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Get ready for London Marathon: Hip, ‘toe’…hooray!
Going the distance and running your marathon or half-marathon this year?
Long distance running puts your legs (from hip to toe) through the wringer.
Before cheering, saying ‘Hip, hip hooray’, you hopefully would have started a good training few months ago to ensure a safe progression. A challenge like the marathon is incredibly rewarding but also very tough on the body. Increasing your exercise capacity to this level pushes the limits of endurance both physically and mentally. Training for long races, which of course includes, long runs, puts a lot of stress on the muscles and tendons of your legs. Get the most mileage out of your lower half with expert tips to keep your legs in tip-top shape throughout training and, of course, through race day. As you ramp up your mileage in training, your muscles and posture are more apt to dysfunctions and adaptations which lead to postural imbalance and result in soreness and pain.
Muscles that typically need a little extra consideration during long race training are hip muscles, quads, hamstrings, and calves (see below ‘don’t forget to stretch’ for further details).
Active rest and recovery: your old friend "rest day" is the fix! Furthermore, sleeping! That is underestimated as a tool for recovery. This is when your body can shut down and truly rebuild.
Diet: eat balanced meals and stay hydrated, it's very common for marathon runners to be unknowingly dehydrated during training.
Compression: research suggests compression (socks, sleeves, etc.) might increase blood flow to the heart, helping clear muscular waste products, such as lactic acid, that make your legs feel like lead after a long run.
Cross-Train: don't forget your other recovery tools to keep your legs in shape throughout training and race day. Non-impact cross training like swimming, cycling, and using the elliptical make for smart active recovery.
Don't forget to stretch: stretching and foam rolling when your body is still warm from your workout will help loosen tight muscles. You should do it after every run, focusing on every crucial muscle, even the unimaginable! For example, hip flexion is controlled by quads, psoas and sartorius, which plays an important role in hip motion and, consequently, some unclear pain around the hip. Don’t miss piriformis, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis anterior, also stretching and considering your feet posture.
Osteopathy and Sports massage: see below…
HOW OSTEOPATHY AND MASSAGE THERAPY CAN HELP IN THE RUN UP TO THE LONDON MARATHON.
We can assess and correct your postural symmetry and length-tension relationship of the muscles, both running and in general. For example, most people favour one side of their body and lean a little. This may not cause issues in everyday life (although it often can) but when putting the body through lots of miles, both during the race and in training, a small imbalance can develop into far more painful and debilitating problems.
Even without problems, a good muscular and joint mobility treatment can be very beneficial during training, especially when tightness has started to develop.
Written by Fabio Basile, Osteopath (UK-GOsC and ITA-ROI), Central London Osteopathy and Sports Injury Clinic,