WHETHER YOU ARE an elite athlete or just getting started with an exercise routine, you need to look after your body. It becomes even more important when you’re upping your mileage, increasing intensity or approaching a competition, and regular sports massages have a place in every training program – whatever your sport!
Sports massage is a great way to loosen up and stretch tight muscles, address any muscular imbalances, maintain soft tissue health and range of movement, get your body ready for competition and to promote quicker recovery after a hard workout or competition. It will also help you recover from any injuries quicker, through helping with the alignment of scar tissue, reducing pain and inflammation, and breaking down adhesions before they become chronic. A good massage therapist will work with you and take into account your training plan, race and recovery weeks, and can customize treatments to best suit your current needs.
WHEN THE MERCURY hits 80, 90, or 100+ degrees, your usual morning jog, tempo workout or long slow run becomes a very different beast. At best, it’s slower, more challenging and pretty sweat-inducing (though not actually, you know, pretty); at worst, it becomes a kick-your-butt sufferfest of epic proportions that takes a while to recover from. But there are many things you can do to aim for that first option. Running in the heat is tough, there’s no getting away from it, but you can make the most of hot weather running if you plan it well. If you can avoid running in the worst heat of the day you absolutely should – but if you have no flexibility, having to head out to a race or a group run when the conditions are brutal, here’s how to survive it.
ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE training for a half marathon or marathon, starting to run more miles per week, and running a combination of different types of workouts (easy long runs, speedwork, track sessions, maybe even dirt trails), you should consider running in more than just one pair of shoes. Think of it as having the right shoe for each workout – not to mention that shoe rotation is a key ingredient in preventing overuse injuries. Many runners beat the same pair of shoes into the ground every workout. In 4 to 6 months of relatively high mileage training (i.e. a typical half marathon or marathon training cycle), you are likely to cover enough miles to wear out a single pair of shoes – which means that if it’s your only pair, the cushioning is pretty dead by race day, and at the last minute you’ll realize that your options are either to run the race in practically new shoes, or in ones that will need to be thrown out after the race. Needless to say, neither scenario is ideal!
A good way to maintain a quick, efficient cadence is to run to music that has just the right tempo to match that magical 170-190 strides per minute. With enough practice it will come naturally, but until it becomes second nature, a well-planned playlist is a big help!
Here are some of my favourites:
Ward Thomas: Push For The Stride (172 bpm)
Sia: Chandelier (173 bpm)
The Vamps & Demi Lovato: Somebody To You (174 bpm)
Foo Fighters: Monkey Wrench (174 bpm)
Nicki Minaj: Girls Fall Like Dominoes (174 bpm)
Rachel Platten: Fight Song (175 bpm)
Katy Perry: Roar (178 bpm)
Ed Sheeran & Rudimental: Bloodstream (178 bpm)
Evanescence: Taking Over Me (180 bpm)
30 Seconds To Mars: The Kill (182 bpm)
Tinie Tempah: Written In The Stars (184 bpm)
Clement Marfo & The Frontline: Champion (186 bpm)
Ellie Gouding: Love Me Like You Do (188 bpm)
IF YOU’RE PREPARING for your first big race, the number of things to remember on the eve of the event may seem overwhelming. We were all there once – and if many races later you still get nervous or anxious that’s OK too! But fear not, I’m happy to share my love of lists (oh, I do love a list) and personal experiences along with a few professional tips and shortcuts to provide you with this guide for the day before a big race. I hope it will help to reduce your stress levels and make your race preparations feel less daunting and even something to look forward to. Try not to panic and just remember why you’re running in the first place; you chose to do this!
MOST RUNNERS HAVE at some point suffered with tight or aching calves – often as a result of a particularly long run or increased speed. Changing to minimalist running shoes or a forefoot strike is also a guaranteed way into some calf tension as the body adapts. The Achilles tendon is one of the most common sources of pain around the ankle and directly connected to the calf, so it’s important to understand these injuries and know what to do if you get pain in this area.
RESEARCH HAS JUST today been published on how many office workers in the UK spend practically their entire working day sitting at their desks. Most are on their feet for less than half an hour a day, and over half even eat their lunch at their desks. While this is unlikely to be shocking or even mildly surprising news to anyone who has ever worked in an office, it is a huge concern where public health is concerned. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and weight gain – the gist of the research conducted by the British Heart Foundation – but from a more immediate and functional point of view, it’s also awful for your posture and body mechanics.
Let’s face it, our bodies are not designed to commute to an office location, sit at a desk all day and then get back in the car to drive home, followed by an entire evening sitting in front of the TV. Whatever happened to our ancestor, the ‘Running Man’?