There’s more to training for the Virgin Money London Marathon than running – staying strong, flexible and injury free takes careful consideration. Get it right with our tips for keeping your body in top condition.
Get the right footwear
Invest in some good quality running shoes to protect your bones, muscles, joints and tendons during your training. Depending on your weight and the type of shoe, most running shoes should last between 300 and 800 miles.
It’s best to buy your running shoes from a specialist running shop where you can try before you buy, and get expert advice on the right type of shoe for your needs.
Running can cause your muscles to shorten and tighten, increasing the risk of muscle pulls and strains. The best way to prevent these injuries is with regular stretching and flexibility training.
Treat yourself to a sports massage
Regular sports massages can give a real boost to your training. Try a full leg massage after a race (or once every few months) to help flush away toxins and repair muscle fibres.
Find out more about the benefits of massage for runners.
Be careful after a break
If you have to take a break from running because you’re ill or have other commitments, be careful not to jump straight back into a rigorous routine when you start training again – it could cause an injury. Return to running gradually, increasing the distance you run by no more than 10% each week.
Don’t race too often
Remember, taking part in a race is much more demanding than a training run. During a race the adrenaline starts to flow and your competitive instincts kick in, so you’ll use a lot more mental and physical energy than usual.
Although races can be invigorating and act as a goal to work towards, be careful not to compete in too many and risk injury or illness.
Do some resistance training
Resistance training with weights can be great for runners, improving your all round strength and posture. Try to include one or two full body workouts into your training each week.
Monitor your fluid intake
Staying hydrated is really important for runners because a lot of fluid is lost through sweating. If you become dehydrated you could suffer from nausea, fatigue or headaches, and you won’t give your best performance.
Drink regularly throughout the day and try to stick to natural, caffeine free drinks like water and fruit juice.
Get plenty of protein
Protein rich foods are often associated with bodybuilders, but they’re just as important for runners. When you run, your body may use protein as fuel to keep going, so it’s important to regularly replace your stores.
Try to eat low fat proteins like lean meat and fish. If you’re training heavily, aim to eat 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of your bodyweight each day.
Try using a heart rate monitor
Heart rate monitors (HRMs) are a simple and effective way to read your heart rate, allowing you to monitor your performance and decide whether you need to maintain, ease, or up your pace.
Investing in a heart rate monitor will help you get more from your workouts, and reduce the risk of overtraining. And the great news is they’re getting cheaper in price. If you’re thinking of buying one, find out more with our heart rate monitors guide.
And don’t forget about core training
Remember to do regular core training, for example by using an exercise ball or doing crunches. This will work the muscles in your abdomen which control posture and support the rest of your body.
A strong core will make you a stronger, better runner and help prevent injuries.
This feature was originally published on the Virgin Money London Marathon website [LINK: www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com<http://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com>] For more great training, nutrition, gear and injury-prevention features, visit the site today.