Article written by Heather Lowman-Riggs - Senior Physiotherapist
Wait for my blog on what happens when you ignore your own advice and get injured, I told Stuart last week.
I had signed up for 'The Grizzly 2018' just 48 hours before it started, in the knowledge that I had only put on my running trainers twice so far in this year!
I just didn't want to miss out for another year, because the Grizzly is a notorious, off road race, organised by the running club that I was part of a few years back in Devon. It has 3000 feet of ascent and takes in all the delights of East Devon's shingle beaches, cliff face stairways and waist deep bogs.
Nobody could have predicted however, the arctic winds and drifts of snow that would accompany this years Grizzly. The race organisers braved the wrath of the participants (who had trained) by cutting the distance from 20 miles to 10 miles. We were urged that safety was more important than times, we needed to look out for each other out there. So we did and it was great.
No I didn't' get injured.
In fact I realised that although I wasn't fast because I haven't been running up hills lately, I felt strong. Twice a week circuits and plenty of cycling meant that I could trust my legs on the icy downhills and was steady on the climbs. Time didn't matter.
This made me think of our marathon runner clients, who are running out of time and getting left trailing behind in their training plans. I'm not saying don't train, that is obviously not a sensible thing to do, but sometimes life gets in the way and those runs are not keeping pace with your plan. Maybe you are starting to despair about niggles that are making your training runs into a chore, maybe time pressures mean you feel guilty for missing runs, so you are skipping the strength and conditioning or cross-training sessions, or maybe you are actually already in pain but are too scared to skip a run in case you get behind on your plan.
Put like that, it is obvious what I'm driving at.
We can't expect our bodies to do something high impact and repetitive without the appropriate strength in our muscles, tolerance in our tendons and movement patterns that load our joints optimally, even when we are tired. Those strength and conditioning sessions should be designed to give you all of the above. Obviously there is no substitute for getting out there and running but please don't rely on quantity alone. Quality comes with strength, appropriate joint ranges and even balance.