Well-Trained: 6 Weeks To Go Until the Brewers Mini-Marathon!
With 6 weeks to go until the Brewers Mini, we’re in full-on training mode and you should be, too!
This week, we sat down with Dan Wright, Brewers Head Athletic Trainer, to make sure we are on track to succeed on September 22 and we’re going to share some of his tips with you!
Dan’s been with the Club for 11 seasons and has almost 25 years of professional athletic training experience overall. Dan has also completed a number of full and half marathons himself, so in addition to his experience as an athletic trainer, he knows firsthand what it takes to run a race.
Overall, his two key tips for us were:
1. “Stay within yourself”
Dan noted that people should know themselves, their abilities and also, their limitations.
“Everybody runs at different levels and just as much as anything else, you need to stay within yourself in terms of your training regimen,” Dan said. “What you do after your workouts to recover and how you recover depends on how you hard you train.”
Let your body ease into training and you are more likely to avoid injury. You should be able to push yourself to train harder, but you should also know when to give yourself a rest. A key to preventing injuries, Dan said, is trusting in your training.
2. “Fit it in”
Dan acknowledged that training for races can be challenging, almost like a second job. Factor in a crazy schedule for full-time jobs like ours and it can be downright difficult! However, people who are most successful are good at making that time commitment and fitting it in, planning out when they can do their runs and sticking to a schedule. Basically, Dan encourages you to plan out your training and stick to that plan.
“It’s important to fit in the proper training for something like this to prevent injuries,” Dan said. “That can be difficult and a challenge to do the longer runs in and around our job schedule. A big challenge here is fitting in the simple recovery. Half-marathons are a little different than full marathons. Full marathons can be like another job. Your longer runs are longer and the recovery time is longer. A half-marathon is a little easier to fit your long runs in—it is still a commitment—but more manageable.”
Dan also talked to us about common injuries for runners and how to prevent any basic injuries that runners experience. He gave us some good tips on the importance of training and recovery and reiterated the importance of proper nutrition.
Taking care of your feet, legs and back is important part of training for the race, but Dan is also a believer in that training mentally for the race is just as important as training physically.
“I never in my wildest imagination thought I would run a marathon in my life,” he said. “I was a sprinter growing up, but it is all about pace. Anyone can run a marathon; it is the mental mindset and staying within your pace. The training you do serves two purposes. It is the physiological and strengthening of the body and it is also the mental training. The runs get longer as your continue training and that is as important to your mind as it is to your body.”
Read on for more of what we learned from Dan!
Athletic injuries can happen at any time to anyone. Sometimes they are freak injuries and sometimes it is a matter of poor maintenance of your body. When training for something like a half-marathon, it is important to realize that your body needs the proper preparation for workouts and the proper recovery from workouts. Without this care, injuries are more likely to occur.
Most running injuries start from the ground up, Dan told us. Simple things like blisters and other friction injuries can cause compensation and create more serious musculoskeletal injuries.
“Take care of your feet,” Dan said. “That is the most important thing when beginning and maintaining a regular running program. Make sure you have the right shoes, the right amount of padding, wear the right socks. Especially if you are not a long- time runner, (foot injuries) are things that really develop first. The feet get sweaty and you get a lot more friction. Once you start compensating for a friction injury, it works its way up. Ankle soreness, knee soreness, back soreness. Everything in your body works in alignment based on your strengths and body style beginning at the feet. If you change that around from the ground up and you will hurt other muscles.”
Dan was pleased to know that both Cait and I were properly outfitted at Performance Running prior to beginning our training.
Stretching is another simple, but important step to preventing injury. Dan recommends a light warm-up run to get the body warm before a full stretch. Following that stretch, continue with your workout and then finish with another stretch while your body is warm and loose. This is the first step in allowing the muscles to recover.
Dan also talked specifically about hot and cold treatments in treating and preventing injuries.
“If you have the ability to contrast heat and cold treatments, take advantage of it. If you do a cold tub after a long training run, it is very invigorating. It’s really cold at first, but you get a cardiovascular flush, and it calms everything down. But contrasting between heat and cold treatment helps. Any local aches and pains, ankles, knees and back, can benefit from icing. Without any type of injury or history, the contrasting hot and cold treatment can help.”
Dan started out talking in general about injury prevention and healing as John mentioned, but then I started asking him specific questions about my nagging knee injury.
The advice he gave me? Heat, Stretch, Strengthen: heat to increase the elasticity and stimulate blood flow, stretching to increase range of motion and muscle coordination and strengthening to help heal and prevent future irritation.
Dan gave me a couple of specific exercises to try and also, provided me with a compression sleeve (see below) that he had on hand. He suggested that I try wearing it while running (in conjunction with heeding his other advice).
I wasn’t expecting all that when we went to meet with him, but I truly appreciate the support!
Since meeting with Day, I’ve run three times so far and it seems to have helped! I’m going to continue training, but also remember to “stay within myself” as we move toward race day.
So, good luck to all of you as you continue to train for the Brewers Mini–be safe!
We’ll be back next week with another post as we move closer to the big day!
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-John and Cait