I am NOT an endurance athlete! Particularly when it comes to running, I have tended to adhere to the notion that ‘shorter is better’ (unless there is a ball involved)! However, I am currently 5 days out from running the LA Marathon. It is a bucket list item I never wanted to check off, however when the opportunity with World Vision to raise money for families in the DR Congo, Africa who don’t have access to clean water came up I decided there probably wasn’t a better reason to run one.
As a physical therapist who has treated many endurance runners (some aspiring and some actual) over my career, it has been eye-opening to go through the last 5 months of training for myself. Aside from the extraordinary amount of time each week needed to set aside for the training runs, I have dealt with some minor injuries and the mental gymnastics of navigating them in order to stick to the training schedule. This is my experience:
- Recovery: Wow – Gotta do it!
- Sleep: I had to go from my typical 6 hrs to 8 hrs/night. I just found I needed it!
- Nutrition: Scaled down the Fats and Proteins a little (to feel lighter) but needed them strategically each meal. Ate smaller and more frequent meals
- Hydration: I found out 3 cups of coffee per day was NOT enough water intake!!
- Home Exercise: almost daily had to pay attention to self-treatment of minor injuries and prevention strategies. I had to reference reliable sources for this.
- Massage: weekly massage…perhaps a splurge but I recommend it!
- Injury: The past will haunt you!
- I strained my left calf a few months prior to starting my marathon training in an alumni rugby game. I didn’t treat it the way I knew I should have (just let it settle vs. stretch/strengthen and progressive loading). The first 2-3 months of training involved having to ‘pay for past sins’ and navigate adhesion build-up, weakness and running gait compensations.
- Right knee tendonitis: likely from a number of factors like compensating for the negligence to my left calf and limited pre-run exercises.
- Rehab: Get the right information!
- Both injuries required almost daily attention for a period of 8-10 wks. to achieve resolution with strategic interruption of training schedule.
- Had to apply the current research for muscle/tendon injuries. Isometric strengthening -> Eccentric loading -> Progressive & Specific loading -> Plyometric training
- Malliaras P et al., J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2015
- Rutland M et al., N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2010
Now at the end of my rookie year of marathon training, my ‘take away’ is correct information & preparation is vital! teleMOVEMENT is a unique platform that offers evidence-informed advice with specific strategies and in-person opportunities to navigate a variety of nerve, muscle and skeletal conditions. It may even turn you into an endurance athlete!