The Gold Coast Marathon has been one of the greatest fitness attractions over the past decade, drawing in runners from across the globe. Lucky for us, you don’t have to be an Olympic runner to participate. The weekend boasts events for not only the competitive, but also beginner and social runners too!
We are now 22 weeks from the big event, which means it’s time to start getting serious about your training. In order to make it to the big day injury free, it’s important to consider not only endurance, but also the strength your body needs to participate in this kind of event.
For those who have never run before, it’s never too late to start! While you will naturally become stronger during your running training, weakness in your pelvic muscles is one of the most common causes of injuries in runners – in other words, weak glutes! Without appropriate strength in these key muscles, your body is unable to hold the correct position, leading to excessive and unnecessary stress in other parts of the body. As a result, this may not appear as pelvic pain, but could also cause soreness in your knees, back, ankles or feet – so ensure you are listening to your body while you train, and consult a physiotherapist or podiatrist if you are unsure.
To get your body in the best shape possible, here are a few exercises to consider including into your training program:
1. Squats: these are a great exercise to develop your larger gluteal muscles, the powerhouse and main driving force through your hips. Start with your feet slightly wider than hip width, and slowly lower down until your knees and hips are at 90degrees, then drive through your heels to stand back up, making sure you don’t bounce at the bottom.
2. Static Lunges: these are a great stability exercise that will strengthen both your legs and your pelvis girdle. Standing up straight, step forward and lunge down over your front leg. Make sure your knee is not too far in front or behind your toes. Push through your heel and return to standing, repeat on the other leg. For an added challenge, try walking lunges next!
3. Step ups: this exercise is wonderful for single leg and pelvic stability, and will assist in preparing you for any stairs or uphill running that you may encounter during your training. This exercise is as simple as it sounds – stand in front of a step, and with alternating legs step all the way up (both feet together at the top) and then down off the step. As these get easier and you can control both your knees and hips, progress to a larger step, for example a park bench.
Always perform these exercises in a safe manner and avoid performing on slippery and unstable surfaces. Remember, exercise should be fun and enjoyable, so drag some family or friends along with you!
Most importantly, make sure you remain well hydrated and well-nourished while you run! Your body will recover and perform at its best when provided with sufficient nutrients. A well rounded diet, plenty of water and rest are the easiest ways to remain injury free this running season.
Happy running from the team at Chevron Island Physio!