With marathon season fast approaching I’m being asked how to cope with the increase in mileage and the demands of training. Here is an insight into the behind the scenes work that goes into getting to the start line of any race injury and niggle free.
Listen to Your Body:
Listening to your body is a skill which needs to be practiced and trained, its about working out whether something feels good for your body, and when it doesn’t. Just because a training session is on the plan doesn’t mean you have to complete it as pushing through fatigue, illness or injury can often result in over training and increases the risk of further injury. Be flexible, listen to your body and train smarter. Adapting the plan or taking extra rest won’t mean a loss in fitness, but it can mean being able to train harder when it counts and making sessions successful.
Regular Stretching, Rolling and Sports Massage:
Being told I spend all my time “rolling about on the floor” gave me confidence that I was spending enough time stretching and rolling! I generally try and spend about 30mins after each session (irrespective of length of training session) following a stretch and rolling routine which I devised to target the areas which get tight. Combining that with a fortnightly sports massage helps keep my body injury free.
Good Nutrition and Hydration:
Keeping my food choices as clean as possible means I have the right energy to fuel all my training. With so much aerobic endurance training I’m not shy with carbohydrate portions, and have recently increased my protein levels each day to aid with muscle recovery and development. I’ve done this with extra servings of Amino Acids, whey protein shakes, and have changed snacks to be protein based such as crudites with humous, boiled eggs and greek yoghurt. That with drinking 2.5-3L a day means my nutrition aids my training rather than hinders it.
Embrace the Rest Day:
I love my rest day but I know a lot of athletes struggle to take a day off and do nothing. A mixture of active recovery and feet up means the body can rest and recharge and absorb all the training you’ve done that week. Its the most neglected part of a training plan but so important for body and mind.
Don’t Neglect the Strength and Conditioning:
Vitally important for maintaining the strength of key muscles. I target my glutes, core, and do a lot of mobility and functional work to keep strong and mobile. Running and cycling isn’t enough to keep you strong, resistance training increases lean muscle mass, strengthens bones, and benefits balance, coordination and posture. All key areas to improve to make you a stronger athlete overall.
So that is my insight into how I made it to the start line of the Yorkshire Marathon last October injury free, strong, and raring to go. Good luck with your training!