​So you’ve signed up for a competition, marathon, challenge?

Good on you.

Whether it is your first time or you’re more experienced I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

As with any event, preparation is important to perform at your best and also to avoid injury. For some of you reading this you’ll know that you can go out tomorrow and nail your event with no problems. For the rest of you, whether you’ve never completed before or you have a target you’ve never achieved before, there is a bit more uncertainty. Getting out of your comfort zone with this is a great challenge, but you’ll need to prepare. The best time to start your preparation is right now. Here are a few principles to help get ready to give it your best.

Train progressively

Exercise places strain on our bodies, especially muscles and connective tissue. If your usual exercise only involves walking to and from the car and you leap into training then your body is in for a surprise. Increasing how much exercise you are doing rapidly can lead to these structures getting overloaded, not coping well and can result in injury.

The good news is that our bodies are designed to move, and once we start moving and challenging ourselves physically, these structures adapt really well. It does take time for us to adapt and improve our body’s ability to handle load. This is a weeks to month’s adaptation rather than a couple of days.

If you’re just starting out and you’ve never trained before, focus on just getting moving with body weight or light weight exercises. Once you’ve built a bit of endurance and your body has begun to adapt, that is when you can crank up the weight and the speed. Make sure you stick with good technique!

Consistency is the key to your body adapting, aim to workout 2-4 times per week to start with and as your body adapts you might find you are able to increase your frequency.

Recovery days are important as well. These days allow your body to recover and repair itself. A recovery day doesn’t mean doing nothing, rather a rest from training for the event. TIP – don’t take all your rest days at once.

Work on flexibility

Flexibility is important. You may never have been able to touch your toes before, however flexibility is something that everyone can improve with a bit of practice.

Increased muscle tightness in the body can lead to an increase in injuries or aches and pains as you increase your weight and speed. These can often occur around shoulders, back, hips, knees and ankles.

Focus on keeping the major muscles of your body flexible, you’ll want to work on the shoulders, hips, thighs, calves, and back. If you’re more flexible then it is easier for your body to get into good positions when lifting and running which can lead to you being more efficient and using less energy.

Improving your stretching and flexibility is a long-term project. I’m yet to find a stretch that is going to keep you flexible forever. A regular stretching routine is great, you can do this on your recovery days. Alternately yoga or other flexibility based classes work well too. If you are in doubt come in and see one of our physiotherapists for some personalised advice.

Build strength

Hopefully you are doing this already by heading along to CrossFit!

Strength is an important component of life, although it is often overlooked. For example if you are walking the average person takes about 1250 steps a kilometer, over the course of a day this quickly adds up. Every time you take a step (or stride if you are running) the muscles of your legs, torso, and even upper body are working.

Improving the strength or the muscles in your core and legs has multiple benefits for walkers and runners. Being stronger means that it can take you longer to get tired, so you’ll be able to go faster for longer. Stronger muscles are more effective at supporting our joints, especially ankles, knees and hips, which can lead to decreased injuries. Increased strength often means we are able to control our bodies better and absorb the loads more easily leading to us being more efficient on the day.

If you want some more personal advice come in and see one of our physiotherapists or if you need a help to get fitter, faster and stronger


Chris Desmond