Charles Allen: Have a marathon plan that looks at more than just your running schedule

Head of Physical Performance at Walk To Run, Charles Allen. Picture: Supplied

Head of Physical Performance at Walk To Run, Charles Allen. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

It's that time of year when the focus, for many runners, turns to creating a training plan for their spring marathon.

And it's easy to feel like clocking up the miles is the most important thing, however, there is plenty of research out there that suggests it's just as important to consider other things too.

So maybe now is the time to think about how you train smarter and include other important elements of training into your overall plan.

Have you considered having regular biomechanics assessments to see how increasing the mileage is affecting the way you move? Regular gait checks to ensure trainers are still suitable as we become quicker and stronger?.

It's not uncommon to experience muscle spasms as you adjust to the stresses of marathon training and these new feelings can be daunting if you're not used to it. Some 'injuries' that people pick up over their marathon training may actually be muscle spasms that can be effectively managed with specific release techniques. Therefore, helping prevent the dull aches and tension you feel when sitting at your desk or in your car on a Monday morning. Furthermore, it can improve the quality of your training and give you a much better chance of not standing on the start line praying your niggle doesn't flair up.

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Consider your daily routine too. How does what you do before and after your run help or hinder your progress? For example, if you choose to do your long run on Sunday morning and then find yourself trawling around the supermarket doing your weekly shop in the afternoon, is that really the best mix for you? If you need to plan your runs around childcare commitments/picking children up, do you have to say 'yes' to that request from your youngster to hang around your neck, have a piggy back or to be carried?

We all have life commitments and as amateur runners we don't have the extra support that professionals do. And it's not easy to re-prioritise for the duration of your marathon training, but it is something worth putting energy into trying to do well.

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How about asking friends and family to support you in a more practical way other than just cheering you on or running with you on the big day? For many of you this isn't just a personal goal, other people are involved and invested in your experience too. Your friends, both runners and non-runners, will no doubt be regularly updated as to how it is going.

The main thing I am trying to stress is 'plan'. It's often the things outside of your running that can be the curve balls you didn't see coming.

We work hard with our clients learning how their work and commitments impact on their performance, if you would like to work with us or are interested in coming to workshops related to the topics I've discussed please contact

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