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Lindsey Parry

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A lot of people swear by them, a lot of people think they’re snake oil and they’re absolutely rubbish. 

There is some research that points to compression reducing the early onset of inflammation.

What’s the deal… compression socks or not… 

Let’s find out…

Compression Sock Myths

#1 Compression socks are only for people with varicose veins

Compression socks indeed help prevent spider veins and varicose veins, But compression socks are also for everyday wear. They’re intended to promote healthy circulation.

#2 Compression socks make you feel too hot

By improving circulation, compression socks provide great relief, as well as an immediate feeling of lightness.

#3 Compression socks are a nightmare to get on

Today, new technology and materials make compression socks more comfortable and functional. Some specific standard techniques and tricks make it easy to put them on and take them off.

The Benefits Of Compression Socks

A lot of people report that they’re not nearly as sore if they run longer distances wearing compression socks. 

There’s also evidence that post-exercise pain is not as bad if you use compression socks. It’s supposed to also help with circulation.

As I always say to people though, it does come with a warning.

If you are susceptible to something called Compartment Pressure Syndrome or if when you run you do tend to experience quite tight burning calves. Often compression socks don’t help, they make it worse. 

It’s one of those things that you’ve got to try, if it feels good and it’s working for you, then roll with it. 

As a recovery modality, there is evidence from some Japanese researchers that show that if we stunt the inflammation process too much, it is slowing down our short-term improvements because the reaction of our body to repair some of that damage makes us stronger and better able to participate or to improve going into the future.

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that wearing compression socks for 48 hours after a marathon improved performance by 2.6% two weeks after the race.

Will Compression Socks Help Keep You Injury Free?

You might be wondering if it would be advisable to try a pair of compression socks out… to help prevent possible injuries.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, or maybe they will help with recovery and perhaps even improved performance. 

There’s undoubtedly tons of evidence about how well compression garments work and how much better people feel, particularly calf sleeves, compression tights, and compression boots.

So it’s worth trying out. 

Compression socks apply pressure on your ankles and calves. The soft squeeze on the bottom of your circulatory system helps support your veins as they send blood back up to your heart.

You might be surprised to hear that if you go into Europe, particularly on the triathlon scene, it’s much harder to spot people who aren’t wearing compression gear than it is to spot compression gear.

Whether it’s a gimmick or not, that’s hard to say. I haven’t come across any hard scientific evidence, but certainly, loads of athletes have said they feel miles better when they run in compression garments. So it’s worth trying out.

What You Should Be Aware Of When Trying Compression Socks

As we mentioned above, some people are susceptible to a condition known as compartment pressure syndrome, where the muscle swells up and gets hard. You lose a bit of function, associated with numbness, and those people tend, or should I say that compression gear tends to worsen those symptoms.

But, if it’s going well and you’re injury-free and enjoying your running, it’s still worth trying. 

Research shows that compression socks do help muscles feel better and have less muscle damage, they provide support over the long term.  

Worth a try, very unlikely to cause harm, unless you are one of those that are predisposed to compartmental pressure syndrome. 

  • But if that happens, then you just don’t use the compression gear.

There’s enough evidence in the literature to show that wearing compression gear after running helps speed up recovery. So even if you can’t run in them or you don’t like running in them, you can use them after your training.

Compression Socks And Shin Splints

You may be surprised to hear this, but the truth is, compression socks can aid in the recovery of shin splints and be used as a preventative measure. 

Some compression socks are better to use while running, while others are designed for recovery. 

It’s important to note that they will not cure any condition if the only thing you are doing to help your injury is wearing compression socks. 

All injuries should be assessed so that the real cause can be addressed.

How To Get Rid Of Shin Splints

Shin splints are normally caused by one of the muscles that are running down the tibia. Typically it is the medial or inside of the shin that normally hurts.

The connective tissues between the muscle and the shin become inflamed and it starts to pull away from the shin, causing shin pain. 

That is the pain that you are feeling. 

(Side note: extreme levels of pressure and tightness may indicate compartment syndrome)

There is, therefore, pressure running through the tibia…

If we don’t treat it and you keep running through the pain, shin splints will ultimately turn into a pre-stress fracture (which is a little bit of bony oedema and bleeding on the actual bone).

To heal shin splints from the acute phase can take anywhere in the region of 48 hours to two weeks, depending on how far you pushed yourself into the pain.

To ease your pain in less time and prevent further trouble, you can wear compression socks as they boost blood circulation, support your veins, and reduce swelling but we recommend you also see a physiotherapist.

Get Rid Of Shin Splints FAST: 4 Simple Steps To Pain-Free Running

Do Shin Splints Go Away The More You Run?

A major issue with shin splints is people tend to ignore the pain.

Pain is a signal from your body telling you something isn’t right…

Runners think it will get better as they get a little bit fitter but that is generally not the case. This is why people often end up with quite a serious case of shin splints.

The good news is, that even if it is serious, it shouldn’t take more than two weeks to deal with the actual pain.

Who Should Not Wear Compression Socks?

Compression socks aren’t for everyone, and research suggests that using them incorrectly can be harmful.

Here are some potential risks to be aware of:

  • Can cut off your circulation if they aren’t fitted properly.
  • Can chafe and bruise your legs if you have dry skin.
  • Can cause itching, redness, and irritation if not fitted correctly.

Top 5 Compression Socks Comparison 2022 (In no particular order)

Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves – $40

  • Wear them after your activity as the perfect recovery leg sleeve.
  • Calf support and injury prevention for the lower leg
  • Improve circulation and faster muscle recovery
  • Sun and UV Protection
  • Moisture-wicking and anti-odor

Feetures Graduated Compression Socks – $45.00

  • Targeted Compression and anatomical design provide an unmatched Custom-Like Fit.
  • Anatomical right and left foot designs enhance fit, delivering maximum comfort and protection by helping to eliminate blisters.
  • High-density cushioning provides cushioned comfort without the bulk.

Run Forever Sports Calf Compression Sleeves – $17.99

  • Enhanced blood circulation as a result of improved venous return which improves blow flow of oxygen-rich blood.
  • The non-slip cuff and seamless construction create the perfect fit
  • Made with premium material so they are built to last
  • Keeps muscles warm and loose so you can maximize performance

Swiftwick Aspire Twelve – $23.99 

  • The thin profile is designed to fit into any technical shoe with a barely-there feel.
  • Firmly hugs the contours of your feet to support the arch and help reduce fatigue.
  • Built to provide maximum breathability with signature fibers that wick-moisture, keeping your feet cool, dry, and blister-free.

Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks – $17.99

  • Inexpensive
  • Gradient compression

Tapering refers to the practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition. It is one of the most important aspects of marathon training and yet, it is also one of the most difficult to implement because runners fear cutting back on training.

Anyone who has tapered before knows that feeling… we feel like we’re going crazy because we fear losing our fitness and gaining weight.

Tapering is in essence reducing mileage, and it is vitally important for full recovery from previous workouts and for peak performance.

Let’s have a look at the reasons you should taper, how to taper correctly, marathon tapering mistakes, and if it’s possible to taper too much…

The Reason For Your Taper

If you’ve been following a plan and stuck to the program 100% – that’s brilliant!

