How to get the marathon result you want and know you deserve!

You’ve been pounding the pavement for weeks if not months in preparation. Honing your body and figuring out all the details like the right hydration and nutrition on the day. Maybe you’ve run a few test events in the run up. You’ve spent hours training, put off social engagements and neglected friends and loved ones in the lead up to the London Marathon.

So, how do you guarantee that you’ll perform your best on the day? How do you make sure that all the hard work doesn’t amount to disappointment? How do you avoid the “if only” feeling of missing out on the target you’ve set yourself?

The five points of performance

Well, I decided to consult James Parris of Parris Performance Coaching to get his take on success. James is a Performance and Behavioural Change Specialist.

Having coached Elite sport for over 15 years, the ONE thing that James found that works is a model called the 5 Points of Performance. It’s a simple model you can use for your sporting endeavours and anything else in your life you want to succeed at.

The 5 points are – circumstance, thoughts, feelings, actions and results.

Circumstance

Usually, people focus on the circumstance they find themselves in, which is generally NOT what they want. This leads to negative thoughts, which in turn makes them feel bad in some way. Feeling bad means that they don’t take the right actions and that leads to a poor result.

Focus on the result you want to get

What works is to focus on the results you want and reverse engineer a way of getting there.

You’ve heard it said a million times that you can’t change the circumstances you find yourself in. Only by getting the results you want will you find yourself in the circumstances you wish to have.

You’ve also heard it often said that you need to set goals if you want to achieve something. This is exactly right, but often it’s left at just that, a big hairy, lofty goal. Very few people think to actually engineer the steps to make their way to hitting the goal. Break it down into smaller bite size pieces.

So, let’s draw a line under the circumstance you find yourself in during the Marathon and set it to one side. Now, let’s work the model backwards from the results you want.

Results

Use all the standard goal setting tools you’ve previously heard about be it SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic and Timed), or which ever. Now write the goal out as if you have already achieved it, beginning with “I am”, or “I have”. Like this – I have run the London Marathon in a time of 3 hours and 55 minutes. I did this by running 9 minute miles, drinking a cup of water every 5 miles and having a gel every hour.

Now you need to make this into a Daily Declaration which you repeat to yourself every morning and evening in the lead up to the race.

Actions

Now you can move onto the exact actions you need to achieve the result you want. You want to map this out in minute detail. A great way of doing that is by using the Escape and Arrival framework.

This maps out the thing you want to Escape from – the current personal best you want to beat or maybe it’s ‘not having run a marathon’ – and marks out the exact steps you need to take in order to Arrive at the thing you want – a specific new personal best or ‘having run a marathon’. Along the way you write out the keystones you need to act on in order to progress to the next. I’ll give you a silly example – Escape from having an untied shoe lace and Arrive at having a tied shoe lace.

First keystone would be to check that you’ve got the shoes on the correct feet. Next keystone, pick a shoe to tie – left or right. Next take a lace in each hand. Next place the left lace over the top of the right lace. Next, tuck the bottom lace under the top and pull through. Next, make a loop with the left end and squeeze tight at the bottom. Next, wrap the right end around the loop where you’re holding it. Next… you get the picture!

You can even take each keystone and map out an Escape and Arrival for that as well. This gives you the exact map for your perfect marathon and will stop you procrastinating in the run up and during the race. Most people procrastinate either because the don’t know where to start or because they get lost half way through and don’t know what to do next.

The Escape and Arrival framework takes both of these ambiguities away.

Feelings

Just having your progress and the race plan mapped out in front of you will likely make you feel much better about performing on the day.

However, if you’re still feeling a little anxious, try some Super Suggestion. Super Suggestion works a little like post hypnotic suggestion, in that you place the feeling you want into your mind during a period of relaxation.

Self motivation concept. Negative words cut with scissors and became positive.

It’s been scientifically proven that if, when you feel nervous, you say three words to yourself – “I am excited” – your performance will be better. Super Suggestion can implant feelings of excitement into your mind when you need them.

Sit in a cool, calm location which is nice and quiet. Close your eyes and in your head count down from 20 to 1, then say “let go” whilst feeling all the tension drain out of each and every muscle in your body. Whilst in this relaxed state, breath steadily and repeat the feeling you want to implant over to yourself. Try to stay like this as long as you can, nice and relaxed, repeating the word to yourself. When you feel like you’ve had enough, simply count back up from 1 to 20 and then open your eyes. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done 2 minutes or 20 minutes like this, you will have implanted the feeling into your mind.

Thoughts

Actually, I need to clarify this as Self Talk. Your internal monologue. You need to develop a positive self talk if you want to keep in the right frame of mind to be able to execute the Actions.

