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Published: 24 March 2017

5 steps to ensure you maintain your training progress

So your Half / Marathon day is getting nearer and your training has been going well. But how do you ensure that you maintain the training progress in the run up to the big day? Amy Whitehead outlines her five tips to help you with your training.

Tune into your body and ‘niggles’

It’s common to pick up ‘niggles’ when increasing your running but it is damaging to run through an injury and things can be done to stop them escalating:

• ‘Niggles’ can be due to tightness in the body so using a foam roller or booking a soft tissue massage (or doing it yourself) can help to alleviate this.

• If you feel pain that will not go away at rest, or on a run, you should seek help from a physio. If it has bothered you on 3 runs then try cross training or resting for a few days. If there is no improvement, seek help even if it seems relatively minor. You are likely to nip the injury in the bud far quicker if you act on it quickly.

• If an area feels inflamed, combined with resting from running, an ice pack will work wonders. Aim to ice a minimum of 3 times a day, for 10mins max. You could also take ibuprofen for a couple of days (but always take with food) to help any swelling go down. If after a couple of days there is no improvement again see a physio.

• Obviously if you experience a sudden, sharp pain, particularly chest pain or feel light headed and unwell stop immediately and seek medical help.

Check your trainers

Niggles are also often down to the cushioning beginning to go in your trainers. Do check your trainers are not becoming battered:

• If there are lots of lines on the cushioning part on the side of the shoe or obvious wear and tear, it is time to go trainer shopping! It is a good idea to have a couple of pairs of trainers to rotate.

• Resist the temptation to experiment with lots of different models of trainers. When you find a brand and style that works it is better to stick with it and practise running in your race day shoes on at least 3 of your long runs.

• A brand new pair of trainers for the race is not what you want! You want them to be slightly ‘broken in’ to avoid blisters and to know that they will provide comfort in the race.

Aim to have more rest and sleep and make sensible lifestyle choices

One of the best decisions you can make while marathon training is to ensure that you have more sleep than usual. Your body is working hard and making physiological changes that mainly occur when you rest. Think of sleep as being training too! Put your feet up whenever you can and turn down nights out on the town wherever possible until post-race!

Keep motivated and record your progress

All athletes struggle with the task of training for a big event at some point and will have points where they are struggling for motivation. Maintain your drive by recording your progress, this could be in a diary, on social media or just by sticking your training programme and target time on the fridge or with a friend.  Reward yourself with a favourite treat when you hit mile stones e.g. your longest run.

Be patient and trust in your progress

If you gradually increase your running you will make improvements but they will take time. In the same way, you will not lose all your fitness if you have to miss a week of training. Successful running and performance is based on consistent training: your overall work over weeks of running will be what influences your performance rather than one week or workout. On every training run you are getting that step closer to successfully completing your goal half or marathon, so keep your head high and eyes on the prize!

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