You’ve probably reached the point where you’re sort of wondering what happens in these last two weeks of the plan… essentially, what is the goal of the taper?

The idea of the taper is to keep you ticking over and to still have some training stimulus on the body.

Your body is so used to training, but we’re also trying to freshen you up and make sure that you are as fresh as possible come race day. 

A mistake a lot of people make is that they think they need to take time off completely and as I mentioned, you still need the training stimulus, but also a lot of people react differently to the taper. 

Some people work better on a slightly longer taper, and some people work better on a slightly shorter taper. 

We’ve found two weeks to be a pretty good range for most people to benefit from the taper.

In that first week of taper you might feel a little bit sluggish because again, you’re coming off a very big training block. Your peak weeks would have just been before that. So you might start to feel a little bit sluggish, stick it out, keep working through the strength programs (until 10 days before), and don’t lose intensity.

All we’re looking at doing is dropping the volume of training and then naturally in race week you really should start feeling fresh, feeling like you’re ready to go. 

You’ll see, in race week, typically we do have some intensity. cutting down the volume even further. The idea is to try and make sure that you are as fresh as possible on race day. The one mistake you don’t want to make is to try and cram too much into the final two weeks and think that you’re still going to make up until the training is done.

It’s those final two weeks you’re going to end up doing more damage if you’re cramming rather than just taking an extra rest day here and there.

Now that we know why we need to taper, let’s have a look at how to do just that…

How Long Should You Taper For a Marathon?

How best to taper for a marathon can be highly personalized depending on your adaptation, race experience, and even your physiology.

This study found that tapering can speed up your time by 5.6%.  If we look at this percent in terms of a marathon, that is the difference between a 3:20 and a 3:31!

For the best results of your taper, you should be following a marathon training plan or working with a coach.

As a guideline when tapering for a marathon,  the shortest taper should be no less than 7-10 days, with the longest period lasting about three weeks. 

We recommend a two-week taper where you gradually decrease your mileage leading up to race day.

Can You Taper Too Much For a Marathon?

Research has shown that 4-weeks can be too long of a marathon taper for many runners. 

Many runners find it a big challenge to back off the mileage and fill the time with other things. , 

It might help for you to see tapering as a time to celebrate a plan of successful training.
It will be worth it, we promise.

What a Marathon Taper Should Look Like

Your taper should start the day or the following week after your last longest run. Your last long run should be about three weeks before your goal marathon. 

A good formula to follow over the last 3 weeks, provided you have done the hard yards, is to reduce your mileage weekly by 25% in the 3rd week, then to 50% in the 2nd week, and in the last week keep the running volume very low.

During this time you will also want to increase the intensity of SOME of your sessions, however, you need to base this increase relative to your ability and goal or risk injury just before the race.

An important consideration when tapering is that your energy demand will go down, if you do not adjust your diet accordingly you will put on a few kilograms. 

While some may advocate this as stored energy, excess weight is a killer for running efficiency, and particularly in shorter distances, you do not want to reduce your efficiency. Again this is a fine line; you do not want to starve yourself as this will reduce muscle mass, decrease motivation, and impact immunity.

Follow largely the same eating plan, cutting down on the energy/recovery drinks and managing portion size.

Ensure that you maintain as low an infection risk as possible. Where possible, avoid large gatherings where exposure to infection is increased. 

Try to get an hour per night of extra sleep as this will help to boost the immune system. Increase your vitamin intake – particularly vitamin C to improve your chances of fighting off infections.

The ideal taper would be you eventually cutting down total volume by 50% by the final week, including speed workouts. It would involve you running as many days a week as you normally do, but reducing volume in everything from workouts to long runs, as well as your weekly total mileage.

Marathon Tapering Mistakes

  1. Not resting enough.
    Nothing you do in training the week before the race is going to make you any fitter, all you can do is make yourself more tired.
  1. Running too little.

You still need to keep running to stay sharp, both mentally and physically. Stick to your training plan.

  1. Get new running shoes.

Run in what you’ve trained in. That’s a simple rule of marathons. A taper is not the time to try to ‘break in’ a new pair of shoes.

  1. Alter your diet.

If you haven’t tried it, now is not the time. You’re too close to race day to make any major changes

  1. Skimp on sleep.

Don’t use the tapering time as an opportunity to tackle a major project or catch up on all the little things you missed while you were busy training. This is the time to sleep as much as you can.

Here’s The Perfect Comrades Marathon Taper.

Has a sudden decrease in athletic performance, lack of endurance, and slower times left you concerned about your running?

We all have our days where we simply just feel slow and can’t even think about running at the pace we normally do run at… If these types of days are occurring more and more and closer together then it might be time to get to the bottom of it and find out what is really going on and if it’s a cause for concern.

Let’s have a look at what could be some of the causes of your drop in running performance and loss of endurance. There are a few common ones…

What’s Behind Your Sudden Decrease In Athletic Performance

There are actually quite a few things that could be at play that are causing your sudden drop in running pace and loss of stamina.

Stamina: the ability to sustain prolonged physical effort.

Age is of course one of the things that can cause us to recover slower and to get more tired and therefore to run slower times.

Pros & Cons Of Running After 50 – What You NEED To Know

If you are a female, one of the things that you are more susceptible to (more than males), even though it’s not exclusive to females, is having low iron levels.

I would definitely advise checking whether you have low iron or low ferritin levels.

Another cause for a sudden decrease in athletic performance could be overtraining.

In terms of blood tests, doctors can look at things like Creatine Kinase or other inflammatory markers in the blood.

Then of course, even if you are showing no obvious symptoms of illness, there are various illnesses that are relatively asymptomatic that can cause a sudden decrease in athletic performance and loss of stamina.

Fatigue and slowing down are big symptoms, so even though you are asymptomatic at rest, they may be affecting you during exercise.

What To Do If You Have Lost Your Running Stamina

Rest!

Taking some time off from training and just resting could also arrest the sudden decrease in athletic performance.

I would suggest taking a few days off with no running at all. 72 hours of good, solid rest.

Then at least a week of very easy, short runs and if there isn’t a significant improvement in your athletic performance, then you do need to start looking at things like iron levels in your blood.

It may also then be worthwhile having a look at thyroid function.

If the rest doesn’t work then I would suggest a consultation with a sports physician because there are a number of factors that can cause this sudden decrease in athletic performance.

10 Reasons Why Your Running Performance Has Dropped

  • Overtraining
  • Not eating enough nutritional meals
  • Not recovering correctly
  • Under or over-hydrating
  • Only running. (Your training should include mobility work, strength training, and cross training)
  • Not running long runs.
  • You’re not getting enough quality sleep
  • You’re aging
  • Not enough pace variety – running too hard all the time.
  • You may be experiencing a lot of stress.

This Is By Far The Easiest Way To Improve Your Running!

We can survive for as long as a month in a moderate climate without food…

We would struggle to stay alive for longer than two days in desert conditions without water.

It’s safe to say that after oxygen, water is a close second on the list of essentials for life.

Failing to prepare an adequate hydration strategy before race day can lead to unwanted consequences. Dehydration can cause a decrease in your aerobic energy capacity, which will reduce your exercise endurance and muscle strength.

