Training smart for your first big walk or run

It’s that time of year when the weather starts to warm up and plenty of people have signed up for upcoming events, whether it be long walks, marathons or obstacle style races. Whatever it is, preparation is key to prevent pesky overuse injuries from slowing down your progress! Here are our key tips to help you smash your goals:

1. Build up your training gradually: Ideally you will already have some sort of a base of walking or running before entering these events. One big problem that people can make is building up their training too quickly. This puts huge stress on the tendons of the body, which can slow down progress greatly. As a general rule try not to increase your distance by more than 10-15% in one week.

2. High mileage spread out across many days: Mileage has always been the most important part of preparing for a big event. Try as much as possible to spread your training kms out across many days, rather than crammed into two days. It is a good idea to alternate your walking/running training sessions with a rest day or cross training activity.

3. You don’t need to run/walk the full distance before the day! All you are doing is increasing your risk of injury! While many people like to do this to increase their confidence, remember that the adrenaline of the day will always push you through those extra few kilometres. It’s much more important to turn up to race day healthy and pain free.

4. Cross training: Find other ways to get the heart rate up to can really take the load off joints and tendons, while still improving fitness. If you are unable to get out for a swim or cycle, even just changing your running terrain or style (for example interval training or stairs) can keep the body strong and fit, but change the load on the body.

Consider Clinical Pilates as an effective cross training activity. When the core works well and is strong, everything else tends to move better and more efficiently. Clinical Pilates not only focuses on core strength, but will enhance your neural drive and open up those pathways that the messages from the brain to the muscles travel along, resulting in smoother and more effective movement.

5. Hydration & Nutrition: Practise with what you are going to eat and drink pre, during and post your run or walk. Make sure you have a plan in place for getting adequate hydration and nutrition during your event. Most events have regular water stations, although you may prefer to carry your own water or electrolyte drink on your person. If you are going to be eating glucose gels/chews during your event, make sure you have trained with them, so you can have the ones that agree with you for your main event.

6. Get treatment early: When you start to feel niggles, that is the best time to get Physiotherapy treatment. Sometimes some simple changes to training routine, manual therapy or strapping can make a huge difference, and allow you to keep training towards your event. Don’t let it get to the stage where you can barely run or walk at all!

If you have any questions about appropriate training loads, running shoes, running style or injury prevention, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Speak to one of our expert Physio’s on 9859 5585

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