Post hypnotic suggestion can work the other way as well, negative self talk leads to negative feelings. Which lead to poor actions. Pay attention to the negative self talk you have about your training, racing or the London Marathon specifically. Note them down whenever you have a moment of negative self talk and read it back to yourself aloud. Listen to how irrational it sounds when doing this.

You must eradicate your negative self talk. Put yourself up or shut up.

There you have it, your performance for the London marathon mapped out using the 5 Points of Performance. Take some time to work the model through and don’t leave anything out.

Good luck on the day from James Parris and our team of therapists at Physio on the River!

Next steps…

If you would like to contact James Parris for more information on how he can help with sports performance please email him at info@parrisperformancecoaching.com. If you would like to make a Physiotherapy appointment for a marathon injury then please call the clinic on 020 8876 5690 or email us here.

Hear how Physio Dave helped a keen runner with persistent Achilles Tendinopathy

I recently caught up with one of our keen running clients, Patrick, who came to the clinic complaining of chronic Achilles Tendinopathy. Read on to find out how Physio, Dave Burnett, helped Patrick recover so that he could return to distance running again.

Hi Patrick- tell us a bit about yourself and what sport and exercise you do?

As a retired rugby player and triathlete my body has taken a bit of a battering over the years. Nowadays I cycle as my main sport but still enjoy running and swimming.

How and when did you develop your running Injury?

Achilles tendinopathyIt was probably a combination of not warming up properly, pushing too hard and the uneven surface that must have aggravated my Achilles tendon problem. When you are only a short distance out the tendency is to keep going to the end which probably just aggravated the situation even further.

What did your physiotherapy involve and how did you find it useful?

Dave at Physio on the River was great! Things were made easier as I was being treated by him for a shoulder injury at the time and he saw me hobble in and immediately diagnosed the issue – which was a Chronic Achilles Tendinopathy. So, after a couple of sessions of manual therapy treatment and stretching exercises for the calf, hamstrings and glutes (buttocks) we started the Shockwave treatment.

Describe your experience of shockwave therapy?

Shockwave for the achilles tendonI had 4 sessions of Shockwave which involved getting hammered by metal pads 100 times a second! It hurts the first time, although I think this was psychological and then after that it became quite therapeutic!

Whilst you mustn’t run immediately after the treatment, you can stretch and it’s important to do loaded strengthening exercises.

Every week I felt some progress. Once we had finished the Shockwave sessions we were able to progress to more explosive “plyometric” exercises. Apart from a blip when I may have done too much too soon, I was able to gradually build up the time and distance I was running and eventually the pace.

I am making great progress now. The important thing is to listen to your body and take your time. When you get injured after 50, it’s about managing the condition. The shoulder injury also helped as it forced me to go swimming and I was able to do more rigorous plyometrics in the pool. The positive benefits of swimming are extensive!

How are you getting on now and have you achieved your goals?

I’m in a good place now and am hopeful of continuing Park Run regularly and getting to that all important 22-minute milestone. My ultimate aim is to get back to half marathons.

What’s your brief understanding of how to manage your Achilles tendon problem in the long-term?

Should it return I should first  reduce the load, gradually re-load, add plyometric exercises and load even more -with marginal increments and take my time! Thanks very much Dave!

Thanks, Patrick, for sharing your story and illustrating so nicely how we treat and help people manage chronic tendon problems like yours.

Next steps….

If this has struck a chord with you and you’re suffering with a tendon problem, to make an appointment with Dave just:

Book online

Call 020 8876 5690

Email us here

Or pop in for a chat!

Is cadence important for running? Read Dave’s steps to success!

And why cadence may be something to consider……

If you have ever wondered what the Cadence measurement on your Garmin running data actually means, you should hopefully find the following advice useful!

Cadence (the total number of steps you make per minute) is dictated by your running style and can have a big impact on your running economy (i.e. your energy expended). It is also a risk factor for many running injuries.

What does the research tell us?

A 10% increase in step rate may reduce knee joint loading by up to 34% (Heiderscheit et al 2011).

Low cadence (<166 steps per minute) is linked with a 6-fold increase in shin pain versus a cadence less than 178 steps per minute (Luedke et al 2016).

Low cadence is typically seen with:

  • an “over-stride” pattern – see below left, versus good foot placement right. When over-striding the foot contact is made significantly ahead of the knee and the runner’s centre of mass. This is a common running style fault and injury risk factor.

  • similarly, increased ‘bounce’ or excessive vertical oscillation expends excessive energy and also poses a risk to injury.

So what is the ideal cadence for running?

The ideal cadence for running is thought to be approximately 172-190 steps per minute.

How do I go about making changes?

