01 Mar 2017

Train like a champion: Part 2

Running shoes

If you’ve got supporters taking part in this year’s London marathon, then they want to share the wisdom and experience of Sophie Lane with them. She’s a Specialist Performing Arts and Sport physiotherapist based at The Centre of Health and Human Performance, in London’s Harley Street. We asked Sophie what advice she’d give to runners entering their final months of training and complied her top tips below. Sophie’s worked with performers across the West End and ran her first marathon in 2013. She’s just come back from Austria after working with the celebrity cast of Channel 4’s The Jump,

1. Feel proud of what you’ve achieved

You’ve trained hard, endured sweat, tears and running in the cold and rain with wet feet. But you’ve kept going. So well done! The final 7-8 weeks of training can seem like a drag, but keep at it; the finish line is in sight.

2. Try not to make up for lost time and listen to your body

During your 12-16 week training plan, lots of things can happen that can disrupt your training. You go away for an unexpected business trip; you get sick, sprain your ankle, have a ‘big’ weekend and miss your long weekend run, and so on.

The result of this is that you miss a workout; even a couple of week’s worth of workouts, and you feel guilty. As a result, you may want to cram in as many workouts as you can, even training twice a day. But try not to do this. If you do, you will raise your chances of injury, whether this be fatigue induced or from overtraining.

So respect your body and modify your programme. Ensure you are still cross training, and incorporating your active recovery sessions into your training. And if you feel under the weather, or over tired, then take the rest.

3. Follow a three-week taper

Try to reach 20/22 miles during your training runs no later than 2/3 weeks pre- Marathon. Then it’s time to taper down your training, which most people (including me) find tricky.

There are a few mistakes you can make during this time by either training too much or too little in the last couple of weeks or changing up your training.

For example, if you suddenly think ‘I must pick up my speed, so I will do some short speed-orientated runs’ and then compensate with a type of workout that uses a different energy system to the one you’ve been using, it can fatigue your muscles more. This is because your body is not conditioned to it. In turn this will slow down recovery, and again increase your chance of injury.

4. You will have last minute jitters

During your tapering period, you may find that you feel slow, heavy and tired after you have allowed yourself to rest a couple of days. This is normal. It can take up to 10 days to fully recover from a tough training workout. One mistake people can make is that they expect immediate gratification from a couple of days rest, and this is not the case.

So keep training light and regular and don’t rest too much, as it can lead to you feeling sluggish and flat on race day. It can also increase your chances of feeling run down, or picking up a sickness bug due to the sudden change of activity and demands of the body.

5. Eat well and nourish your body

During the last few weeks it’s important to eat well and nourish your body with a balanced and healthy diet, lots of fluids and complex carbohydrates. Similar to tapering, try not to change your eating habits and introduce new foods. Stick to foods that work with you, and try not to start eating a new food pre-Marathon, because your colleague at work has said it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Stick with what you and your body know.

You can follow Sophie Lane on Instagram: @sophielanephysio

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