Friday, September 19, 2008

On the Run - P.E.I. Marathon around corner

P.E.I. Marathon around corner
Guardian column

I can already smell it in the air, I can feel the chill on my early morning runs and soon we’ll see the beautiful colours of fall that remind us that our great Island Marathon is quickly approaching.
In all the excitement of training for the BMO Nesbitt Burns P.E.I. Marathon weekend, be careful, it’s easy to over do it in the last few weeks and injuries can occur, despite your best efforts to avoid them.
There are many methods to prevent and treat injuries so that your training can continue as scheduled.
If you feel discomfort in a muscle or joint don’t ignore it and assume it’ll go away. Many times I’ve said to myself ‘ah I’ll be fine, I can run through it.’
It’s usually a week or so later when I say, ‘what the heck was I thinking?’
In many instances “running through it” can make things worse and lead to frustration and, in my case, crankiness. Listen to your body, it’s telling you to ease up and take a break.
The first thing you can do to avoid injuries is to focus on your event and let other activities take a back seat.
Whether you’re training for the 10-kilometre walk or the marathon, you need to focus your attention and energy on this task.
Sometimes that means sacrificing other activities like contact sports, or high intensity workouts that may cause injuries or put extra stress on your body. You’ve come all this way in your training, focus and preparation for your event should be your highest priority.
Taking proper rest periods throughout your training is probably the best way to prevent injuries. There’s a time to work hard and a time to rest hard and they are equally important. Too much or too little of either of these can get you in trouble.
A tool I use within my training programs is taking a recovery week every month. Mileage decreases significantly and stretching, massage and proper hydration and nutrition are the main focus for the week.
Your taper, or the last few weeks of your training plan, is also of great significance because it’s the time your body adapts to the workload. Stretching and strengthening exercises throughout your plan will also decrease the risk of injury.
If it’s too late for this and you’re already suffering form a nagging injury don’t panic.
First thing first, put your training on hold for a few days to give your body rest.
Believe me, I know this isn’t fun, I know you’ll feel like you’re losing your fitness, I know you may be a little bit cranky, but in the end it’ll be the best decision you can make and it’ll get you up and running better than ever before.
Ice the area of the muscle or joint that is painful and take an Advil to limit inflammation.
You can wrap the injured area with a bandage to provide support or put your feet up and elevate the injured area to limit swelling.
If a few days doesn’t take care of the problem it’s time to seek treatment from a physiotherapist. Remember, be patient and stay focused.
Injuries can be annoying, frustrating and can force many runners to hang up their shoes and give up. Don’t let these aches and pains get the best of you.
Follow the proper precautions and you’ll be OK.
Don’t let these temporary delays make you miss an event and a feeling that’ll last forever.

Stan Chaisson is a certified kinesiologist, trainer, avid runner and exercise enthusiast. His weekly column will provide advice and training tips for those preparing for the BMO P.E.I.Marathon, Oct. 18-19.

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