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Here a few top tips that all runners need to be considering as you approach the Start line:
Pick a Plan and Stick to it! Hopefully by now your training schedule is well underway. There are such a variety of training plans to choose from, but make sure you have picked one appropriate to your level of running and time you can allocate to be able stick to the plan. Generally, this includes two ‘tempo’ or maintenance runs in the week, and a minimum of one longer run at the weekend, which should be slightly slower than your aimed race pace. Your plan should also include some Hill training and Speed work.
Cross-Training: All running and nothing else can lead to disaster, particularly if this is a new pursuit for you. Take the time to work on your Cardio with other activities; swimming, rowing machine, bike, cross-trainer. The different muscle groups used will reduce the chance of injury or over-use issues, and you will be impressed at the cross-over of cardiovascular fitness and leg strength.
Rest: Running every day will not get you there injury free or any quicker…. Rest and Sleep are huge parts of running, particularly when you are up to your longer weekend runs.
Stretching: Despite the constant debates of stretch or not stretch, it is often dependent on the person. As Physio’s we see people who are Injured, and who DON’T stretch! Part of patients’ recovery is to stretch out tight areas; our advice is if you know an area is tight, DO stretch it, throughout the week and before you run, as otherwise this can lead to other areas compensating, or going back into your poor Biomechanic patterns.
Stability work: Very few runners spend enough time working on stability… If you think about it, running is like lots(!) of Single Leg Squats – it is a common thing when we see an injured runner to see that they have a very poor single leg squat – what does yours look like?! It might be a sign of poor glute control, or tight calf, or weak core stability if you are unable to do this action without control.
Strength Work: Like the stability issue, lots of new runners are not only training cardiovascular fitness, but the strength of muscles and tendons that have not been loaded as much previously, likewise increasing your training places more stress on areas such as your Achilles tendon, or developing the common ‘Runners-Knee’ (ITB syndrome). Consider strength based training to counteract these issues: come and see us for advice if you are aware of these becoming an issue.
Nutrition: Running after a heavy night out, eating on the go, not enough hydration spells disaster, even for the more seasoned runners. The other mistake people often make is taking the Electrolyte / Sports drinks on the day, when never having trained with them, leading to spikes in energy and stomach cramps. Aim to train like your race-day, taking on fluids during your longer runs in the lead up to the event as you plan to during the race.
Massage! This is not an over-indulgence, part of your active-recovery, stretching and maintenance whilst not running can include fascial release, Needling and Soft Tissue treatment. Our massage therapist Alex performs wonders with our running Clients! Also, don’t forget to come and see our Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions Team in the massage Tent after you finish your run for your complimentary rub-down.
Seek advice early, and listen to your body!
Best of Luck, and see you all at the Finish Line!