SV Sports Therapy recently attended advice evenings at Saint Francis Hospice and St Clare Hospice for those running the London Marathon on behalf of the charities.
Chris and Jess were on hand to answer questions and to provide useful tips on making the most of their final preparations.
Some common themes from both evenings were:
Effective recovery from long runs
Should I get a sports massage?
Tapering on the approach to the marathon
Now that most of the fundraisers have either reached or are nearing the peak distances for their training, there were a number of questions from both seasoned and first-time marathon runners on how best to manage their recovery.
Whilst some were concerned that their individual programme had “left them behind” others running longer distances, others were curious about why they were starting to feel more aches and niggles, or why their performance at times appeared variable.
In terms of general recovery advice, we were keen to remind runners that their training plans were not set in stone and that, if necessary, some slight variation in order to allow additional recovery time, and a flexible approach to account for unforeseen circumstances, was perfectly fine.
Reminders were provided in terms of effective warm-ups and cool-downs; the use of foam rollers and massage sessions in order to enhance recovery; and effective dietary and fluid intake in order to replace and replenish that lost during training.
Fundraisers were also provided with some basic information that would allow them to avoid over-training and fatigue.
Common signs that an individual may be over-training include:
decrease in performance
disturbed or reduced sleep
more frequent illness and infection
loss of motivation or interest in previously enjoyed activities
persistent soreness and increase in injuries
increase in resting heart rate
No one of these factors on its own is a definitive indicator of over-training. However, if several are occurring, particularly over an extended time period, it is best to rest, recover and seek professional advice if the issues persist.
Many runners were curious as to whether or not they should be receiving regular sports massage.
For many, this is a matter of personal preference despite the known benefits in terms of both recovery and performance.
An adequately trained professional will be able to tailor your massage to your individual preferences and training and as such one may benefit from:
decrease is muscular tension and tenderness
decreased recovery time between training sessions
improved circulation of both blood and lymph
improved muscular activation
increased relaxation and overall sense of wellbeing
These factors combined may contribute to enhanced recovery and performance during training, as well as a more positive training experience. This in turn may then result in a more successful marathon!
Therapists at SV Sports Therapy are not only trained in massage but also a variety of other modalities that may add to the effectiveness of this massage work. For more information, please get in contact.
This issue was of particular concern for a number of less experienced runners and covered questions such as how long a taper should last and how many miles they should be running in the week before their event.
It is generally considered that, following a long run, it will take an individual’s muscles up to 3 weeks to fully recover. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that most training plans call for a taper of at least 3 to 4 weeks in order to ensure optimum muscle condition at the start line.
If basing on a 3 week taper, then it is generally considered that your mileage in week 1 (of 3) should be approximately 20% less than the previous week with a max distance on your longest run of around 12-14 miles at the same pace as your previous long run, not faster!
In week 2 (of 3), your mileage should be around half to two-thirds of your highest mileage week and almost all running should now be at a slower more relaxed pace. Plan for just one short, 2 - 4 mile run, at marathon pace during this week. Your longest run in this week should not exceed 6 - 10 miles.
In your final week before the marathon, none of your runs should exceed 4 miles and should be at a relaxed pace. This can be an anxious time for many as the total work they are doing over the week has plummeted.
The training you do in this final week will have little to no effect on your performance and is more about keeping your head in the game and your eye on the prize. This final week is all about recovery and leaving you in top condition on race day.
So there you have it: a whistle-stop tour of tapering your training for the big day. Above all, remember to listen to your body, don’t panic and enjoy the fact that you will now be able to use stairs without the risk of collapsing in a heap!
SV Sports Therapy is the only London Marathon 2017 Injury Clinic in Essex.
You might also be interested in reading our recent VLM Newsletter and some Top Marathon Tips from SV's Sophie Vowden.