Western Sydney Marathon Article 4: Handling the Niggles

Handling the Niggles

By Coach Darryl Johnson


“How are you feeling?”

“Great. Just a few niggles but don’t we all?”

Do we all have “niggles” or could it sometimes be more than that or could it lead to more than that?

What’s a niggle? What’s an injury? There is one person that knows your body better than anyone and that is you!

When leading in to a key event like theWestern Sydney Marathon events your training volume and intensity will generally increase as will your susceptibility to more aches and pains – niggles. Listen to your body and give it the attention it is crying out for. During peak training, maintenance is key – self massage, stretching, REST! Identify what works best for you and your body.

Something you mustn’t get caught up is the social pull that running can have on us all. Don’t let the fear of missing out (FOMO) take over your better judgement and go running just because everyone else is. Running may be therapeutic but may not be the therapy you need at this time.

If a niggle progresses beyond “a little bit” then it is probably time to consult a professional who is likely to prescribe strength and maintenance work to not only eradicate the issue but prevent it from occurring again.

However, don’t despair, there is a plethora of cross training you can do to keep working your cardio system. If you want to continue to replicate running, try Deep Water Running (DWR) for a high intensity, load free workout that replicates the running motion and will keep you fit and strong. Many a runner has used DWR to train for a marathon and got to the start line in great shape.

Cycling is a great way to maintain cardiovascular fitness and if you can get out on the trails, mountain biking can be a great workout without loading your body up with impact soreness that comes from running. After all, fitness gains occur when you’re working your body in the targeted training zones, so it’s false thinking to believe that to get run fit, you always have to run as it’s simply not the case.

Like anything though, prevention is the best form of cure, and you’ll be far better off phsyically and save yourself a lot of lost sleep worrying about niggles by preventing them in the first place. Be active in your work life, avoid sitting down for long periods of time and make a habit of adding a warm up and cool down routine into your training sessions, particularly hard workouts.

A standard warm up routine would include 5mins of muscle activation work using bands, 10 min of easy jogging, followed by 10mins made up of a series of running drills, dynamic stretches, skips and hops and concluding with a series of strides to prime the body. A cool down routine would start with some easy walking building to jogging, static stretching and/self massage such as foam rolling. Always consume some food after a workout to restore lost glycogen and assist with muscle repair.

UP Coaching brings a strength and maintenance focus to all of their regular training sessions to ensure all athletes are balancing load and intensity to keep the nasty niggles at bay. We also offer Yoga on Monday mornings, to iron out all the soreness from the weekend training. All are welcome to attend.

For more information on improving your running go to www.upcoaching.com.au

Stretching post session after an UP Coaching Thursday Track Training

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