What about when you decide to run 26.2 miles…

How much is too much…

What happens if you don’t drink enough…

Let’s have a look.

How To Hydrate For a Marathon

Water has various functions in the body such as transport of nutrients to the active tissues, getting rid of waste products, and temperature regulation.

Temperature and hydration influence your running performance…

A lot of people don’t realize the health implications that come with dehydration but should also be aware of the dangers of overhydration during exercise.

During any exercise, you must aim to be well hydrated.

Firstly, to get rid of the waste products, which are the result of your muscles working. Secondly, to deliver oxygen and nutrients. It doesn’t help if we eat all the correct things and then they don’t get delivered to the muscle due to dehydration. Thirdly and very importantly for thermal regulation.

As soon as you start to run your marathon, you start to dehydrate. About 75% of the energy you put into exercise is converted into heat and is then lost.

Water requirements change based on an individual’s sweat rate, this will also be affected by heat, humidity, and the intensity you are running at.

The most important part of hydrating for a marathon happens way before you even get to the start line…

An effort must be made to stay well hydrated at least 48 hours before the start of your marathon.

You should start sipping about 600ml of water three to four hours before the race, and drink until your urine is clear. If it still isn’t clear, drink another 400ml on top of this

If you consume an entire liter of water just before you run, you stand the chance of diluting your sodium balance, being bloated, and increasing your need for bathroom stops along the way. 

How Often You Should Hydrate During a Marathon

You should aim to consume 400ml to 800ml of water an hour – As we said earlier this amount does vary between each individual and should be modified to thirst, intensity, and environmental conditions. 

We recommend that you learn how much water your body needs to consume to stay well hydrated during your training period, especially on your long runs. 

You can do this by checking your weight before and after a long run to make sure that you haven’t lost more than 2 percent of your body weight, and checking that your urine is not too concentrated.

A good way to tell is with a urine color chart:

If it’s a very light straw color or a very light yellow color, you’re good to go run and enjoy it.

If it is very dark or even orangey, then it means you are probably in a dehydrated state, especially the first morning batch of urine. I would suggest that you first drink something with a sodium content and wait about 20 to 30 minutes.

I know a lot of runners don’t have this opportunity because they may be running in the mornings. But those of us that can do this, should.

For those that run in the morning, it would be adequate to drink about 500mls of fluid an hour before you run. 

Remember that if there’s a little bit of fluid in the stomach, it makes the body better at delivering the fluid throughout your run to the areas where it should go. So it’s always better to run with what we call a residual volume of fluid. 

How Elite Runners Hydrate For Marathons

Research that was conducted on London Marathon participants showed us that despite the organizers providing advice on strategies to avoid hyponatremia, 12% of participants still planned to consume fluid levels that would put them at risk. 

This is considering that 93% of runners acknowledged they had read and understood the provided hydration information package.

Hyponatremia: A condition that occurs when the level of sodium in the blood is too low. With this condition, the body holds onto too much water. This dilutes the amount of sodium in the blood and causes levels to be low.

Symptoms include nausea, headaches, confusion, and fatigue.

Elite athletes plan to drink every 5km and most consume gels at around the 10-15km and 25-30km marks. 

Drinking every 5km can be quite an aggressive hydration strategy. In our opinion, fluid quantity needs to be monitored more carefully to avoid hyponatremia.

If you find that you want to consume gels, make sure to do so with water so that they are easier to digest. 

Marathon Hydration Plan

Hydration Before The Marathon:

  1. Do not just drink lots of water in the build-up to the race. This will increase your chances of getting hyponatremia. 
  1. Drink an electrolyte drink the night before the race to boost your blood plasma volume. 
  1. Drink about 2-3 ml per pound of body weight at least 4 hours before your run. 

Hydration During The Marathon:

Personalizing your hydration strategy will make a tangible difference to your result. That’s because everyone loses a different amount of sodium in their sweat.

Just drinking water when sweating over long periods dilutes your sodium levels, which can really impact your performance and could lead to hyponatremia.

Although there are regular drink stations on the course, these are not in place so that you stop to drink at every station.

Think about how much fluid you consumed during your long training runs, and try to replicate this intake when running the marathon, adjusting to thirst and environmental conditions.  

Stop only for drinks and fuel as you have planned in your training.

Everything You Need To Know About Electrolytes & Salt Tablets During A Marathon

The only people that would need salt tablets would be those in very extreme endurance events that are performed in very hot and humid conditions.

For normal marathon runners, sports drinks are good enough, I suggest even adding a pinch of salt to your drink but that’s about it.

The sodium concentration in sports drinks is usually 23 to 69 milligrams per deciliter. That is enough to look after our electrolyte intake without taking excess electrolyte supplementation.

To look at further electrolyte replacement, we usually look at it in the terms of food, so you could eat a salty snack, like a salty biscuit or salty nuts and pretzels. 

People following a Keto diet, those that are on diuretic medication for blood pressure, or anybody with a stomach bug, should look at their electrolyte intake more aggressively because you do lose more electrolytes in these instances.

Symptoms Of Low Electrolyte Levels:

  • Nausea
  • Excessive Tiredness
  • Weakened Muscles
  • Spasms

If you feel any of these symptoms you should consider taking electrolytes, adding salt to your water, and even loading up on plant foods like bananas, greens, nuts, and seeds.

Check out this super helpful article we wrote about running a marathon with a hydration pack: Read it here.

You’re never too old or too overweight to start running.

There is a way that you can ease into this wonderful sport safely…

If you’re interested in changing your life, improving your cardiovascular health, building confidence, connecting to nature, and increasing your longevity…It’s not the craziest idea…Running will help you to do just that.

This is how to start running if you’re overweight and in your 50s.

Is 50 Too Old To Start Running?

Loved ones and friends who lead active lifestyles probably tell you that it’s never too late to start training…

You may be surprised to hear this, but research suggests that they are correct.

Frontiers in Physiology published a study that showed us exactly what you need to hear…

The study found that runners who started training after age 50 were able to be as fast and lean as runners in their age group who had been running for their whole lives.

Another study had a look at participants in the New York City Marathon between 1980 and 2009, the percentage of masters runners significantly increased, while the number of finishers under age 40 decreased.

Running really is a sport you can start at any age, it provides a host of mental and physical health benefits no matter how old you are.

Just because you might not look like a gazelle when you’re out there doesn’t mean you’re not a runner. 

Running is a fantastic way to boost weight loss if that’s what you’re looking for…

Can You Start Running If You Are Overweight?

Getting started with running may be a bit more challenging if you are overweight, but it is absolutely doable and highly recommended.

It is important to be patient with yourself along the journey so that you reduce the risk of injury and get the most out of your training. 

Studies show that running for just 30 minutes will kick-start your metabolism and burn a lot of fat, both during and after the exercise itself. 

This is because, during an easy, short run, your body will use fat as its primary source of energy, rather than relying on carbohydrates which play a more significant role as the intensity of the exercise increases.

We wrote this article covering exactly what happens to your body on a 30-minute run and it is UNBELIEVABLE!

Remember: Becoming a good runner takes time… Pushing too hard too and too far too early will lead to disappointment and may cause injury right away.

Why Running Is Harder When You’re Overweight

Overweight isn’t a subjective term with a loose definition. 