Changing your cadence can take some practice and it’s sensible to only increase by 5-7.5% at a time. Allow  2-3 weeks to accommodate this amount of change before you increase any further.

There are several mobile Apps available to help set and monitor your cadence and many running and sports watches will record cadence as part of their standard data. Additionally there are running coaching strategies and drills that can be learnt to aid the correction of over-striding or excessive bounce patterns.

How can we help you?

If you are unsure if your running style is a cause of any niggling injuries or are wondering if your running style is efficient, it’s best to have a Biomechanical Treadmill Assessment which we offer here at Physio on the River.

Physio Dave Burnett is our running guru and runs our running clinic. He can give your running style an MOT and coach you through any changes necessary. He can also help you resolve any old injuries you may be carrying.

Next steps……. (no pun intended!)

To book a Biomechanical Treadmill Running Assessment with Dave just:

Call 0203 916 0286

Email us here

Or simply pop in for a chat – we’d love to see you!

Massage Monday – how we can help you recover from the London Marathon!

If you have just woken up after completing the London Marathon yesterday, you may well be feeling stiff and sore! This week I asked our new massage therapist, Rachel Jarvis, to tell us how massage can help you recover from a marathon.

Rachel recently jointed our massage team of three. She is a very keen runner herself and competes in triathlons and endurance cycling events so knows all about recovery!

Rachel qualified with a Level 5 Professional Diploma in Sports and Remedial Massage from the North London School of Sports Massage (NLSSM).

Rachel’s 6 top massage benefits

  • Massage reduces muscle soreness by flushing out the build up of toxins from the muscle and other soft tissues of the body. This reduces soreness or DOMS – short for ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’ which is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. The soreness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise.
  • Massage helps improve blood flow to the tissues which in turn helps the tissues to heal and helps you recover from the fatigue felt after the run.
  • A post event massage allows the therapist to assess the condition of your muscles and identify any particular areas of tension.
  • It helps to restore your flexibility through re-balancing the musculoskeletal system. If you don’t feel so stiff and sore you will move with more ease and be able to stretch further.
  • Massage can help to re-energise you through relaxation.

When is the best time to have a massage after the marathon?

If you have competed in a marathon before, you may have been offered a short post event massage at the finish line. This can start the process and this first massage will be gentle. Benefits can be seen for up to a week after the event. As the days go by after the event, a deeper and longer massage can be given.

Rachel recommends taking the immediate post event massage but it shouldn’t be a replacement for a proper treatment later in the week.

Are there any other self help things you can do to aid recovery?

Rachel recommends:

  • drinking plenty of water to rehydrate yourself and help to flush those toxins through your system
  • keeping active! It sounds like the wrong thing but taking a steady walk or very low intensity recovery run, swim or bike ride can actually help to prevent stiffness and soreness!

What should I do if I sustained an injury during the marathon?

We recommend coming to see one of our Sports Physiotherapists to get your injury checked out professionally. As soon as you can  it’s always a good idea to use the PRICE method of initial treatment:-

P for protection – bandage the injured part to give it support or use a crutch or stick if required

for rest – rest the part for the first couple of days

for ice the injured part. We have some very good ice packs we sell at POTR. They are gel ice packs that don’t lose their flexibility with freezing and have a very good cover to protect you from an ice burn.

C for compression – the supporting bandage or elastic support will help to compress the tissues and minimise excessive bleeding into the tissues and swelling.

for elevation – raise your injured part higher than your heart if you can! So if it’s your ankle, lie down and place your leg on a couple of pillows to help reduce swelling.

Next steps…..

If you’d like to take advantage of our special massage offer – 6 for the price of 5 – a saving of up to £62, or book an appointment with one of our Physios:

Call us on 0203 916 0286

Email us here

Book online here

Or just pop in for a chat first!

Read how Physio helps experienced runners improve performance and manage injury risk

If you are an experienced runner, it’s highly likely you’ve trained and competed whilst injured.

Indeed, research shows that runners often carry old “niggles” that have never been properly sorted out.

If you are a seasonal runner, or tend to aim for certain events, you may find that you are susceptible to injuries at certain times of the year, or points in your annual training cycle.

We asked Dave Burnett, who heads up our Running Clinic, to explain the common causes of injury and how we can help you reduce your risk and manage ongoing issues whilst at the same time improve your performance!

What caused my injury?

This is a commonly asked question at the clinic!

In the absence of an acute trauma or a specific isolated event, “overuse” is a common cause of injury.

To be more specific overuse usually means “training load errors”.  Simply put, if your training load (i.e. the frequency, intensity, time & type of training) is higher than what your tissues (e.g Achilles Tendon or Knee-cap Joint) can tolerate, you’ll get injured.

