Train like a champion
If you’ve got supporters lacing up their trainers on 23 April, their marathon training will be well under way. To help you give your runners the edge, we asked Sophie Lane, Specialist Performing Arts and Sport physiotherapist based at The Centre of Health and Human Performance, in London’s Harley Street, for her top tips. Sophie’s worked with performers across the West End and ran her first marathon in 2013. Right now she’s currently making sure that the celebrity cast of Channel 4’s The Jump, remain injury-free.
1. Don’t JUST run
It’s important to challenge and train the body in other ways, such as adding in a weight training session, a spinning class, or a dance class. Chose something that works for you, and that you enjoy. It’s so important to get different muscles and joints working, to ensure you’re strong enough to run 26.2 miles.
2. Look after your body
Warm ups and cool downs make sure you make time for them. This will reduce your injury risk, and you will thank me the following day. Try to avoid holding long static stretches before a training session, as there is some evidence showing that this can increase injury rates. Stick to dynamic movements and activation exercises like some body weight squats, lunges, and leg swings.
3. Active recovery counts
Try and include some ‘active recovery’ sessions into your training schedule. This can vary from swimming, yoga, Pilates, a sports massage or heading to a sauna/steam room. Invest in a foam roller and lacrosse ball. These will soon become your best friends during training. May be not at first though; pummelling out those tight, aching muscles is far from pleasurable. But you’ll get used to it, I promise. And my best tip for blisters? Zinc oxide tape.
My main tip regarding nutrition is try and eat the rainbow; lots of fresh vegetables including rich leafy greens. Protein, complex carbohydrates and the ‘good fats’ are also crucial to optimise training. The timing of food is important in both recovery and in aiding adequate digestion with your training schedule.
My favourite was a bowl of oats, topped with fresh berries, seeds and a huge dollop of peanut butter and 2 boiled eggs 1 hour pre-training. Post-run you should then aim to eat a nutritious meal within 45 minutes. I would demolish a protein source, such as baked chicken or salmon, with mounds of steamed greens (broccoli, kale and spinach) and a portion of carbohydrates. My favourites would have to be sweet potato fries, cooked with chilli and a splash of coconut oil.
Regarding gels and energy drinks, always try them before race day. You don’t want to be on the hunt for the porta-loo at mile 6, 8, 10, 13 etc. Check what the race you have entered is offering at their drink stands. If that particular brand works well for you then great, it saves you carrying your own!
If you sustain an injury or niggle, then it’s worth having this looked at by a health professional such as a physio or osteopath so you are given the appropriate advice. Remember: We’re all individuals and not everyone with shin pain has ‘shin splints’. Pain is often your body’s way of telling you there is something up, so try not to ignore it.
Finally, enjoy it. Train hard, train sensibly and smile your way around the 26.2 miles.
You can follow Sophie Lane on Instagram: @sophielanephysio