By Physiotherapist Josh Lambert
There’s no doubting that having a running programme, and being super-organised in the lead up to running events is beneficial.
And let’s face it – with the vast amount of running apps, online programmes, nutrition plans, running watches, running groups, educational sessions – there is so much available these days to help you fully understand, track and plan your foray into long distance running.
But what if – like many of our clients – you are just a month or two away from running the Melbourne Half Marathon or something similar, and despite receiving app reminders, reading blog posts and hearing from your annoying colleagues about how many Fitbit steps per day they have recorded, or generally how well-prepared they are for their upcoming run – you just haven’t found time to follow your running programme?
The answer is – don’t panic!
Obviously you will need to get enough running under your belt to feel confident and be able to physically get through the demands of the event, and at Pinnacle Health Group we certainly suggest covering as much ground in your preparation to avoid the risk of injury pre or during the event.
Plans are fantastic to provide an approximate guide and show you roughly what distances you should be covering – but they are not there to create guilt for missed sessions, or ensue stress and worry if some targets haven’t been hit at set times.
So – what do I do now then?
The large number of half marathon runners that we are seeing at the moment fall into 4 categories:
Category 1 – I haven’t started running yet!
If you need to reach 21km in October and you haven’t started running yet, forget about the half marathon. The risk of you running this distance far outweighs the benefits of crossing the line and ticking it off your bucket list. Maybe adjust to the 5km or 10km to save face, and think of a good excuse as to why the 21km eluded you this time.
Category 2 – I’m injured and I’m only at 5-10km!
Don’t panic – you still may be able to run the 21km. Avoid doing what most patients do and stick your head in the sand and hope the injury goes away. Get the injury assessed and treated now – and then you and your physio can make a call on whether you should keep striving for the event or not.
Category 3 – I’ve only got to 10km so far!
Again – stress less! You have 5 weeks to go! A good way to go would be keep your mid-week runs less than 10km, and aim to build longer runs on weekends, by 1-2km each week. Monitor any signs of injury and don’t increase distance by too much too soon.
Category 4 – I’m at 15km now!
You are cruising – and as long as you keep the body injury-free all is looking good. Your focus should be on steadily getting to the distance that you want – but don’t overtrain! Make sure you spend some time stretching, massaging and doing some pilates exercises to ensure you feel great up until the event.
So don’t panic! You’ve got this!
Good luck to all of those on their training regimes – and see a Physiotherapist or Podiatrist if you have any questions about your running programme.