And why hasn’t my injury resolved yet?

Tissue tolerance is related to to several different factors and all of these can affect your ability to get over an injury:

  • your age – we all recognise that we become less elastic and quick to recover as we get older
  • our genetics – some people just have good genes
  • our general health and level of fitness
  • previous injuries we have suffered
  • our strength & flexibility
  • our biomechanics – the way we are built or the way we move
  • and finally our recovery, sleep, nutrition & lifestyle!

Runners that are at a higher risk of injury

Certain sub-groups of runners are at higher-risk of injury including

  • Beginners with less than 1 year’s experience
  • Runners with previous injuries (particularly in the first 3 months following the injury)
  • Marathon runners who run more than 40 miles/ 65km per week
  • Runners who rapidly increase their  speed or distance
  • Women with a low BMI or reduced bone density (Osteopenia or Osteoporosis)

(JAMA, 2014)

How can training load affect injury?

Various factors influence training load including:

  • The nature of your weekly running programme  – i.e. the frequency, intensity, time and duration)
  • Any other exercise or strength and conditioning you may do on top of your running
  • The nature of your running training is also a factor and some injuries are more commonly “volume-related” versus “pace-related”.

 

How can I improve my tissue tolerance?

Improving your tissue tolerance will reduce injury risk and can be achieved in several ways:

  • Cross-Training – using a variety of types of exercise in your training e.g. using swimming/cycling/cross-trainer
  • Optimising or adapting your running style– your running style will change the forces placed on your joints and muscles- small adaptations are often effective to help solve ongoing niggles and can help improve your economy and performance.
  • Optimising your footwear for your specific running biomechanics– this will help reduce load on the system
  • Taping can help offload your tissues so they have more tolerance to exercise
  • Running Specific Strength and Conditioning – it is now widely accepted that running performance can be improved by combining endurance training with explosive strength training. Adapting common gym-style strength work to make your programme specific to your running demands will help you improve your tissue tolerance more quickly
  • Maximise nutrition, hydration and sleep– these will undoubtedly help performance, recovery and tissue repair.

How Physio can help

At Physio on the River, we can help you both:

  • recover from injuries which are stopping you from running
  • help those ongoing niggles you are carrying whist continuing to run and
  • help reduce the risk of re-injury

Our physios are specialists at assessing the way you move and identifying the causes of injury. Combining our clinical skills and video gait analysis we can give you a really thorough screening and a baseline of information to create a tailor-made plan of action.

Our Standard 60 minute Running Assessment includes:

  • Establishing the specific details of your running history by exploring your training programme, coaching advice and goals for up and coming competitions
  • A physical screening to identify important biomechanical factors related to running (e.g joint and muscle flexibility tests and lower limb strength and muscle control measurements)
  • Treadmill analysis of your running with Hi-Speed video
  • A report of your video analysis findings
  • An exercise programme to help facilitate your rehabilitation

NB- if your Screening Assessment and/or running analysis identifies a specific injury requiring treatment then a course of physiotherapy can be provided.

How to book a Running Assessment with Dave or one of our team of Physios:

Call 0203 916 0286

Book online here

Email the clinic here

Or just pop in and speak to one of our Receptionists

If you found this useful and would like to read our other running related blogs just click here.

Are you a first time marathon runner or new to distance running? Read our top tips for avoiding the injury pitfalls!

 

If you have just got your first place in the London Marathon for 2018 – congratulations! Or perhaps you are new to distance running? Either way you’re no doubt excited but perhaps equally anxious about the challenges ahead.

Training for, and then running a marathon is a great achievement but there are lots of potential pitfalls along the way to overcome. Read on to find out our Running specialist, Dave Burnett’s top tips to help you glide along the road to success! Dave heads up our Running Clinic team of Physiotherapists.

 

1. Training programmes

“What do you mean? – I don’t just start running?!”

Whether you are just looking to get round or have a timed goal in mind, a marathon training programme is vital to success.

The programme you choose will depend on lots of factors including: your previous running experiences, the time you have available to train, your general health, your level of fitness and any injuries you may have or have had in the past.

If you are new to exercise, have any significant cardiovascular or bone health problems or are overweight, it’s a good idea to see your GP before you start training.

If you are new to running and don’t exercise regularly, it’s best to start with a Beginner’s Training Programme such as:

http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

https://www.runnersworld.com/training/the-8-week-beginners-guide

If you have some running experience or you are generally fit and exercise regularly the below link offers Marathon Programmes from beginner to advanced.

https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/trainingplans/

You will notice that your plan includes lots of activities that aren’t running. This is because we know that working on all the different aspects of fitness – flexibility, cardiovascular, core strength, muscle power and running pattern can help your all round performance and lower risks of injury.