You may have heard of the word BMI before, it stands for Body Mass Index and is calculated based on your height and weight.

There is actually a weight range that is considered healthy for a given height, and anything over that healthy range is considered overweight. 

Note: If you’re overweight, speak to your GP for advice about losing weight safely first.

Your doctor can advise you which is the safest way for you to lose weight.

If you have underlying problems associated with being overweight, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), high blood pressure, diabetes, or sleep apnoea, your doctor may recommend further tests.

It’s obvious that running is harder when you’re overweight, here’s why…

Having extra weight can make it harder to move your body, and thus harder to exercise. 

People who are overweight often have a difficult time doing physical activity due to body size, limited mobility, and joint pain.

Physiologically, it is more difficult for an overweight person to do the same amount of exercise as a healthy-weight person because of the extra weight they carry, this is because the heavier you are the more oxygen you need to do the same exercise. 

Problems Overweight Runners Might Encounter

1. Trouble Breathing

This is the correct way to breathe while running.

2. Joint Pain & maybe even foot cramps.

Here are foot and ankle strength exercises for runners.

3. Runners Knee

Causes Of Runner’s Knee:

  • Overtraining
  • Biomechanical Imbalance
  • Acute Knee Trauma
  • Shoes

4. Shin Splints

Shin splints are normally caused by one of the muscles that are running down the tibia. Typically it is the medial or inside of the shin that normally hurts.
This is how to get rid of shin splints fast.

5. Chafing

All we can say is… Vaseline, Vaseline, Vaseline.

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…

Nutrition For 50 + Year-Old Overweight Runners 

You need to consider your physiological changes… As you get older, there is a decrease in muscle mass and protein turnover, and a decrease in muscle glycogen and protein synthesis occurs.

We are really just going to cover the 1000-foot view…
If you would like to learn more about how you should be eating as a 50+ year old runner then you can get immediate, lifetime access to Practical Nutrition for the Over 50 Runner…
HERE

  • Muscle responds to demand, that’s why resistance training is so important. 
  • It’s extremely important to take in adequate calories. (Don’t eat too little) 
  • Muscles respond to protein intake so you should have a minimum of 1.0 g/kg BW/ day (0.02 oz/lb/d)
  • Frequent amino acid consumption during the waking hours is best.
  • After training, you should consume 6 grams of essential amino acids as well as some carbohydrates.
  • Milk and other dairies (bioactive compounds) will increase your muscle protein synthesis.
  • Vitamin D benefits your muscle strength.
  • Omega-3 (found in fish) increases muscle mass and strength. Should be eaten 3 – 4 times per week or supplemented with Omega-3 tablets.
  • Magnesium is involved with muscle contraction processes (benefits to muscle strength)
  • You should be sleeping for 7-9 hours per night.

Tips For Running When You’re Overweight & Over 50

Chat to a professional about your running plan, and weight loss goals and have them assess any potential health issues that may arise.

Make sure you start in the correct pair of running shoes. If you’re overweight, the extra weight and pressure on your joints can make you even more vulnerable to injuries.

It’s important to remember that taking things slow and building up your running fitness incrementally will ensure that you are building up your strength and that you are minimizing your risk of getting hurt.

Walk before you run. This doesn’t mean that you mustn’t run at all, it means that you should do more walking than running. Walking builds up the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that you need for running.

Build up in blocks (ie. be sure to take a recovery week every 3-4 weeks) this doesn’t mean you do nothing, you can still run 3-4 times per week but you reduce the volume in the 3rd/4th week to aid recovery and give you all the benefit of the training you have just done.

Cross-training is your new best friend. You need to start slowly, cross-training will allow you to push yourself a bit harder with non-impact cardiovascular exercises.

Strength and conditioning training becomes so important as we age, as much as we all hate to admit it, the effects of aging are very real and research shows that by the ages of 60 and 70, you can lose up to 30% of your muscle mass and strength training will help combat that.

Remember that, although running can be a helpful tool for weight loss, it is not a guarantee if you don’t change the way you eat as well. 

Sticking with your running plan and achieving your goals may feel difficult some days… so, do what makes this journey enjoyable for you … so that you can keep your motivation up. Some motivation strategies may be rewarding yourself on your rest days or running with a friend. 

26 miles…  385 yards…  42.195 km…

Based on the legend of an ancient Greek messenger who raced from the site of Marathon to Athens (40k’s), with the news of the Greek victory over the Persians.

Still to this day, people believe that only “certain” types of people can run a marathon.

The truth is, no matter how tall, short, skinny, or bulky you are… with the correct training plan and consistency, you will be able to train for a marathon in less than one year while learning lessons that you can apply to the rest of your life

Let’s have a look at how you can do just that…

How Long Does It Take To Train For a Marathon?

We can be real with ourselves… Marathon training is a big undertaking; there is no question about that. 

Training for a marathon really does not have to be such a daunting idea. 

If we’re realistic, you can be marathon ready in just 12 weeks. That is, if you plan correctly, follow the correct marathon training plan, and stick to it. You’ll begin to see gradual, consistent improvements which will build up and allow you to be ready come race day.

Not all running training plans are created equal, these are the things every running training plan should include as well as the red flags that you should look out for in training plans.

How To Tell If You Are Training Enough 

Am I training too much? How long should my long runs be? How many long runs should I do? Aaaaah!

You’ve been getting the work done and trying not to worry too much about the 42 kilometers that you have signed up for.

But no matter how confident you are, there’s always the question: “Have I done enough?”

This is how you can tell if you have done enough to run your marathon…

  1. Look back at your training plan and see how consistent you were in terms of getting your strength training done, your runs in as well as the rest days. By doing this you will be able to see if you have built up those training blocks correctly. 
  2. Ask yourself… Did you run your long runs slow enough… in other words, if you answered yes, you would have built up your aerobic system correctly and will definitely be ready come race day.
  3. Recovery. A very important and often misunderstood aspect of your training leading up to a marathon is your recovery days. When you run, you aren’t just building your stamina and strength; you’re also breaking your body down, causing a tiny amount of tissue damage with every step.
    So, allowing yourself time to recover after your runs is what makes it possible for you to come back better adapted for your next run.
  4. Your goal pace starts to feel good… At the beginning of your training, running even just a few kilometers at your goal pace may have been a very difficult task, but now that you have done the training it should feel a lot more doable… Considering you are going to be running it for 42Ks.
  5. How mentally prepared are you? In your interval sessions and speed sessions, that was the time to really dig deep and remind yourself of why you are doing this… come race day a very large part of completing the race is going to be based on your mental strength so you need to mentally prepare to stay calm and keep your pace under control.

We know that the constant worrying about whether you’re doing enough to prepare is exhausting…

That is why we created the 12 Week Marathon Training Roadmap.

A proven, step-by-step 12-week marathon training plan to get you from exactly where you are today, to having a marathon medal around your neck at the race you’re targeting in the time you were chasing.

Without the stress and worry. Knowing that you’ve done what it takes to finish a marathon, feeling strong and in control within your goal finishing time.

Ensuring you arrive at the start line, fit, and most importantly injury free…

…to give yourself a shot at achieving your marathon goal.

