Trainers from East Dulwich’s ESPH physio practice and fitness studio give the Weekender some last minute tips for runners preparing for the London Marathon this month.
Wear good, supportive footwear
Sounds obvious but is often overlooked. You must wear good footwear that suits your feet. Most people need a good stability shoe but some people need an anti-pronator to correct a foot that slopes inward. Do you have flat feet or do your feet slope in (over-pronation – middle image below)? Please consult one of our physiotherapists or our podiatrist about this.
If you’ve had a recent injury don’t ignore it– get some treatment
It is very important to assess whether you are fit to run and to see whether there are any underlying injuries that could be problematic. If you are having problems fully weight-bearing or performing certain routine movements like squatting or bending you may need to get treatments to properly resolve the problem. If you are prone to ankle, back or knee injuries it may be beneficial to use sport supports or taping. If you have had an injury in the past and the area still feels sore or stiff, you may benefit from specific exercise and stretches to return to normal function.
Use High intensity training (HIT) and wear a heart rate monitor for objective results
High intensity training will get you fitter, quicker. HIT involves interval or repetition training at high intensity, interspersed with active rest or jogging. Using a heart rate monitor will give you objective feedback and results on how your fitness is improving.
Don’t just run – work on your conditioning as well as your running
Circuit training & strength
Once per week circuit training will improve your strength. Strength will improve your power and balance and this will improve your stride, cadence and speed.
Although this is an over-abused term in the exercise world it’s very important to get it right. The essential principle is to ensure the spine and pelvis are stable so that you can exert the maximum force through your limbs especially the legs. The stability of the neck and shoulder is also core-stability. Specific abdominal exercise and Pilates based exercises can be the most effective for core-stability.
Low impact alternatives
Running is a high impact activity. You should consider regular low impact alternatives such as cycling/spinning to compliment your training. A tough spinning class will also enhance your cardiovascular fitness.
Focus on flexibility
Keeping full range of motion will enhance your performance, losing mobility will diminish it. This is often overlooked but flexibility is very important to ensure injury prevention and improve performance. Try Pilates or yoga or consult with a physiotherapist for specific stretches for you. Committing at least 5 minutes to specific stretches at the beginning and end of each session will translate into positive results in your performance and how you feel on a daily basis.