2. Distance runners get injured frequently – so lower your injury risk!

Since the 1980’s the yearly risk for regular runners to get injured has remained as high as 70-80% despite advances in training methods and footwear technology.

As a ‘running beginner’ (i.e. less than a year’s experience), or if you have had any previous running injuries, you are at a higher risk of getting injured.

‘Overuse’ or ‘training load errors’ are common pitfalls in distance running. Beginners are often susceptible to injuries caused by ‘too much, too soon, too fast!’.

Simply put – if your training load (frequency, intensity, time and type) is higher than what your tissues can tolerate, you’ll get injured.

Our tissue tolerance is multi-factorial and related to: our age, our genetics, our general health, any previous injuries, our strength and mobility, our biomechanics, ability to recover, sleep, nutrition and lifestyle!

How we can help: At Physio on the River we offer a Physiotherapy Running Screening Assessment. Our physios can give you expert advice to reduce your injury risk and help you to progress through your training programme. The running assessment includes:

  • Health screening to help flag up any important health or disease factors that could affect your running
  • Physical screening tests specifically tailored to running which will highlight movement restrictions or imbalances in muscle strength or control
  • Treadmill video analysis of your running to identify any technical issues with your running pattern
  • Advice on running based strength and conditioning exercises to complement your training schedule

3. Do you need an injury MOT?

Research shows that runners often carry old injuries that have never been properly sorted out. An old niggle can place you at higher risk of developing a further injury so it’s really essential to get these assessed and treated properly before you start out on your running journey.

Common problem injuries may include calf muscle or Achilles tendon injuries, kneecap or knee tendon problems, buttock, hamstring and groin injuries or lower back pain.

Our physios are specialists at assessing the way you move and identifying the causes of injury. They can help you resolve ongoing issues.

4. Treat your feet!

It may sound obvious but a decent pair of running shoes will help reduce risk of injuries and make those longer runs much more bearable down the line.

The type of shoe you choose will depend on several important factors including:

  • your foot posture and shape of your feet (narrow or wide, high arch or flatter arch etc)
  • your running style – whether you are a heel striker or a forefoot striker
  • your running biomechanics – i.e. how all your joints from the lower spine to the toes move in a chain. Running can be affected by seemingly remote things like a stiff big toe or a stiff upper back!

It is therefore good to consider buying some shoes from somewhere that has the knowledge and skills to identify these factors properly. Locally we recommend Sporting Feet in Putney or Up and Running in Sheen.

5. Food for thought – literally!

A late and a croissant on the train to work simply won’t cut it in the world of marathon training! Your training schedule isn’t a license to eat just what you fancy!

  • So base your diet around mainly fresh, unprocessed foods – vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds.
  • Don’t forget to include some healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and oily fish to support your immune system, which may be compromised by heavy training. These healthy fats can help your joints recover from pounding the pavements.
  • Eat more on your long run days and less on your rest days, particularly starchy and sugary foods.
  • Keeping alcohol to less than 14 units per week is also advisable.

To read more about nutrition and hydration for your marathon training and the race day itself read our blog here.

So to summarise: start by sorting out any old unresolved niggles, get yourself a proper training plan suitable to your particular level of experience, come and have a Running Assessment Screening session or Injury MOT with Dave, get yourself a decent pair of running shoes and don’t forget to fuel yourself properly!

If you would like to book a session with Dave or one of the team of physios, just call 0203 916 0286, email us here , book online by clicking the book online button on the right here or drop in for a chat.

If you have found this blog useful and would like to read our other running and marathon blogs just click here.

Getting into your best marathon mindset

Are you running a marathon? Do you feel daunted by the prospect of getting through the last few weeks of training and the race day from a mental perspective?

We have invited Dr Josephine Perry to give her top tips on some sport psychology things to think about for the final 6 weeks of training and the race day itself.

Dr Josephine Perry, of Performance in Mind, is a Sports Psychology Consultant. She was recently invited to take part in the London Marathon ‘Meet the Experts Day’ to talk about managing race day nerves, staying motivated and coping with the ‘marathon blues’. Read on to find out more…..

Handling nerves on the day

When you have spent so many months, and many hours of your life, training for something big like a marathon then nerves are only to be expected. And those nerves can actually be helpful. Those butterflies flapping about in your tummy can help get your heart rate up, get the blood pumping round your body and get your body and brain excited about what is ahead of you.

When you get too nervous though you can get tense, find your muscles tightening up (risking injury) and feel nauseous. To try to secure excited rather than anxiety inducing nerves you can create a mantra. This is a short phrase that you repeat over and over again to keep positive thoughts in your head.

