Katy Niccol, senior physiotherapist at Crewroom, gives us her expert advice on how to prevent injury in the run up to race day.
Change one variable at a time
The main group of runners I see with injuries are the ones that have either increased their mileage or speed too quickly in their training runs. Generally, when training for long distance running, it’s best to change one variable at a time. So for each run, either make it longer, or make it quicker.
It’s a bit of a cliché, but runners fall into two groups – either you want to compete in it or you just want to complete it! And I don’t mean competing with the front group. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to running. We compete with ourselves to try and beat a previous time, we compete with our friends who have done it in the past, or we compete with our family, or worst yet our in-laws!
Build up mileage slowly
As race day gets closer, it’s likely a few of you will be feeling guilty for not doing that last extra-long run. Hopefully you’ve been building up mileage slowly but surely, but if this isn’t the case, let’s just get you through the next two weeks in as good a nick as possible.
Strengthen and stretch
Strengthening and stretching would be a good idea right about now. Gluteal muscles are the most underestimated muscle group in runners and I could bore you with biomechanics, but take my word for it, every other day make your bums burn! Either with a one-legged bridge exercise on each leg, or good quality alternate lunge (if in doubt YouTube is a wondrous thing).
Then, from a stretching point of view, aim for daily 30 second holds whenever you remember throughout the day. Do this for your calves, both with a bent knee behind (soleus muscle) and a straight knee (gastrocnemius muscle), front of the thigh (quadriceps), and back of the thigh (hamstrings).
Running a half marathon might not be a pain free experience, but it’s certainly going to be an enjoyable and rewarding one.
Good luck everyone, enjoy the run!