big changes in terms of the type of training you’re doing, in addition to your overall volume of running and the intensity to which you are running at.
It’s important to gradually build up your training load, by typically implementing a 10 per cent increase in progression each week.
By doing this, you’ll avoid overworking your body too hard and significantly reduce your chances of having a spell on the treatment table.
Value strength training
I’d always recommend a strength and conditioning programme over a foam rolling and stretching programme. The scientific evidence suggests strength activities – such as core work, body-weight and weighted exercises – lead to far better outcomes, and therefore, increase the effectiveness of avoiding injury.
Engaging in a strength programme will help you develop a stronger foundation to handle an increased running workload. It all boils down to the individual but getting into the gym or doing exercises at home at least once a week can help you manage your running gains.
That way, it shouldn’t be too difficult to organise the session into your diary. Statistics also reveal strength work can improve your time-trial performance, as well as your overall running efficiency and economy.
Foam rolling and stretching of course can play a role and can be effective in terms of reducing muscle soreness and increasing that feel-good factor post-run, but both of these work better in cohesion with a solid strength programme in place. Combining all three should really aid your recovery and make you feel all the more comfortable.
What to do post run…
In addition to rolling and stretching, it’s really important to bring the body down to a resting state instead of coming to a sudden halt. Try to cool down with a slow jog or light walk.
Having a sports massage is also a nice recovery method and something you may wish to consider several times throughout the whole process.
What you eat is also a big factor
Nutrition is obviously a key area and you need to make sure you replace the carbohydrates you’ve lost during your run, as well as look to get some protein on-board such as a shake or bar. This will help to facilitate your recovery.
Eating clean by consuming greens, vitamins and minerals, along with adequate hydration, will help your general immune system.
And last but by no means least – sleep!
Getting enough sleep, especially on days in which you have trained, is really important.
Sleep is like the body’s reset mechanism and enables your body to return to a normal status, repair and get ready to undertake physical activity again.
Rest in general is probably the most under-rated performance enhancement method. The perception, sometimes, is that it may hold your training back but that’s not the case as scientific research has proven rest and recovery will help you stay fresh and stand the best chance of remaining injury-free.
During a half or full marathon training block, typically, every fourth or fifth week of training, you will de-load to lessen the workload on your body – allowing you to rest, adapt and recharge your batteries.
By only running and running – this could lead to bone stress injuries as your body is taking on too much at any one time without adequate recovery – something we want to avoid!