The Marathon Training Roadmap guides you through every step of your marathon journey.

Training, recovering, tapering, and race day. We’ve got you covered, every step of the way.

Couch To Marathon

If you are doing some exercise you CAN do a Marathon in 12 weeks but building up over 6 months is better and giving yourself time means you can do it safely and enjoy the process.

Running a marathon doesn’t have to be… Scary and Intimidating

Just thinking about running 42km or 26 miles should give you butterflies in your stomach…The thought of it is enough to freak the most seasoned runner out.

Never mind a newbie to marathon running… As much as running a marathon is a physical challenge, it’s just as much a mental challenge. The constant mental gymnastics of second-guessing yourself takes its toll…

This is a step-by-step summary of going from couch to marathon:

  1. Find a training plan that suits you and your lifestyle best.
  2. Try to find a friend to join you on this journey or join a running club. This will help with accountability.
  3. Take it slow and trust the process.
  4. Understand just how important your rest days are. 
  5. Strength training. Strength training. Strength training. – Need I say more!
  6. Fuel your body with nutritious food.
  7. Make sure you are eating enough.
  8. Listen to your body.
  9. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  10. Build up your mental strength by believing in your capabilities.

The truth is, there is no set time frame to train for a marathon… Everyone is different, everyone is at a different fitness level and everyone adapts to training differently. 

What you do in the 12 weeks leading up to your marathon will either set you up for success or failure…

That’s why we have created a step-by-step 12-week 42k training plan to help you across the finish line

This is a proven, science-backed 12-week marathon training plan that shows you not only what training to do every day, but exactly what pace that training should be done at so that you avoid injury and ensure you’re not over-or under-trained for come race day.

It really is just a marathon training plan suited to your ability.

Take the guesswork out of your marathon training

Let’s break down what training for a marathon entails…

The Primary Elements Of Marathon Training

Firstly: Strength training –  Strength training is extremely important for runners, for two main reasons. The first is for injury prevention, and the second is to improve your running performance and make you a faster and more efficient runner

Strength training plays an integral part in the Coach Parry training philosophy and that’s why we’re including our S&C plans as part of the marathon training roadmap.

Free strength training here!

Second: Build endurance – To successfully run a marathon, so many runners believe that in order to run further and to build stamina they need to keep on adding mileage and intensity to their sessions. 

Well, here are some great tips on how you can get fitter and faster without going overboard in your training sessions.

Third: Prevent injuries – Improper warm-ups/ skipped cooldowns and too much high-intensity running are the leading culprits of injury.
You need to work on good, symmetrical biomechanics, and alternate hard-effort workouts with easy runs. Have at least one full rest day a week.

To sum it all up. It’s definitely possible to be marathon ready in one year! It’s possible to be marathon ready in 12 months.

Once you reach race day, trust your training, trust yourself and savor the incredible moment.

Do you battle with tight hamstrings? 

Hamstring problems can be the worst!

However, if treated correctly; followed by finding the root of the problem; you can give them a big fat kiss goodbye. 

Hamstring problems do tend to need treatment as there are numerous reasons as to why they may be an issue… so getting to the bottom of it is a must.

Let’s look at the most common causes of tight hamstrings, how to combat those potential causes, how to prevent tight hamstrings, and what strength training exercises will help.

What Causes Tight Hamstrings?

There are a couple of key pointers to tight hamstrings and cycling is actually one of the most common causes.

This is because in our daily lives we sit a lot… There’s no doubt about it. When you cycle, your body is put into a forward flex position. So the actual act of cycling and closing up the joint angle between the femur, or the leg and your torso means that you get quite tight hip flexors from just sitting normally when you’re at your desk or watching TV, etc…

Riding a bicycle contributes to that and when you get so tight in your hip flexors you can get a slight pelvic tilt and when you get that pelvic tilt it effectively creates a situation where you have these “short tight hamstrings”.

It’s not actually that they’re that short and tight. It’s that they’ve been pulled to a position they’re not supposed to be in because you have got this potential pelvic tilt.

So, we know that tight hamstrings can be the result of a poor posture which causes a forward pelvic tilt, which puts your hamstrings in a lengthened and weakened position, even though they feel tight.

Another reason why your hamstrings could be tight is due to genetics, some people are naturally more limited in their hamstring flexibility and, as such, may be predisposed to tighter ones.

Poor glute activation could also lead to hip instability, which will result in tight hamstrings too.

Sports that require repetitive sprints or sudden direction changes can also cause tight hamstrings.

Now that we know what could be the cause of your tight hamstrings, let’s have a look at how to combat them…

How To Release Tight Hamstrings

The way to deal with tight hamstrings is to strengthen them so that they can help to pull your pelvis back into position and also stretch those hip flexors. 

Tight hip flexors manifest in a couple of ways. 

They manifest in hamstring problems, glute problems, and ITB problems and I guess it depends on each individual exactly where the problem is.

If you are running a lot of hills, especially if you’re running quite a bit off-road or steep climbs… you tend to lean forward quite a lot, which causes your lower back to tighten up, which again can lead to transferring of tightness into your hamstrings.

So to release your tight hamstrings you need to strengthen them as well as your lower back, you need to stretch your hip flexors and if you are running uphill often then you need to make sure you’ve got a really strong core and that will help to get that range of motion feeling a lot better. 

Is There a Trick To Releasing Your Hamstrings?

Is there such a thing as a trick to sort out a hamstring, or should you resort to seeking medical attention….

Don’t let your hamstring turn into a chronic injury. 

If you manage to sort out your tight hamstrings quickly then it won’t turn into a chronic injury and it won’t take as long to heal.

Purely resting very seldom sorts out the problem. Massaging with a tennis ball is going to give you a bit of a mild fascia release and loosen up the hamstring a little bit… But it’s not going to get into that deep tissue, massaging, or needling is probably required.

For a niggling chronic hamstring injury, there’s no way that just one physio session is going to sort it out. It’s probably going to take 3-5 physio sessions.

Between that, you might be allowed to do some cycling, maybe aqua jogging, or low impact exercise that does not elicit pain… 

Chronic Hamstring Injury – You Need To Do Strength Training

If you don’t do strength training… as soon as your hamstrings get put under some pressure then you’re going to have another problem.

You need to work out where the imbalance is (Your physio can help with that) and how to deal with your imbalance… the main thing you need to find out is if it’s a strength issue or a flexibility issue.

How To Prevent Getting Tight Hamstrings?

  1. Strengthening Your Leg Muscles

You have to make your hamstrings stronger. You also need to improve the strength and activity of the muscles which support your hamstring.

  1. Move Your Body Throughout The Day

Even if your job requires you to sit at a desk all day, try to take regular breaks to prevent your muscles from tightening up.

  1. Eat a Healthy Diet

If you overwork your hamstrings, your recovery requires more than just ice and rest. You should incorporate vital nutritional elements, such as protein and carbohydrates to aid in your recovery.

Hamstrings Stretches

  1. Common Hamstring Stretch

Sit on the floor with both of your legs out straight in front of you.

Reach your arms towards your toes and bend at your waist while trying to keep your legs straight.

Hold for 15 seconds, release, and do 3x reps.

