Colin Allan is a professional rugby-player-turned-PT and performance coach, with a specialist interest in hyper-tailored training and nutrition. Enertor have teamed up with Colin to bring you professional advice on all things fitness. Kicking off his first guest post, Colin talks about staying motivated and injury free during Marathon training. Take it away Colin….
Marathon training: staying motivated & injury free
The approach of winter means many things, including the start of marathon training for those lucky enough to have secured a place for next Spring.
And as the miles begin to tot up, research suggests that somewhere between 37-56% of runners will incur injuries. So, if you’ve entered the marathon, have begun training and have downloaded a plan, congrats. The next step is to stay motivated and injury-free, here are some my tips:
MOTIVATION – First up, ‘buddy up’. If you haven’t done so already, find a training partner, a support group, or running club. They provide a great source of knowledge and provide safety if running in the evening.
If nighttime running is too cold (dark & miserable), more and more people seem to be joining or starting their own lunchtime running group at work and asking sponsors to provide more than financial backing.
The ever changing fitness landscape has also seen the growth of running movements such as:
- Park Run / http://www.parkrun.org.uk/: free weekly timed runs
- London Midnight Runners / http://midnightrunners.co/: 10ks round London landmarks, complete with blaring music
- Run Like a Girl / http://www.runlikeagirl.org.uk: which has approx. 1500 women regularly pounding the streets of Coventry, Warwick, Leamington Spa and Clapham.
TRACKING – Next up, you need to start tracking what you are doing. This is where lots of marathon runners really get their kicks, through the sense of achievement and monitoring of the minutiae of their improvement.
It’s estimated that between 60-70% of injuries are sustained as a result of training errors and this includes sudden or sustained increases in training volume.
Most programmes should be written in a manner that progressively increases the load and allows you time to recover. However, you need to take responsibility and keeping a diary allows you to take control of this and track it yourself. My advice is to avoid increases of more than 20% in weekly training volume if you’re starting out, and 10% if you’re more experienced. If you’re not sure seek some help from a qualified PT to at least get you started right.
The easiest tracking method is to download an app like Strava or Runkeeper which provide detailed, engaging and insightful information about your runs. They also provide the social element of being able to connect with friends and colleagues who are also regular runners or preparing for a challenge.
For me though there is still no more powerful training tool than a diary. With a diary, I seem to be more engaged in the process than when using an app, I have a greater sense of ownership and it has a far more profound effect on understanding the impact of your training and lifestyle as well as on how you feel and how your training is progressing.
I get pretty obsessed and record what time I trained at, the intensity (how hard I felt the session was from 0-10), how long the session was, the distance run, along with what type of training was done i.e. run (long/slow, medium or fast/intense), intervals, gym, circuit-training, swimming.
I’m always full of admiration for marathon-runners, the dedication during the dark winter months is fantastic. But it’s not for the faint-hearted so staying motivated and tracking to avoid injury are absolutely key.
Staying motivated & injury free: five take home tips
- Find or create your own support group, at home or work.
- Download & buddy up through an app such as Strava or Runkeeper, or buy a diary; log training time, intensity, duration/distance & activity
- Avoid increases of more than 20% in weekly training volume if you’re starting out, and 10% if you’re more experienced.
- Allow yourself to become obsessed – part oft he fun is in the fan-geekery of the kit, the training and the self-comparison as you improve.
- Consider a personal trainer to create your plan and get you started right.
About Enertor Advanced Technology Insoles
Enertor insoles are designed to prevent a number of common running injuries and provide more comfort. Designed by leading podiatrists to reduce your risk of injury, the unique design features support your foot throughout training. Enertor insoles are enhanced by D3O impact protection technology, which means they can provide more shock absorption than any other insole. Our expertise, combined with the patented D3O shock absorption technology, enables Enertor to deliver the most advanced injury prevention insoles on the market today.
Enertor insoles are available online HERE .
If you’d like more from Colin, contact him at colinallan.com
Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site
Nielsen et al. Training Errors and Running Related Injuries: A Systematic Review. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 2012; 7 (1): 58-75
Van Mechelen W. Running injuries. A review of the epidemiological literature. Sports Med. 1992 Nov; 14(5): 320-35.