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Good Luck for the Winchester Half Marathon

Posted on 20th September 2018 by

It’s so great to have so many fantastic running events in our local area. This weekend is the much anticipated Winchester Half. We have lots of patients, friends and family taking place in this local Hampshire event.

And who can guess what the main topic of discussion is in anticipation of this event?…….HILLS!

But don’t let that taint your excitement. Hill’s can be great and here’s a little reminder of some of the benefits of hills, courtesy of Rock Creek Runner.


benefits of hill running

So, when you’re taking on those hilly challenges on Sunday, keep these benefits in mind!

Best of luck to everyone taking part in the Winchester Half Marathon event, we look forward to hearing your marathon stories next week. And if you want to be prepared and book in your recovery massage for next week, don’t forget you can do this online 24/7. So if those hills have taken their toll on Sunday evening, you can book there and then!

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The London Marathon 2018 – Reflections As A Spectator

Posted on 23rd April 2018 by

WOW! What an experience it was, going to London to watch my Sister Helen, in her first London Marathon yesterday! I’m still buzzing from the energy and excitement of the day.

The London Marathon is one of the biggest and most popular mass participation events in the world! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on the day. Given that I like to be prepared, I did a fair bit of research so that we would see Helen at a few points, whilst keeping our travel efficient and manageable. Here’s how our day panned out!

Setting Off

We were traveling up from Winchester & Southampton, so decided to park at Westfield, where day charges are pretty reasonable, there are good tube links and we were the right side of London for getting home at the end of the day. It was an early (7am) start, so we could make sure we got parked and allowed enough time for traveling to our first viewing point.

Stop 1

From Westfield, we took the Central Line from Shepherd’s Bush to Bank. And from Bank we took the DLR (thankfully the industrial action strike was called off) to the Cutty Sark. We had originally planned to get off at Greenwich DLR, which on reflection I think we should have done, as the Cutty Sark station and area was very busy – but it worked out OK.

London Marathon Mile 6From the Cutty Sark DLR station we walked past the Cutty Sark, through the University of Greenwich gardens, to Romney Road – directly opposite the National Maritime Museum. This point was just after Mile 6. We arrived there in ample time, by around 10am. At this point we had great, unobstructed views of the route. We were right near a drinks station for the Elite men. Referring to the really handy Pace Guide (from the Marathon website) we timed our arrival so that we’d see the Elite men pass, which they did at around 10.28am.

It was amazing watching these athletes speed past us – great to see and it really got the crowds going, ready for the masses.

The masses started coming through 10 or 15 minutes later. Such a sight! The cheering and encouragement was infectious and we were soon carried away, calling out the names on the shirts of passing runners, ‘high fiving’ those on our side and clapping away! The heat really was intense and some runners were already struggling at mile 6.

The Marathon App was fantastic. You could enter the race numbers of those you wanted to see and track their location real time – this was absolutely invaluable. With so many runners, it was difficult to spot people, so if you knew to expect them coming, you were much less likely to miss them.

We also made some flags and had them on extendable flag poles (a fantastic find – light and collapsed down to fit in my bag!). Just bought plain flags from eBay and used iron on transfer paper for our personal message – very cheap and effective!

Having the flags meant our runner could easily spot us in amongst the spectators. We had also told Helen where to expect to see us and she wrote the miles on her arm, so she had a quick reference to refer to so she’d know when to look out. These 2 things she said really helped – without the flags, it would have been very hard for her to have seen us.

So, our plans all worked out and we were beyond excited to see Helen run towards us still looking fresh and full of energy at Mile 6. A quick passing high 5 and some encouraging cheers, and she was on her way!

 London Marathon Mile 6 spectators  London Marathon Mile 6 Runner Jesus at Marathon Cutty Sark Marathon Greenwich Marathon

Stop 2

And so were we! From here, we walked back through the University Gardens, past the Cutty Sark and went under the Thames via the Greenwich foot tunnel to the Isle of Dogs. There was a very short wait to access the tunnel but it was very well managed. It was only open 1 way, so you couldn’t have accessed it to get the other direction.

From the other side of the Thames, we made our way through Millwall Park up to East Ferry Road (near the Mudchute DLR). This took us about half an hour or so.

We found a great spot to watch just after Mile 17. There were lots of grassy banks to rest on and have some much needed refreshments. Again the app was fab, as we could see exactly when to look out for Helen.

At Mile 17 she was still looking amazing – lots of smiles and full of energy!

As we left this point and walked up towards mile 18, there were lots of runners walking and stopping at the side of the road. Not sure if people hit a bit of a wall at this point, but we definitely saw some struggling.

Our plan from here was to walk up to Westferry DLR Station and see Mile 20 but we realised this was unrealistic and so we amended our plans.

