Marathon Training – ‘Love Your Legs’

by Roz Brassington

We’re in that time where challenges have been set and the goal is in sight; marathon season is upon us.

With many half marathons already happening and those in training for the full event starting to hit their peak pre-event distances, it’s time to think about looking after those legs.

So here are a couple ways that Red Hot Yoga can help you keep your legs healthy and happy for your race (and after).

– Cross Training: don’t just run! This is a well-documented technique to prevent overuse injuries and build elements such as strength and muscle balance into your body more effectively than through running alone.

One good way of doing this is through your yoga practice; the poses will help to stretch out those tight muscles, build strength and balance and calm and focus the mind, leaving you re-energised mentally and physically for your next run. RHY even have specific classes designed for runners where you’ll be in great company!

Soft Tissue Release:

An ancient practice going back thousands of years with reams of anecdotal evidence but with very little modern research yet completed in this area. Many runners and elite athletes swear by it, so if this is something you’ve been meaning to try, just a few words of advice:

Be careful about the type and intensity of the massage from about one week before and after your race and before and after your long run training days. Sports massages are designed around the athlete and a good sports massage therapist will be able to modify the intensity and techniques used to help maximise performance and encourage tissue healing and recovery without performance loss. A very deep massage causes micro-damage to the soft tissues – often necessary to remove adhesions or break down or realign scar tissue – which needs recovery time to allow the muscle to work again optimally. This is thus not ideal just before your race or long run training days and should instead be replaced by a light invigorating massage which wakes up the tissues gently and increases blood flow to the area and can be done immediately before a race or other sporting event.

Also popular is the cool down rub post-event (either directly following the event or up to a week after) which can help to flush out the lactic acid build up (common after working the muscles particularly hard), encourage correct alignment of scar tissue and minimise tightness and soreness.

I use my soft tissue release techniques all the time with my rugby players, often just prior to their matches and training sessions to help optimise performance and reduce the chance of injury as well as in between  training sessions for injury recovery.

You can also try your own soft tissues release techniques through use of a foam roller or spiky massage ball (for safety, please seek advice on technique and when appropriate to use this by your physiotherapist or other qualified professional).

However you choose to look after your body this marathon season, I wish you a safe and happy race and, of course, a personal best!

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