  1. Lying Hamstring Stretch

Lie down with your back flat on the ground and your legs out in front of you.

Right leg stretch: Hold the back of your right knee with both hands, pull the leg up toward your chest, and slowly straighten the knee until you feel it stretching. Hold for 15 seconds.

Left leg stretch: Hold the back of your left knee with both hands, pull the leg up toward your chest, and slowly straighten the knee until you feel it stretching. Hold for 15 seconds.

  1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand upright with your spine in a neutral position. 
Place your right leg in front of you with your heel on the ground and your foot flexed.  

Have a gentle bend in your left knee.
Gently lean forward and place your hands on your right leg, which should be straight.
Keep a neutral spine.

Hold for 15 seconds and repeat x3 reps, then switch sides.

Hamstrings Strength Exercises

  1. Eccentric Bridge
  • Start with double leg bridges (up on two legs, down on one leg).
  • Progress to: up on two legs, down on the affected side.
  • Lastly progress: upon the affected leg and down on the affected leg.

Best repetitions are 3×12 reps, to begin with, followed by progressions over time to 3×15-20reps.

  1. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift 
  • Stand balancing on your right leg and hold a dumbbell with your left hand in front of your thigh.
  • Sit your hips back as if you were being pulled by a rope attached to your waist., and allow your right knee to bend slightly. Your left leg should be straight (it’s OK if there’s a slight bend in the knee) and in line with your body throughout the rep.
  • Keeping your back flat, continue to bend at the waist until the dumbbell is at about mid-shin height.
  • Drive through your heel and push your hips forward to stand up to the starting position.
  1. Lateral Walks with Band Around Forefoot
  • Start by placing a resistance band around the balls of both feet and take a hip-width stance. 
  • Slightly bend your knees and hinge forward at the hips until your torso is about 30 to 45 degrees. Begin walking like a crab and taking side steps that are a few inches wide while keeping your feet forward.

If you would like to see examples of how these stretches and strength exercises are done then sign up for FREE here!

Don’t let tight hamstrings get in your way…

If you feel pain or have other concerns, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor.

Hang around any running club long enough and the talk will invariably turn to running shoes. Much of the banter will be about whether or not you need cushioned shoes or if custom orthotics are the way to go…

…But all the talk revolves around one term and that is pronation.

On that note, let’s have a detailed look at pronation, overpronation and supination.

What Is Pronation?

Pronation refers to the natural movement of the foot rolling inwards when you walk or run.

Your gait determines whether you have a neutral pronation if you overpronate or underpronate (also known as supination).

If you overpronate or supinate it puts more stress on certain areas in the feet & leg, which increases your risk of injury.

Different types of shoes can help support your feet if you find that you are overpronating or supinating and it’s causing you pain.

Neutral Pronation

Neutral pronation defines the natural inward roll of the foot when it strikes the ground. 

Pronation helps absorb the shock of landing on the ground when you walk or run and keeps the ankles and legs aligned. 

If your foot doesn’t pronate, the shock of every step would impact the mechanisms of your lower legs.

During neutral/normal pronation, the arch of your foot will flatten as the heel lands on the ground. Your weight is then shifted to the outer side of the foot and then transfers to the big toe.

Your foot will then roll outward, the arch will lift and stiffen and all of the toes will push off and provide stability. 

With a neutral pronation, the sole of the foot will directly face backwards and is not tilted inward or outward.

Pronation also helps to stabilise the body on different types of terrain by adjusting the way the foot lands on different terrain.

If you have neutral pronation you can generally run in any neutral running shoes which provide support and cushioning specifically designed for a neutral gait.

Overpronation

This occurs when the foot rolls excessively inward when you walk or run. 

Overpronation puts more weight on the inner side of the foot and also puts a greater strain on the big toe and the second toe. 

This distribution of weight destabilizes the foot and in turn, affects other biomechanics of the leg.

The excessive twisting or rotating happening in the foot and ankle when you overpronate causes the tibia also rotates more than it should. This causes knee pain and shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome).

One of the most successful ways of preventing overpronation is to wear stability running shoes. These motion control shoes offer a lot of support and structured cushioning.

Stability running shoes generally have firm cushioning along the inner side of the shoe where the foot arches to provide extra arch support. This cushioning helps to prevent the excessive inward rolling of the foot that occurs with overpronation.

Supination (Underpronation)

Supination, or underpronation, occurs when the foot rolls along the outer side of the foot when you walk or run. 

With neutral pronation, the foot naturally supinates as the heel lifts off the ground and the pressure is then rolled across the toes before the foot lifts.

However, when supination occurs, more pressure is put on the outer, smaller toes instead of the big toe and the second toe.

People who supinate usually have higher arches that don’t flatten sufficiently when the heel strikes the ground. 

It also correlates with certain running injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, ankle injuries, Achilles tendonitis, and iliotibial band syndrome.

Runners with supination should choose a pair of neutral running shoes with lots of cushioning as supinators are particularly susceptible to shock-related injuries and commonly get stress fractures. 

Extra cushioning in the running shoes will help absorb some of the impact from running or walking.

How To Choose Running Shoes

Whether you pronate, overpronate or supinate, making sure you run in the correct running shoes is important if you’d like to stay injury-free. 

This is how to make sure you’re in the right shoe:

How To Determine Your Level Of Pronation

Figuring out whether you overpronate, supinate or have a neutral pronation is essential for choosing the right pair of running or walking shoes. 

There are four ways to self diagnose your level of pronation but if you are unsure you can get assessed at a speciality running store.

  1. The wear test

The most common method of determining your level of pronation is the wear test. If you have a look at the soles of your old or current running shoes, you should be able to identify the way your foot is landing.

Overpronators will find more wear on the inner side of the foot and the ball of your feet towards the big toe. Supinators will see more wear down on the outer side of the shoe and people with neutral pronation should see an even distribution of wear along the centre of the shoe.

  1. The wet foot test 

You can analyze your footprint by doing the wet foot test. Wet your foot in some water and then step onto a piece of cardboard. You should be able to tell how your foot lands by the thickness level of the area in between the ball and the heel of the foot. If the line is very thin, it’s a sign of supination, whereas if it’s very thick, you are overpronating.

  1. Shoe tilt

Take a pair of shoes that you wear regularly, they can be running shoes, trainers, or boots, and put them on a flat surface with the heels facing you. If you notice the heels tilt inward as a result of wear along the inner side of the shoe, you are likely an overpronator. If they tilt outwards due to wear along the outer edges of the shoe, you are more likely to be a supinator.

  1. Professional assessment

If you go to a good quality running shoe store, or a specialist practitioner such as a podiatrist you can ask for a foot or assessment from an expert. Someone who’s been trained to identify the different levels of pronation and recommend the best shoes for that type and level.

You can bring your old pair of running shoes with you so that they can analyze the wear themselves and make a more informed diagnosis. They will also usually ask you to walk or run so that they can see how you move for themselves and that they can do an extensive gait analysis.

Is It Overkill To Run With a Stability Shoe & Orthotics?

While cases are always individual and hard to comment on without seeing the client in person, there are common mistakes that are made…

Say, for example, you’ve always run with orthotics in a neural shoe as you’re a flat-footed pronator. 

