From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…
This week the Daily Obsession mentioned OMBE as part of its Marathon Day coverage. Here at OMBE, we work very well together as a team, helping runners, triathletes, and (of course) all of our favorite weekend warriors complete their next big event-even if that means sitting at their desk for the next 8 hours. Here’s a link to the write-up below and our team’s collective “Top 10 Ways to Train for Your Next Big Sporting Event”
Start on the Right Foot
How do you prepare for an endurance event that will test all of your physical and mental mettle? Take a moment to consider your overall health and well-being. Find a sports medicine specialist to evaluate your physical condition, address biomechanical imbalances, or perform a gait analysis to prevent future injuries. Developing a pre-training plan with an expert will help you reach an optimal training level and address any underlying issues before you begin to add up the miles.
Instead of waiting for the first signs of injury, schedule a “well” check-up every four to six weeks to identify signs of physical stress. Check-in with a training coach, chiropractor, or strength and conditioning specialist to help you develop a self-care routine during your training. Athletes are often afraid to seek treatment when they notice the first sign of pain or discomfort. Treating an acute injury optimizes your chance at recovery and minimizes the risk of long-term damage or chronic pain.
Cross-training by incorporating multiple physical modalities will help you customize a routine, prevent over-training and address areas of weakness. Substitute different forms of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, speed intervals, or exercise rehabilitation. Don’t forget to rest. If you’re training for 26.2 miles or any endurance event, you need one to two days of hard-core rest combined with one cross-training or light training day.
Build Core Strength
Core strength training refers to the conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of your spine, pelvis, and torso. These muscles provide a foundation for all physical movement. When you increase their strength, you increase your power, speed, and stride efficiency. This training season, substitute a Pilates class for crunches. Pilates is one form of exercise that builds core strength as well as being a powerful tool for injury prevention and increasing athletic performance.
You’ve heard it before but you still can’t touch your toes. Would you try stretching if it restored your muscles to their normal length so that they contract at their optimal resting potential? Would you try stretching if it increased your range of motion? You know the routine: warm-up, hold each stretch for 30 seconds, do not bounce, and spend at least 15 minutes focusing on lower-body muscle groups. Here’s the alternative that we love just as much: the foam roller. Spend 5-10 minutes rolling out various muscle groups, paying attention to trigger points. The massage and myofascial release may just help your stride whether or not you can touch your toes.
Bonking, otherwise known as “crashing” or “hitting the wall” is the dreaded, race-day phenomenon causing endurance athletes to suffer from exhaustion, extreme muscle fatigue, and symptoms of hypoglycemia. In addition to carbohydrate loading, watch for signs of overtraining as you prepare for your event. Symptoms include a higher resting heart rate, low appetite, high blood pressure, weight loss, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and generalized fatigue. If you notice any of these signs, reevaluate your training or see an expert before you get deeper into your workouts.
If you’ve never had a good excuse to treat yourself to a regular massage, here’s your chance. Regular massage reduces lactic acid build-up that can cause cramping and contribute to muscle fatigue. A great sports massage can improve your range of motion while managing aches and pains. If you can’t find the time to get regular massages during your training, schedule a session one to two weeks before your event, visit the massage tent after you cross the finish line, and have a massage within seven days after your big race.
Belly Up to the Pasta Bar
It’s time to make friends with complex carbohydrates. Incorporating a nutrition program customized for your refueling needs can be more challenging than completing your first 10K. Some of you should belly up to the pasta bar, while others will focus on electrolyte replacement, hydration, and increasing essential fatty acids. Sitting down with a nutritional counselor can take the guess work out of what to eat for those 1,000 meals each year. Don’t forget those post-run snacks to help refuel your glycogen stores. Start with a nut-butter and a banana for your muscles (and belly) will thank you.
Sign up for local events to help keep you on track. Choose races that correspond with the mileage you are working towards. The anticipated races will keep you motivated to work towards short-term goals and it’s always good to get SWAG (Stuff We All Get). Hello, goody bags, t-shirts, energy bars, and coupons!
Try Sport Psychology
Endurance training is all about mental preparation. To prepare for your next event, experiment with different forms of relaxation such as meditation, visualization, and body awareness. If you don’t know where to begin, try yoga. Each yoga session, will help you clear your mind, develop powerful breathing techniques, and visualize your sweet race-day success.