Stop 3

Instead we walked to Canary Wharf DLR station. It took a while to get over the footbridge to Canary Wharf, so this slowed us down quite a bit (it may have been easier to try and get on the DLR at Crossharbour or South Quay). From Canary Wharf, we took the Jubilee line to London Waterloo. This tube was BUSY (and hot & sweaty, nice!). The driver advised the passengers that it was unlikely they were going to stop at Westminster due to congestion, so advised people to get off at Waterloo. We’d already heard it wasn’t advised to try and access the end via Westminster, so had already planned to get off at Waterloo – which was a wise move.

From Waterloo, we headed straight to Waterloo Bridge (again avoiding Westminster Bridge). Tracking Helen on the app, it was a race against time as she was running along Victoria Embankment towards the bridge as we were on the bridge! So, we literally had to run to see her! We successfully spotted her between miles 24 and 25 as she ran under the bridge – with a great view from the bridge.

Had we known that timing would have been so tight, we would have tried to move faster from our previous stop. We would then have had time to get down to Victoria Embankment to see her from the ground.

The End

From Waterloo Bridge, we walked up towards Trafalgar Square, up The Mall and under Admiralty Arch to the meeting point. Meeting points were labelled according to finishers surname. They weren’t easy to find given the sheer volume of people, but the official helpers were great at pointing us in the right direction. Checking the app, we could see that she’d finished and should be on her way.

4 hours 10 minutes – brilliant! 

We spotted Helen walking to the meeting point and it was congratulatory hugs and celebrations all round! She was full of smiles and had an amazing run.

It was pretty overwhelming seeing all these runners celebrating their achievements with their medals proudly hung round their necks, wearing their finishers T Shirts. We even saw a marriage proposal!

 

From here we all headed for a much needed cool drink and finally made our way home.

This spectator route certainly needed some level of fitness! We clocked up over 20,000 steps and covered almost 15km! But we certainly couldn’t complain about our sore feet & legs having witnessed the extremes the runners pushed themselves to!

This plan was based on timing for a 4 hour marathon, so could obviously be adjusted accordingly for different times.

Alternative Plan

Our alternative (less ambitious plan or had the DLR strike gone ahead) was to have travelled from Westfield to Tower Hill and watched at Mile 13/14 The Highway and then again at Mile 22 The Highway. Some of Helen’s other supporters chose this option, which worked really well. The added bonus of this for the runner was that they saw some familiar faces at 4 points during the race, which was a real motivator!

Top Tips

Having reflected on the day and our plans, it all worked out great! Here are our top tips!

  • Take plenty of food and drink. The schedule was pretty tight and everywhere was so busy, that there wasn’t much time for stopping off for refreshments. We did find an Asda at Mile 17, but the lunch time food selection was already sold out by the time we got there, so we had to be creative!
  • Download the app to track your runners – absolutely invaluable.
  • Take some flags or similar accessory and make your runner(s) aware of it. It will really help them find you amongst the crowds.
  • Get the runners to write on their arm which miles to expect to see you. This will really help motivate them and remind them to look out for you.
  • Prepare for the weather adequately! On reflection, we needed sun hats, sun screen and flip flops given the unprecedented heat this year. However, we could have just as likely needed rain coats & hoodies – it’s a long day out in the open, so do bring the right clothing.
  • If you want to go for something to eat and/or drink after the event, think about booking somewhere. Everywhere is, unsurprisingly, extremely busy. Make sure you allow enough time to get there from your meeting point too, the crowds definitely slow everything down!
  • Have fun – it really is a fantastic day!

More Info

  • You can sponsor Helen (who ran for Sense) here.
  • Read Helen’s marathon blog here.

#SpiritOfLondon #VirginLondonMarathon

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Runners – How to maximise your training time!

Posted on 26th June 2017 by

A lot of runners get stuck into a rut of running the same route at the same pace week in, week out. Whilst this is a fine way of maintaining our current fitness level it is not going to be enough to help us run further or faster. Even just adding the miles at our habitual comfortable pace will only lead to modest improvements in our endurance.

To really get the most out of our training we need to add variety. This challenges both our muscles and our energy systems in new ways to increase the rate at which they adapt to our training. Not only that but it has the added psychological bonus of experimenting with new routes and new training regimes to help keep us motivated and reduce risk of injury.

If you’re short on time the great news is that you don’t need to spend hours pounding away on the tarmac to achieve significant changes in your speed and endurance – you’re likely to get more benefit from a 30 minute higher intensity interval session than from a 1.5 hour run, although they both have their place!