Then you changed to a stability shoe and continue to insert the orthotics, coupled with extensive strength training as a desperate attempt to curb your ITB. 

Now you’re asking yourself if it is overkill to run with a stability shoe and orthotics…

The fact that this is an injury that is not clearing up and sounds like it’s potentially gotten worse by the latest change. 

Taking all those things into account and obviously, the experience that I have gained over the last decade in terms of dealing with ITB, I see a lot of common mistakes here.

So, probably the last place I would look for a causal relationship with ITB is foot mechanics. 

The last thing that will cause ITB is pronation. 

So, ITB is actually a supination injury. 

To try to simplify it a little bit, if you pronate and much more important than that if you pronate excessively because pronation is normal, it is our body’s first line of defence, it’s our first line of shock absorption.

Pronation would create pain on the inside not outside of the foot/leg.

If you go and stick an orthotic or put on a shoe that is going to disrupt that pronation, you’re actually disrupting your body’s first line of defence against the impact of running.

So, we really need to be clear that we are excessively pronating and that that excessive pronation is causing us problems.

If we excessively pronate, we are far more likely to get pain or discomfort on the inside of the knee, not on the outside of the lateral aspect where we get ITB. 

That’s the first and very important thing to establish. Similarly, being flat-footed, particularly if you spent a youth without shoes, is quite normal and it’s very normal for our ancestors to have extremely flat feet.

Again, for me, putting in anything or wearing shoes to compensate for flat feet is really,’ a crazy notion and if your feet are so flat-footed that they’re causing you problems, you will have foot pain on the inside of the foot or ankle and on the inside of the knee, not the outside.

I think it’s really important to be absolutely 100% sure that we need orthotics – full stop. 

Orthotics are pushing you to the outside, and motion control shoes are pushing you to the outside. You should pretty much never have a situation where you have orthotics and a motion control shoe. 

Orthotics should only ever be in a neutral shoe and only when it’s really, really required.

Tight muscles, not orthotics causing your ITB problem…

In my opinion, ITB, almost always, is something that is causing stress on the outside. Adding orthotic in motion control shoe increases stress to the outside, so I don’t see a solution to the problem there.

More often than not, the problem lies with tight hip flexes, weak glutes and potentially tight glutes, but because of modern lifestyles, people driving so much, people sitting at their desks. I always look at numbers one and two, tight hip flexes, and weak glutes because of how much we sit.

Unfortunately, that often presents as a tight glute. This is because if you have very tight hip flexes, when you stand up, you don’t walk around bent over like you’re bowing to everybody you see. 

The pressure of that tight hip flexor has to go somewhere and it normally goes into the femur, we have a slight internal rotation of that femur which then tightens up the glute and then people go, oh, tight glute.

So we stretch the glute, but by overstretching the glute we make them even weaker. This means that there’s an even more of an internal rotation from the femur. 

If you really stretch those hip flexors, do a lot of strengthening on the glute and then do some stretching on the glute, but don’t overdo it, if you tackle those things, then you normally will take care of ITB.

Plantar fasciitis can be extremely debilitating for a runner!

I mean… nothing can disrupt normal daily living or your exercise routine quite as much as a pain that keeps you from literally moving around…

Known as one of the most common orthopedic complaints… Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the bottom of your heel or on other parts underneath your feet. The plantar fascia is a thick, weblike ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. It acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot to help you run and walk.

Let’s have a look at how you can treat an inflamed plantar fascia and prevent painful feet when running, as well as exercises that you can do at home that will help you heal and prevent plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis

The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain at the bottom of your heel or sometimes at the bottom midfoot area. It usually affects just one foot, but it can affect both of your feet.

Symptoms also include pain that is worse in the morning or when you stand after sitting for a long time or a swollen heel.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Like with most injuries, it’s very seldom that there is one specific cause of that injury…

A few known causes of Plantar Fasciitis include:

Running shoes that have run their course & don’t provide enough support.
– Running long distances on beach sand.
– Tightness in calf muscles (soleus).
– Being overweight is a risk factor.
– Extreme inflexibility in the plantar fascia.
– Tight Achilles’ tendons and structural abnormalities, like having flat feet.

So… What do we do once we have it?

How Do You Fix Plantar Fasciitis?

We recommend rolling your plantar fasciitis gently with ice, you could freeze a bottle of water and just gently roll that on the bottom of your foot – where the pain is. You could then use a golf/cricket ball and actually massage under your feet.

Strengthening exercises will also help with plantar fasciitis.

Put a towel underneath your feet on a tiled floor. Then use your toes to pull that towel and scrunch it up under your feet. So you’re almost doing “bicep curls” with your toes to strengthen your plantar fascia.

If the pain doesn’t improve after doing these things, you should make an appointment with a sports doctor – to ensure it isn’t more serious than you might think.

How to Treat & Prevent Plantar Fasciitis in Runners (Plus Exercises To Do At Home For Pain Relief)

Being runners ourselves… We understand how difficult it is to take a break…

Does Running With Plantar Fasciitis Make It Worse?

YES! Running with plantar fasciitis will make it worse.

If you continue to run with plantar fasciitis, you will cause additional damage to the plantar fasciitis ligament, worsening the condition and causing more pain that could make even walking difficult. 

As we always say…. REST is a four-letter word no runners want to hear….

How To Keep Up Your Training When You Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Stop! 

This really depends on where on the foot it’s sore and whether it’s getting worse or not while you are exercising. 

If it’s getting worse, then don’t carry on with your training, otherwise, it’s going to get worse and worse until you can’t run even if you wanted to.

Cross-training is advisable, like stationary cycling, or perhaps some work on the elliptical, or even swimming. These are things you can do to maintain your fitness.

Note: It is possible to figure out what is causing the pain. It could even be a lack of support in your shoes…

Make Plantar Fasciitis Disappear For Good!

As we mentioned above, the pain could be coming from your shoes or there could even be a  problem with actual weakness in the underside of your foot. 

A little muscle, the fascia that connects your heel to your toes, is responsible for curling your toes.

To strengthen that, do the towel method as we said above but also get your shoes checked out, the shoes may also be allowing a little bit too much play. 

They could also be a little bit hard, in which case your foot is going to be sliding too much across the top of the shoe. Because the foot is not able to settle into the shoe nicely.

Orthotic Inserts To Help With Plantar Fasciitis

Supporting your arch with orthotics is a good way to protect your plantar fascia while it heals.

I wouldn’t use orthotic inserts as a preventative measure but they could certainly help with the healing process.

Let’s have a look at an ultimate plantar fasciitis checklist...

Checklist For Sorting Out Plantar Fasciitis

  1. Make sure you are in the correct shoes.
  1. Strength exercises.
  • Tennis Ball Roll

Place a tennis ball, rolling pin, frozen water bottle, or other cylindrical objects under your foot and gently roll.

  • Towel Stretch 

As explained earlier.

  • Toe Stretch

In a seated position, push your leg out so that just your heel is on the floor. Bend down and grab your big toe, bending it backward (Gently). Flex your ankle.

  • Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall or something to lean onto, with one foot in front of the other (the back foot is the one with plantar fasciitis). Keeping the back leg straight, lean your weight forward, bending into the front knee. (Make sure your back heel stays on the ground).