It will often be about your goal or your motivation for your race and it works best when it is personal to you to remind you why you are doing the marathon. Repeating this mantra over and over will keep your mind positive and you motivated and stops those negative voices creeping into your head.

Staying motivated when you go through a bad patch in training or in the actual marathon

When you are running for more than 2 hours (and actually more than 4 hours for most of us) on marathon day there will be times when it feels really difficult. Those low patches happen to everyone and while we know deep down we can get through them it can be hard to remember when everything hurts and you are depleted of energy.

One neat trick to try is to distract yourself. There are hundreds of ways to do this and we each have our own preference. Here are some suggestions for you to try:

  • Some people like to count in other languages
  • Some make lists of things.
  • Some plan exactly what they will eat or drink for their recovery meal
  • Others make up stories in their heads about the people around them.
  • Or they have a competition inside their head for the best banner
  • Or purposely thank every marshal they run past.

Whatever your distraction is, it will take your mind off your body and focus your brain on something else, helpfully meaning when you click back into the marathon you are further down the road towards the finish.

Coping with the marathon blues

Completing a marathon is an amazing achievement, and you may have spent months dreaming about that moment it is over, you have the medal round your neck and you get to treat yourself.

But sometimes, when you have lived for a specific date for so long, and focused so hard on your training, it can actually feel like a big come down afterwards and you can get what has been labelled the ‘post-marathon blues’.

To ensure you don’t find yourself in this position there are three things you can do.

  • The first is to plan something exciting you can look forward to in the week following the marathon as your treat.
  • Next, consider which goal you want to go for next. Is it to go longer, or faster, or to try a variation of road running like a triathlon, cross country or some track events? Set that goal and enter the race.
  • Finally, set up some social payback. Social support from your family and friends makes a big difference to how successful you are able to be in your running. So when you have some time off after the marathon use that time to thank them and to support them in their sport or hobby. It will make them feel special, and earn you some brownie points for when you enter your next race!

 

Josie specialises in helping athletes in endurance sports such as long distance running. triathlons, cycling and open water swimming. But she has experience in other sports too. She has worked with both elite and amateur athletes, helping them to maximise their potential and give of their best in their event through mental skills training. Whether you are an individual or a team – Josie can help you get motivated!

To find out more about Performance in Mind or to contact Josie to make an appointment click here to go to her website.

If you have a physical injury and are struggling with your marathon training – come and see one of our Physiotherapists who can help you with your recovery.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog you might also enjoy our other running blogs. Click here to see the full selection.

 

 

 

 

Running a marathon? Read these top tips on footwear!

Are you running a marathon? Do you know how often you should change your shoes?

Have you thought about the race day and what you will be wearing?

We’ve asked Dominic Stead of Sporting Feet to give us his top tips on footwear and more!

Sporting feet

Dominic and co-owner Geoff Ross run Sporting Feet – a sports footwear shop with branches in Putney and Richmond. Here at Physio on the River we have sent several clients for advice and the feedback we have received has been excellent. Friendly, informative staff and great products! Read on to find out Dominic’s best advice for those running a marathon.

How often should I change my running shoes?

  • Running shoes typically last for about 500 miles, so make sure your shoes still have plenty of life left in them.
  • It’s often a good idea to rotate a couple of pairs of your favourite shoes so that one of your pairs is nice and fresh for the race (but not brand new!).
  • Don’t buy a new pair less than 4 weeks out from the race. You need time to run them in – literally!

How do I know I have the right shoes for my feet?

  • If you are getting blisters or any other niggles, do go to a running specialist retailer to check that you have the right shoes for your gait.
  • It’s also vitally important to make sure you have the right size and width too. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how often runners are wearing the wrong size!
  • In general, the longer the race (and therefore the amount of training you are doing) the more space you should have in your shoes.
  • Running shoes should normally be a half to whole size bigger than your regular shoe size. We usually say you need half to a whole thumbnail of space from the end of your biggest toe to the end of the shoe.

What sort of socks should I wear?

Make sure you wear good quality technical running socks. These are not made of cotton but man-made fibres that keep your feet cool and reduce sweating.

Have you any advice about clothing and the unpredictable great British weather?!

We waste a huge amount of energy trying to regulate our own body’s temperature when running, if we are either too hot or too cold. So it’s essential to get this right.

The trick to clothing is the layering system. Wear several layers of light, breathable fabrics rather than one heavy layer.

