“Fancy coming out for a run?”
“ Just around the block!”
“No thanks, I don’t like running”
“Oh go on, it will keep us fit, it’s something we can do together”
“Oh alright then!”
This is the gist of a conversation that occurred around 4 years ago between my mum and stepdad.
I’m sure many couples, colleagues and friends have had similar conversations where one of you is keen and the other not so “come out for a run, you’ll enjoy it once we’re out”. Quite often taking that first step over the threshold of your warm comfortable home is the first literal hurdle.
Fast forward 4 years ….My mum is running her first marathon – The London Marathon!
I asked her about her journey leading up to the London Marathon. After the initial few outings with my stepdad she actually discovered that she enjoyed it. She had always kept herself fit and regularly attended the gym partaking in pilates, circuit training and also hill walking holidays. Eventually with some encouragement from friends and family she started entering some park run events, the inevitable then happened, she joined the local running club The Pudsey Pacers.
The running club really improved her endurance fitness as well as that competitiveness when you are running in groups, to better your times. Through the club she started to enter 5k, 10 k runs and a few half marathons followed, some of them to help raise money for well deserving charities. Mum has picked up some firsts in her age category awards, prize money and vouchers for running gear. At her running club she was awarded with the most improved athlete. These have all been a bonus but have also helped to maintain and strengthen her motivation to run and get better.
Running puts a lot of stress on your body. The repetitiveness of pounding the pavements can lead to overuse injuries of tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. In mum’s journey towards the London Marathon, she picked up a hamstring strain, runners knee and foot pain –plantar fasciitis. Advice is always at hand at Tayloredfit Physio.
Quite often listening to what your body is telling you is the key to stopping symptoms that may start as a niggle in the hamstring knee or feet to progressing to more chronic conditions that can be harder to shake off. If running is all you do, it can be as simple as just overload leading. Rest, or back off from the intensity of training, or even stop running. You can still keep your cardiovascular fitness levels cycling or swimming. This allows your tendons, muscles ligaments and joints the time to recover from the high impact stresses of road running.
I asked my mother about the injuries that she has picked up, she had treatment to her hamstrings, a stretching regime and deep tissue massage. Insoles helped to relieve her foot pains. She found that balance of cross training, helped to iron out the niggling injuries and she regularly attended pilates and circuit training.
As the date of the marathon has been approaching my mum’s training has been tapering down to less mileage. She feels excited and confident about the marathon. She knows it will exhausting but feels mentally strong and ready for it as her training has gone to plan.
My mum feels that anyone can start to improve their fitness at any age, her advice was to listen to what your body is telling you. Work at your own pace, eat well and rest well.
I am proud of what my mum has achieved so far and for what she is about to undertake, running in The London Marathon. Go mum ! At the tender age of 71 you’re an inspiration .
Mark Smith, lead physiotherapist at Tayloredfit Physio. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org