There are 4 main types of training every runner should have in their programme:

  • Long slow run (LSR)
  • Tempo run
  • Speed/hill/interval session
  • Cross training

Long slow run

The LSR should be your longest (and slowest!) run of the week, the one which you gradually add miles to. This steady state sub-maximal training helps to build capillary density and increases number of mitochondria in your muscle cells which are an important part of our aerobic energy system. By doing this we increase the endurance and efficiency of both our cardiovascular system and our muscles. It also primes our tendons and bones to increase their stiffness to cope with gradually increases distances.

Tempo run

Tempo pace is described as ‘comfortably hard’. It is the maximum pace that we can sustain for approximately 1 hour. You should not be able to talk in full sentences but also not gasping for air if you are working in tempo zone.

Training in the ‘tempo zone’ means you are working at or just below your lactate threshold i.e. the point where the bodies ability to remove lactate from the blood is overtaken by the amount of lactate being produced.

As lactate levels increase the body begins to feel fatigued. Therefore by training just below our threshold we gradually increase it – this means we delay the onset of fatigue, helping us run further and faster.

Tempo runs should start with a 10 min warm up then aim to run for 20 minutes at the fastest pace you could sustain for 1 hour. As this gets easier you can gradually increase the time in the tempo zone up to 60 minutes.

Speed/hill/interval session

There are thousands of different ways to do interval sessions. These are the work outs that are going to increase your overall speed and power. They need to be short but hard – if you aren’t out of breath at the end you didn’t do it right! Don’t try to add intervals to your long runs, you won’t be able to work maximally and so you won’t get the full benefit. These sessions should last about 30 minutes in total, allowing 5-10 minutes for warm up and some recovery time in the middle. The fitter you are the shorter the recovery periods you’ll need between intervals and the more sets you can add.

Here’s a few ideas:

Intervals

Begin with: 10 min warm up, run 1 min mod-hard effort: 1 min easy jogging x 5
Progress to: 10 min warm up, 1 min max effort with 90 secs recovery x 10

Hill training

Begin with: 10 min warm up, 3 x 30 secs moderate effort uphill, walking back down
Progress to: 5 x 1min hard effort uphill, jogging back down with 30-60secs rest in between sets
Start with smaller hills then progress to steeper ones!

Cross training

Cross training means doing something other than running! This allows ‘active rest’ – working different muscle groups to running which prevents muscle imbalance but also training our running muscles in different ways to allows greater strength adaptations without overloading the tendons and joints.

Low impact options are great so try swimming or cycling for cardio. Pilates helps to build up your core postural muscles, making you more efficient when you run, and resistance training using relatively light weights and high repetitions allows you to strengthen and tone muscles without gaining muscle mass.

If you’ve got a race coming up, like the Winchester Half Marathon, which is particularly hilly, mixing up your training is crucial.

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Running Injuries – The Basic Principles

Running Rehab Service

 

 


Running Injuries: The Basic Principles

Posted on 8th July 2016 by

There are 2 main types of running injuries that we commonly see at goPhysio:

  1. Traumatic injuries
  2. Overuse injuries

Traumatic injuries are caused by an accident or ‘traumatic event’ for example tripping over when you’re running or having a fall.

These type of injuries usually happen unexpectedly and are therefore difficult to prevent, however there are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of these types of injuries.

  • Invest in good quality running shoes that are suitable for the type of running (trail, road etc.).
  • Wear the correct shoes and clothing for the weather conditions.
  • Warm up well to help prevent injuries that may be caused by sudden movements.
  • Listen to your body – if you’re not feeling 100%, are overly tired or recovering from an injury, you’ll be more at risk of having an accident.

If you suffer a mild to moderate traumatic injury, the best course of action is to follow the P.O.L.I.C.E. acute injury management programme. This will give you the best chance of a speedy recovery and return to running.

It’s important to remember that even if you need to rest from running, try and stay as active as you can and find alternative forms of exercise like swimming or cycling, where you can maintain your fitness, strength and flexibility but still allow your injury to recover.

It’s also very important to do specific exercises to work your injured are to recover strength and flexibility. This is particularly important to help prevent any re-injury once you’re back to running.

Overuse injuries are caused by repetitive movements that build up over time, that eventually your body can’t cope with. Given the repetitive and high impact nature of running, overuse injuries in runners are extremely common.

There are 2 main causes of overuse injuries:

Extrinsic Causes

These relate to external factors such as:

  • Footwear – wearing the wrong type of shoe for you or a shoe that’s worn out.
  • Running surfaces – repeated running on overly hard surfaces or on a certain camber.
  • Your training programme – normally overtraining, so increasing speed or distances too quickly and not allowing adequate recovery time.

Intrinsic Causes

These are related to your physical build and design. These include:

  • Muscle imbalances
  • Lack of flexibility or even over flexibility
  • Running technique
  • Biomechanics
  • Your own skeletal design

It can often be a cumulative combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors that lead to an injury. You can read more about overuse injuries on another one of our blogs.