Running advice

18 April 2019

When the days and evenings get longer, this is a welcome moment for many to start training regularly again. The cold, wet days are long forgotten as the temperatures hit the double digits and spring fever gets into full swing.  Indeed, you may have a goal in mind such as the 2019 Run Gatwick Half Marathon. Here is some simple advice to guide your training.

Set a main goal and train to the goal

Setting yourself one or more (realistic) goals to give you a motivational boost and good reason to consistently stay the course for weeks or even months. And when you achieve your goal, you'll get your much-deserved reward in the form of immense satisfaction and pride.

Set intermediate goals

On the way to your major goal, it makes a lot of sense to keep yourself motivated with intermediate goals. These can also be so-called key training sessions or competitions in which you deliberately participate to prepare for your major goal. The intermediate goals will help ascertain whether you are on the right track and adjustments can be made, if necessary.

Little and often

To start with just do something, no matter how small.  It is the frequency not the quantity of training that matters. Rein in your overzealousness and never train initially to over 80-90% of your maximum time or distance. Remember the “ten percent rule” - do not increase your weekly training distance by more than 10% each week.

Low intensity base

Wearing shorts again for the first time in months, and your mind feels you are the local Mo Farah? Have insight and start slow, build a good base (6-8 weeks) of low intensity training. This will allow both your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems to adapt and reduce subsequent injury risk.

Then.... vary the intensity

Those who do the right forms of training at different levels of intensity will continuously surprise their body anew and can count on the biggest changes and greatest progress. 

Train holistically

They are different combinations of the fitness factors: endurance, strength, flexibility, speed, and coordination and need to be trained accordingly. Don’t just do your evening run or cycle, but strengthen and stretch your muscles before or after, vary your speed and concentrate on good technique.

The value of stretching

Muscles and tendons need to be strong and supple. Include a regular and varied programme of stretching to your training plan.

Check your equipment

Before you start training regularly, check your equipment (or get it checked). Your equipment is a decisive factor in determining whether your training is enjoyable and injury free. For example, running trainers should be replaced every 150-200 miles... This sounds a lot, but can accumulate quicker than you think.  Also, some new trainers or new running top is always a good reason to get outside for a quick run.

Protect your skin

As a pale skinned redhead myself, after the long winter months with little sun, your skin is poorly prepared for the stronger rays of sunshine. Therefore, make sure you remember to wear sunscreen, long-sleeved running top and cap.

Train your mind and body

Don’t be a slave to training. People who enjoy exercise are clearly more likely to continue doing regular exercise on an ongoing basis. It is meant to be fun. Enjoy the view from the top of a hill you have just ran up, you deserve it!!!

Advice from Mr Benedict Rogers, Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon (and runner in the 2019 Run Gatwick Half Marathon) at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital. If you wish to book a consultation with Mr Rogers, please call on 01293 778906 to find out more.

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