Fork In The Road
With the Boston Marathon only about a month away, the number of clients coming into my training/massage facility has doubled.
Because these happen to be runners who are preparing for the Boston Marathon and are looking for quick solutions to the annoying aches and pains in their hips and knees.
This always happens without fail! I always know when the next big marathon is coming up by the number of runners coming into the facility with complaints. The crazy thing is that when asking them about what they feel, they almost always comment, “It has been feeling this way for the past 5-months”.
While I certainly appreciate the OCD that comes with being an endurance athlete, this can be an incredibly frustrating bunch to work with, as they typically don’t do a good job of regulating both training volume and intensity. This ends up getting them in trouble as they reach what I call, “The Fork In The Road”.
Endurance athletes reach this fork when their aerobic capacity exceeds their bodies ability to tolerate the volume of training they are putting it through. The common trend amongst these runners is how incredibly weak they are, and not just in their legs – I mean all over! From head to toe, they have very little strength. I am amazed that they can handle any running at all sometimes!
Realistically, these runners should have been in the facility training 7 or 8-months before the marathon, to ensure that their body is strong enough to tolerate the high training mileage needed to prepare for a marathon.
Avoiding The Fork
The best way to avoid the fork is to have a training program which addresses your needs and weaknesses. The program should be comprehensive and not just consist of running. Rather, some resistance training should be used to help develop a fundamental level of strength. In fact, research supports the fact that REPLACING some of your endurance work with resistance training can prove to be beneficial. The word “replacing” is emphasized because this does not mean adding more training on top of your running schedule, but rather, taking some of the running out of the weekly training program and replacing it with some low-volume strength work.
My good friend and colleague Carson Boddicker has written some excellent pieces on the importance of strength training for runners over the past week in his blog at BoddickerPerformance.com. If you are a runner or endurance athlete, I highly suggest checking it out.