Marathon training - The balanced taper

Oestopath Gavin Burt guides you through the taper; a crucial part of all running training



by Gavin Burt

Fill the void of not running.

To fill the void that would have been occupied by running, and to ease the suffering that is sedentary boredom, I recommend you use the extra time to ensure that your body is completely, utterly and totally symmetrical, balanced and centred.

A very common reason for mid race retirement is the development of one sided cramps and pulled muscles, such as that right hamstring spasm that caused you to pull out of the last marathon, or the calf injury that seemed to happen while you tapered last time. The reason is because of a difference in the strength of a muscle on one side of the body compared with its counterpart on the other side. So here is a way to spend some quality time with your body, coaxing it into the balance it needs to break the tape in top form.

There are 6 muscles that you will need to test the relative strength of, and if you find an inbalace in any of these 6, you will need to perform a specialised exercise for each one that is weak. You will test the strength of each muscle in two ways.

Firstly the gross power of the muscle, feeling how much you can resist a friend of yours pushing hard against the muscle. If power is equal in both legs, this doesn't mean that there is no imbalance. The next step is to see if one muscle fatigues quicker than another when asked to do a high frequency of repetitive movements. I will refer to this as endurance testing.


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