We’re all a bit wonky aren’t we really. One ear lower than the other, one leg longer than the other. We carry bags on one shoulder, write with one hand, drive on one side and believe it or not, when we’re pushed off balance, our bodies also react one-sidedly as well. (Is that a word?) Try it – get someone to push you from behind when you’re not expecting it, and see which foot you put forward first. Do it a few times and see if it’s always the same one.
Being wonky is all well and good, since if we were all symmetrical, it would be incredibly off-putting. However, for a long-distance runner, wonky legs can become a bit of problem. 50k a week is approximately 5 hours of running, which can make a slight imbalance seem like you’ve been running round with leg weights and a single 5 inch platform shoe on one foot.
I discovered this problem (the wonkiness – not the odd shoes) when training for the 2009 marathon and had to relinquish my place begrudgingly as I simply couldn’t run or cycle any more without one leg giving me grief. My wonderful Osteo fixed everything and sent me back out running again…which is nice. It took about 6 months though! So knowing your body’s imperfections is very important when training long distance because the problems get magnified, and I wanted to share with you a couple of tips to keep on the straight and narrow, so to speak.
1) We are all wonky, so do some all-round strength training to try and even it out a bit. Check out the gym I go to – it’s like no other!
2) Strengthen your core. You can spot a tired runner going up a hill, as they are bent over. Bad posture = compensation = injury.
3) Be aware of any common niggles that you get – treat them as warning signs and deal with them quickly!
4) Regular sports massage and / or Physio / Osteo checkups – brilliant prevention tactics.
5) Consistency in running – the more consistent your running training is, the more you will progress injury-free.
6) Be aware of different training stages you’re going through and what your training plan should include at each stage. (For example, if you need to build cardio fitness, you might add in some cycling / swimming along side the running)
So my final word today is that to stay motivated, improve fitness and to keep as unwonky as possible, we need to keep it interesting and fun by doing different exercises and routes, that meet the above 6 objectives. If it’s not fun, we just wouldn’t do it…..right?
Don’t make running a chore – keep it as the fun part of your day!