  • Just as with your socks, your running clothing should be good quality, breathable technical gear too. These sophisticated fabrics wick away sweat and help you regulate your temperature.
  • When training, work out how many layers you need to wear to stay at the right temperature for different weather conditions.
  • Check out the weather forecast for the day a few days ahead of race day so you can plan ahead.
  • It’s best to have a dry run to prepare fully for the day, so have a nice long run in the shoes, socks and clothing that you intend to run in as part of your training plan.

Special offer!

Dominic and Geoff kindly offer our clients a 10% discount on running shoes. To take advantage of this offer pick up one of their flyers from the clinic and take it with you when you visit their shop.

To find out more about Sporting Feet click here to visit their website. They have an excellent range of both running shoes and shoes for many other different sports. They cater for adults and children alike and have a wealth of experience in this area.

For further advice on your running technique do book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists who are trained to analyse your running gait and can help you with any issues or injuries you may have.

We also have a Podiatrist, Sas Ahmadi, who is a specialist in the biomechanics of running gait. He can help if you have alignment problems and require custom built insoles to go inside your shoes to support your feet or ankles.

To book an appointment with one of our team just call 0203 916 0286, email us here or pop in for a chat.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog and are interested in our other running blogs then click here.

Getting your nutrition and hydration right on marathon race day

We have invited Jo Scott-Dalgleish, a Registered Nutritional Therapist, to guest blog for us on the subject of nutrition and hydration for marathon race days.

Jo is a degree-qualified Nutritional Therapist who specialises in endurance sports such as long distance running, cycling, triathlons, open water swimming events and other endurance sporting challenges.

Jo says that planning what to eat and drink both before running a marathon and during the race itself, can make a real difference to your race day experience. Here’s what you need to know:

Your training diet

  • Training for a marathon isn’t a licence to eat whatever you want, whenever you want! That might well lead to unwelcome weight gain, which will slow you down on race day. Even if you are one of those people who never gains weight, the combination of a poor quality diet and the demands of training might result in illness and lost training days.
  • So base your diet around mainly fresh, unprocessed foods – vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds.
  • Don’t forget to include some healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and oily fish to support your immune system, which may be compromised by heavy training, and help your joints recover from pounding the pavements.
  • Eat more on your long run days and less on your rest days, particularly of starchy and sugary foods. Keeping alcohol to less than 14 units per week is also advisable.

Marathon week

  • The latest studies suggest that it’s only necessary to increase your carbohydrate intake (carb-loading) in the two days before marathon day.
  • You’ll be resting on those days, so your calorie requirements will be lower than usual. Reduce your protein and fat intake and increase the proportion of your calories that comes from carbs, rather than just eating more food.
  • Good carbs to choose are bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, oats, fruit, fruit juice and smoothies, dried fruit and starchy vegetables like sweet potato, butternut squash and beetroot.
  • If you are prone to a dodgy stomach, avoid foods high in fibre such as beans and wholegrain bread, and spicy foods.

The night before

  • Eat your evening meal a bit earlier than you normally would to ensure you digest it well before bed, and choose foods that you are familiar with.
  • It’s a good idea to avoid high fat food choices: save the cheesy pizza for after the race. Pasta with tomato sauce and chicken might be a better choice.
  • Drink around 1.5-2 litres of water during the day before your marathon to ensure you are fully hydrated. Perhaps sip on a sports drink for some extra carbs.

Race morning

  • Have a breakfast that you have tried before your long training runs and consume mostly carbohydrate. Toast and honey or a bowl of porridge with some dried fruit would be good choices.
  • If you eat breakfast more than 3 hours before the start, have a banana or energy bar on the way to the race.

During the race

  • You will need to consume some sugar during the race, or risk “hitting the wall” in the later stages. This is because your muscles can only store enough carbohydrate to provide energy for around 2-3 hours of running, depending on your pace. So taking on a sports drink or gel or some jelly beans becomes necessary.
  • It is essential to practise your fuelling strategy in training, preferably using the same brand of sports nutrition products as will be available on the course. As a guide, have 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour after the first 45 minutes. Don’t leave fuelling until you start to run out of energy – that will be too late!
  • You should also drink regularly, in line with your thirst. It’s a good idea to check the pre-race information pack for where aid stations with water and sports drink will be available on the course.

After the race

  • Your chance for a treat! It’s a good idea to have some protein to help your muscles recover as well as some carbohydrate to replenish your energy. Drinking chocolate milk has been shown to be helpful.

To book a consultation with Jo click here or to find out more from her website click here.

If you have enjoyed this blog you might also like to read our other marathon and running related blogs. Just click here to see the full selection.

 

 

10 top tips for running in winter weather

 Read on to find out our 10 top tips to get through whatever the winter months can throw at us!

Whether you are training for a marathon or just a regular leisure runner you will no doubt know all about the challenges of running in winter conditions. Let us help you with some practical advice.

