Practice what you preach-Sydney Marathon 2016

 

In June 2016 I started my training for the Blackmores Sydney Full Marathon 2016.

I followed the Blackmores marathon training program. I am traditionally a sprinter by nature so it was hard to imagine ever running long distance.

My main goal was to successfully train for the marathon and remain injury free.

 

The training program that I selected was very manageable and suited my working and personal lifestyle. It included mainly of:

-One long run a week

-Core and flexibility training (30 minutes)

-Functional strength training (30minutes)

-High intensity training (<45 minutes)

 

My weekly long run was based on time rather than distance which is unusual for a training program. In preparation for the 42.2km marathon, the furthest I ran was from Balgowlah to Manly and all the way to Palm Beach, a route that wasn’t spare of hills!

As a physiotherapist, flexibility and core training seemed evident as part of any long endurance training program. My core strength training was improved by the use of equipment and mat Pilates. I was very lucky to have the use of the Pilates gym in the practice and while challenging myself with different exercises I also created new ways to challenge my own Pilates patients.

Unfortunately, flexibility was never a strength and in the past it always seemed like a chore. However, as the miles were increasing I began to learn the value of stretching and foam rolling. Clinically, I am the greatest advocate of maintaining muscle length but I admit training for the marathon made me realise its value even more.

After every training session or long run I always put aside a minimum of 15 minutes to stretch and foam roll, targeting the main muscle groups such as calf’s, hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, glutes as well as foam rolling and mobilising my thoracic and lumbar spine.

Stretching and foam rolling aided my muscle recovery, maintained muscle strength, reduced the incidence of injury and allowed me to keep adding on the miles.

Functional based training included weighted balance exercises, single leg movement exercises with the main focus being on stability and control. Fortunately, my functional training overlapped with most of my Pilates training so often this training session incorporated Pilates based exercises.

High intensity training incorporated 45 minutes of a medium paced jog for 4 minutes and a maximum sprint for one minute (repeated 9 times). This was mostly carried out in a gym on a treadmill where I was able to keep a close eye on time and speed.

On the 18th of September, I successfully completed my ever first full marathon. I never thought I was capable of sticking to a training program or being able to run the distances required.

This experience has allowed me to gain a greater insight into the mental and physical dedication that is required to achieve a goal that appeared to be impossible at the beginning.

Hopefully my marathon experience will encourage you to stretchJ, continue your hard work in the Pilates gym or in your own personal rehab program, to one day reach your own personal fitness or rehab goal.