Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Marathon moderation

A couple of interesting columns in today's Evening Standard. The first was on the pitfuls marathon running, or more accurately marathon training, and the second on the prevention of injuries.

The first article, by Dr Christian Jessen, explains how training for a marathon can put your body under so much stress that it starts to breakdown. As with most things in life too much of anything can be bad for you including exercise and running for an hour a day is pretty punishing on the body.

I've always said I'm not going to run a marathon, and I remind myself why not by watching runners at the 20 mile mark of the London marathon each year!! It is a totally amazing achievement to run that far, but I know that putting in the right amount of training for such an event would actually put way too much stress on my body. As my objective in life is to keep myself as healthy as possible, running a marathon just doesn't make sense for me.

Dr Jessen quotes research from the Heart and Stroke Foundation that for runners who hadn't been undertaking long-term training, undertaking a marathon actually damaged their hearts. This damage was reversible but could take over three months. This is why it's so important to build up to something like a marathon by starting with shorter races and building up your training and distance gradually - however impressive it is to go from a non-runner to marathon man in a year it may be making invisible damage on your heart without you realizing.

The second column on preventative training was written by David Higgins, co-founder of TenPilates. His position is that more focus should be placed on 'prehab' - a preventative approach to fitness training - because it's so much easier to prevent an injury that to repair one once you have it. I'm all in favour of a preventative approach to health, which is why I think it's so important to start eating a healthy diet when you're young and healthy, rather than changing your diet as a reaction to falling ill.

This approach clearly also makes sense when it comes to your musculoskeletal system, which is why making time for proper stretching and core strengthening, such as pilates and yoga, in your exercise schedule is important, as is making sure you're using proper technique in the gym. Booking a personal trainer for a couple of sessions to check your technique and/or getting an Osteopath to check your alignment now whilst you feel fit and healthy may help correct minor issues that could have you hobbling and keep you out of the gym for months if left unaddressed. If you are planning on taking on something like a marathon this becomes even more important - you don't want to pull up with a hamstring injury two weeks before the race which could have been prevented.

No comments:

Post a Comment