  1. If 1 & 2 don’t help then visit a Podiatrist.
  1. Take anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen to help reduce pain and swelling.
  1. Regular icing to help reduce pain and swelling. 
  1. Stretching of the calf muscles, and when less painful introduce stretching of the plantar fascia.
  1. Reduce training volume and include cross-training.

Download one of our free, world-famous strength training plans: Here

Are you unsure of how to pace your training runs? Or looking to find out how to train to run at a specific pace in a race?

There are a lot of different factors that need to be taken into consideration when pacing your training runs, especially when training to heart rate. 

First things first. 

One needs to make a decision, whether you’re going to train according to pace or whether you’re going to train to heart rate. 

Training According To Pace

At Coach Parry, we wouldn’t recommend training on pace if you’re NOT getting advice from someone who is very experienced in calculating proper pace-related training zones.

This is because what typically happens when we train according to pace or a target pace is that we often end up running too fast. Pushing ourselves too hard and therefore we don’t develop at the rate that we should be developing at.

Which leads you to train on heart rate. 

While it is still challenging to calculate HR training zones, HR is a reflection of the physiological effort, while pacing is a calculated estimate of what should be easy.

Calculating running zones in terms of pace takes A LOT of experience.

So, how do you do it…

A Formula For Working Out Training Effort

We’ve found that the most useful heart rate method for the layperson is the MAF method developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone.

Dr. Phil Maffetone’s MAF method requires you to run at a strict Heart Rate of 180-age or slower.

But … what that tells us is that we are almost certain that by running at 180 minus your age, you are running aerobically. 

If you’re new to running, if you’re returning from an illness, or if you are returning from an injury, you will then take further amounts off the value. 

If you have all three, if you’re brand new to running, returning from illness and injury, then you would take a further 15 beats per second off of that.

In the case of most people, if you’re repeatedly getting injured or repeatedly getting sick. We would do 180 minus your age,  minus 5.

In extreme circumstances, it would be 180 minus your age, minus 10 and that would effectively set the intensity that you are running at.

There are limitations to the MAF method, particularly as you age and so for athletes older than 50 we recommend 190-age as the starting point.

If you want to work out your maximum heart rate…

How To Calculate Your Heart Rate Maximum

I can assure you that Dr. Phil Maffetone’s method works. 

We’ve used it on many clients where it’s obvious that they’ve got an over-developed anaerobic system. It’s worked very, very well. 

If you do want to go a little bit more detailed, a bit more scientific, then you could determine your heart rate maximum.

We do not recommend you to calculate your heart rate maximum by saying 220 minus your age… you should go out and measure it. 

Provided you’ve been exercising fairly regularly and been cleared by a health care practitioner, you can head to a track or onto a hill (preferable) and do between three to four minutes of all-out efforts with a long recovery in between. (Five minutes between three-minute efforts.)

You should get very close to your maximum heart rate on effort three or four.

You can use Maximum Heart Rate to calculate your easy and hard runs. 

Your easy runs should be done at 70-75% of whatever your maximum heart rate value is and your hard runs in a range from 80% and higher depending on the session.

When you start training on heart rate it’s frustrating and it seems ridiculous, it seems like you can’t run this slowly. 

There are times when you’re forced into a walk. 

Trust us though, if you stick to it and you persevere with it, over six to twelve weeks, you will see very significant improvements in your running speeds at those heart rates.

So, for the vast majority of the population 220 minus your age gives only a very rough idea of what your max heart rate is. 

In this video, we show you how to get to your maximum heart rate, what tests can be done and how often you should do them…

Watch the video here.

Training To Heart Rate 

Most watches or products use a very simple measure to predict heart rate max, which we covered how to calculate above. (220 minus your age)

As we get older your max heart rate decreases, the more active you have been, and the higher the fitness level that you have maintained throughout your life, the slower your heart rate max will decrease. 

For this reason, we’ve never been huge fans of training off of a calculated maximum value. But this method can work and it is a better way of controlling intensity than having no control. 

Coach Parry’s Recommendation For Training To Heart Rate

What we find much more useful, particularly when you start getting to a point where you are starting to take your training seriously and your fitness gains are getting a little bit harder to come by… then it is much better to peg your heart rate training on your THRESHOLD HEART RATE. 

On that note, let’s cover what threshold heart rate is, how to calculate it and how to use it…

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Threshold Heart Rate

The gist of threshold heart rate is that it is the highest intensity that you can sustain for an extended period (35-40min).

At Coach Parry, we prefer to use threshold heart rate as opposed to calculated maximum heart rate.

Essentially, when we use calculated maximum heart rate, there are so many different variances that make it unreliable.  

When you don’t have a true, reliable max heart rate reading, you’re not going to get true variables when putting it into your prescription.

When using threshold heart rate, it is more relevant and specific to you as an individual.

Now that we know what threshold heart rate is and why we at Coach Parry prefer it, let’s have a look at how we would test you outside a lab to get your specific threshold heart rate…

How To Get Your Threshold Heart Rate

You need to warm up well and then run a time trial effort, all-out for 35 to 40 minutes. This will give you a good indication of what your threshold heart rate would be.

The reason for this is depicted in the graph below.

As you can see above, you need a little bit of time for your heart rate to climb and get up to a steady effort/ state (warm-up), and then you will be able to sustain a threshold for 35-40min.

In the 35 to 40 mins, we will see the heart rate plateau and where your heart rate is quite stable. That will be your average heart rate which is a good estimation of your heart rate threshold.  

Anything longer than 45min, we generally will start to see a drop off in heart rate, due to you not being able to sustain the threshold for longer than 40min.  Anything shorter and you are able to maintain too high a Heart Rate for the duration. 

Once calculated correctly as explained above, you would then use your heart rate threshold to determine your different zones based on percentage calculations of that threshold heart rate. 

The accuracy of this measurement is absolutely vital. 

The preferred or more accurate measurement device to measure your heart rate is to use a chest belt. This is because it is a more stable and accurate reading compared to wrist devices, where readings tend to fluctuate.

What does this all mean to your training… let’s find out.

How To Train Using Threshold Heart Rate

In the graph above, the grey line represents heart rate and how it increases over time as the intensity increases.

We can see the different zones we train are represented by Z2, Z4, and Z5.

Z2 Heart Rate: Based on the threshold value that you determined, we would look at 80-85% as the upper limit of your zone 2 heart rate. This is where all of your easy runs and your long runs get done from a heart rate point of view. 

On the graph, if you were to look at the second green line in your zone 2, that would be the upper limit of your zone 2. Whether you’re training in the upper limit or the lower limit of your zone 2 heart rate for your easy runs, physiologically you will be getting the EXACT same benefit.

So, whether you are training in the upper limit of zone two or the lower limit you are still gaining the same benefits. 

By training in the upper end… it is more taxing on your body, so the eccentric load that you are putting into your legs on a run at the upper limit is going to be higher than if you were training at the lower end of that zone. It will be more costly on the body and will require a longer recovery time. 

In this video sports scientists, Shona Hendricks and Devlin Eyden walk you through exactly how to train using threshold heart rate and how much training should be done in each zone…

Check it out here!

This is exactly how to keep your heart rate down while running…