1. Get your clothing right

The trick to clothing in the winter is the layering system. Wear several layers of light, breathable fabrics rather than one heavy layer. The warm air gets trapped between the layers to keep you warm.

Fabrics are very sophisticated nowadays and materials such as polypropylene and capilene wick away your sweat and keep you warm. We suggest something like this:

  • a base layer – the first layer such as a breathable synthetic fabric that will draw away the sweat from your body. If it’s very cold, warm it up on the radiator before putting it on so you are warm from the get go!
  • a mid layer – such as a lightweight fleece to keep you warm and remove any moisture from the base layer
  • an outer layer – such as a light water-resistant jacket to keep you protected from the wind and rain

Use any zips and air vents to regulate your temperature during the run. When starting out, dress as if you are running in 20 degrees warmer – you should feel slightly cool at the beginning of your run.

Avoid running in cotton tops. Cotton soaks up moisture and takes time to dry out which may make you feel cold.

A pair of leggings or running tights worn under shorts or tracksuit bottoms can keep your legs nice and warm.

2. Extremities

hat and gloves

hat and gloves

During the winter months wear gloves or mittens and a hat as standard kit. As the blood goes to your muscles your extremities can be vulnerable to the cold. Hats and gloves will help to reduce heat loss.

Two layers of thin socks can be better and warmer than one thicker pair.

3. Visibility

When it’s dark and raining you will be hard to spot if all in black! Choose running gear that has reflective strips and is colourful. For high visibility pink and orange fluorescent clothing is supposed to be slightly better than yellow. Some runners wear a headlamp; this will help you see where you are going but also help you to be seen by others.

4. Shoes

Running shoes

Running shoes

In very wet weather avoid shoes with a lot of mesh. Shoes with Gore-Tex uppers or similar waterproof material will keep your feet from getting soaked and cold. Make sure you renew your shoes regularly – about every six months if you are a regular runner. Don’t start the winter season with poor grip! We have an association with Sporting Feet in Putney and Richmond and our clients are entitled to 10% off their running shoes.

If your shoes get wet, to dry them out and keep their shape, loosen the laces as much as possible, remove the insole and stuff your shoes with newspaper.

Think about the route your are going to run and avoid those with hazards that may not be easy to spot in the poor weather – such as pot holes or uneven paving.

5. Warm up

Warm up inside before your set off for your run. You could use a skipping rope or run up and down your stairs to get your muscles warm in preparation.

If meeting up with friends don’t stand around in the cold waiting for people to arrive. Arrange to meet somewhere warm or wait in your car until everyone has arrived.

6. Hydration

water-bottleBecause it’s cold you won’t notice yourself sweating as you would in summer months so it’s important to make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water during your run.

7. Running in windy conditions

When it’s particularly windy, it’s best to set off against the wind whilst you are fresh and return with the advantage of the wind on your back. Wear an outer waterproof layer that will protect you against the wind. Remember to protect exposed skin on cheeks and nose with a layer of vaseline.

8. Post run routine

When you are coming to the end of your run slow down your pace and allow your body to cool down gradually. Don’t stop and do your stretches in the cold but wait until you get inside.

It’s important to get out of cold, wet clothing as quickly as possible and into dry kit from head to toe. Don’t hang around talking to friends in your running gear. Once warm have a hot drink.

9. Motivation

Running buddies!

Running buddies!

When the weather is dark, wet and murky it’s hard to get motivated to run. So if you’re serious about keeping it up regularly, find a buddy to run with. It’s much harder to find excuses not to go when you are letting someone else down!

10. Running with a cold

If you have a mild cold and feel alright in yourself then it should be okay to run. But if your temperature is 38 degrees or more and you have a fever – don’t run. You are likely to make your fever worse and in extreme cases you can develop a virus that affects your heart.

If you are just taking up running or know you are carrying an old injury:

We advise an assessment with one of our Physios. We will carry out a  comprehensive screening of your movement system which will help to identify any potential problem areas. We can set you going on a programme of exercises to address any imbalances so that injuries can be prevented.

Our team of Massage therapists can also help you get your soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues) in top condition for running. Don’t miss our 6 for the price of 5 block booking special offer to get you started!

To book an appointment call us on 0203 916 0286, click here to email us or pop in for a chat.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog then try our other running related blogs:

Running a marathon? Is sports massage a luxury or a necessity?

Running a marathon? Read our Physio, Nic Pugh’s marathon story

Running the London Marathon? Why it’s a good idea to get checked out by a Physio first

How Pilates can help new mums get safely back to running – post pregnancy

London Marathon – race day preparations

10 top tips for injury free running

 

 

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