RunningiStock.jpgsmallsizeRespecting the distance a marathon imposes on the body is paramount before embarking on the 42.2km event. A commonly held belief amongst runners is that running a marathon is about just that – running. However, running big kilometres requires not only a practised ability to run distances but also muscular strength and endurance, both of which should be a part of the training schedule.

Recently, marathon running has become very in-vogue, with destination marathons a popular choice. Who could blame you for wanting to run a marathon and finish the race entering Central Park, New York with thousands of people cheering you (and many others) home?

Before that elated feeling can come to fruition there are many training sessions to be had. Most people tend to come in and see us 3 months out from the race, just as the interval training is at its peak. The closer the event gets, the more it becomes a case of just managing the injury to get across the line. However, if there is a commitment of 9-12 months into training for a marathon, why not give it 110% and run through the finish line, as opposed to falling over it?

With the Melbourne marathon only a few months away and triathlon season approaching rapidly, it is important to have a plan which includes a balance of run and strength training to optimise performance and prevent injury.

Professional advice on type of training is becoming more and more important as the wave of Google experts increase! Across the board, running specific strength training is neglected. This refers to strength exercises, which focus on breaking down the running components – i.e hip extension, knee drive, calf strength.  It’s very pleasing to hear that running groups are implementing pre-run glut activation exercises, however, it is important to dedicate 2 sessions a week to strength training in order to support and distribute the stresses from pounding the pavement.

 

Recommendations:

1. Muscular strength is necessary for performance – as demonstrated in Ronnestad et al, (2013) endurance training can improve when combined with either heavy load or explosive strength training (Ronnestad et al, 2013).
2. Booking in for a running screening with video analysis in the early stages is a diligent step towards preventing injury, rather than dealing with the consequences of a stress fracture or other severe injury 2 months out from the event.
3. Make an appointment with a professional dietitian about your training diet so that you’re fueling the body correctly.
4. Join a running group to assist with motivation and instill a competitive edge
5. Have fun and find time to enjoy the benefits of training.

 

Research

Ronnestad BR, Mujika I.  Optimising strength training for running and cycling endurance performance: A review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013;24(4):603-612.