Endurance events

May 5, 2014

Many people are now are pushing themselves to extreme physical limits with their chosen endurance sport and for most it is not a full time profession but rather needing to fit into a busy work / family schedule. As a physiotherapist on the Sunshine Coast we see many client enjoying our ideal climate and getting outside and competing in a huge range of endurance events on offer. In the past months we have had many patients taking on marathons, long distance swims, rides and iron man triathlons. Tough mudder , endurance walks and adventure racing are now common pursuits among ageing athletes and I see many athletes in the preparation and recovery stages of these activities. I have great enjoyment in assisting clients with achieving their own personal goals for endurance events and I would like to share a few tips and easy advice to help pick an appropriate event for yourself and how to complete it without injury.

I have split this blog into a few parts to keep it simple and easy to follow.

Part 1 Training

5 top tips for picking the right event and training.

Time is the most important thing to consider when choosing your event. Having time to train and gradually build up your fitness each week is important so try to estimate how much time you can fit into your weekly schedule to training. A marathon will need at least 3 session of running a week for about 6 months prior to the event. With this in mind pick an event far enough in the future to allow your fitness to build over time.

Equipment is very important depending on your selection of activity. Getting your bike set up correctly and appropriate shoes can make a huge difference to load on your body in the course of training and racing. Getting profession advice from your coach, physiotherapist or podiatrist early is essential when starting a new activity.

Biomechanics and technique. This is very important to get right early in your training program as practicing a poor technique will reinforce poor movement patterns and will take longer to undo and retrain the ideal pattern. Have a friend take some video footage of you training and watch it back as we often picture and feel ourselves moving a lot different to how it actually looks.

Injuries should be treated early. Most injuries are not simple step in a hole and sprain your ankle but more a build up of load and breakdown of tissue over time. You will certainly experience some post training pain but a good guide is if you pain has not settled from the last training session you should not start your next session. If you have continuing night pain, more than 3 days of post training pain, burning/ sharp pain or any noticeable joint swelling this should be assessed early to avoid prolonged injury.

Enjoyment. Pick an activity you do enjoy ( or at least think you will enjoy when you get fitter) as it will keep you motivated through your training. Often having a training partner or training in a group will also keep you motivated and add you your enjoyment in the hard times. As a physiotherapist I often assist people only when injured or as the event gets very close and they come for a last minute patch up but this is often far from ideal. If you are investing a lot of time and money into completing an endurance event a physiotherapy screening/ assessment early in your training program is a great investment to ensure you are successful. Next blog I will give you my top 5 tips on race week.