In the seventh week of her training our Online News Ed Rhalou gets a stinking cold and tries to focus on prehabilitation.
Inevitably with any dedicated training plan, there’s going to be a week where the wheels fall off, things don’t go to plan and you’re forced to reassess your tactics. For me this was last week when, seven weeks into my training plan for The Hoka Highland Fling and nine weeks away from race day, I got a stinking cold. Although a runny nose and a sore throat are nothing to write home about, it can have a devastating affect on confidence and throw your race strategy out of whack. Fortunately I was struck by the lurgy on a relatively easy week, so I only missed a couple of medium sized runs and a bit of speed work.
Having suffered with an infected wisdom tooth a fortnight before The Istanbul Marathon and flu before The Edinburgh Half and still managing to bag a PB at both events, I should know by now that a little cold is nothing to worry about. But it got me thinking about the importance of rest and looking after myself, so I compiled a list of ways to make sure I’m in good shape in the lead up to a big race.
It’s an obvious one but an important one; I try to get lots of sleep. I don’t just mean going to bed early. I try not to look at my phone an hour before bedtime, and I sleep with it outside of the bedroom. It makes the world of difference to my sleep quality and encourages me to read more books.
The first thing we do when we get a twinge or God forbid a serious injury is book an appointment with a physio or sports masseuse, completely ignoring the old adage that prevention is better than cure. This year I’ve been trying to practice prehabilitation, by getting regular massages as an MOT as opposed to a quick fix. It’s not only great for overworked muscles, but hearing a professional tell you in person that your body is in good working order also provides a reassuring confidence boost.
When you’re running crazy miles, it’s extremely easy to forget who you really are and start to feel like you’re a running machine. I try and fit in at least one night a week where I do something that has absolutely nothing to do with running. As my career and the majority of my social life is based around my favourite sport, this can be a bit tricky. But switching off and focusing on something completely different is integral for keeping me sane. For me it involves cooking for friends, making stuff (I secretly love to sew, don’t laugh) reading and hanging out with my girlfriends. During this time I consciously try not to talk or think about running and it definitely gives me some much needed head space.
This one sucks a bit, as I love a drink. But when you’re trying to focus on your performance (and the aforementioned snooze time) booze is the first thing that has to go. A couple of months before race day I try to stop mid week drinking and cut it out altogether in the final weeks. It means I usually get utterly plastered post race, but that’s all part of the fun!
What do you do to make sure you’re in good shape for race day? Tweet me your #prehabilitation tips@Rhalou and if anyone has a cure for the common cold, I would love to hear from you.