Before I embarked upon marathon training for the second year in a row, and still scarred from the pain and frustration of my injuries last time around, I wanted to do everything possible to prevent myself becoming that obsessive injury plagued runner once again. It turns out, the sympathy of friends of family for your damaged calf and dodgy hip adductors wears thin after a few weeks of talking about it more or less constantly. And we all know there is nothing quite like the insecurity of an injury or niggle to scupper a runner’s game.

P-R-P stands for: prehab, rehab, performance and was developed by Gareth Cole and Carl Wilson supported by The Third Space. It bridges the gap between fitness and medical research. The simple breakdown is:

  • Prehab – the proactive preparation for pain-free recovery
  • Rehab – the reactive response to pain or injury.
  • Performance – preparing people for peak performance

The key benefits of the techniques as outlined by the founders are:

  • Pain reduction
  • Improve functional and athletic performance
  • Reduce the risk of training and sports injuries
  • Identify physical imbalances and weaknesses
  • Increase strength and flexibility
  • Postural improvement
  • Improve the activities of daily living
  • Overall sense of physical well being

So what did it do for me? On meeting Gareth, also known as the nicest man in the world, he performed a few simple tests on me. He was insistent on knowing nothing and looking at my body untainted by any of my running or injury history or current training plan. We then spent some time testing range of motion in various different places, checking out my strength, hitting some nerve points and there were a few one legged squats thrown in for good measure. He had taken snaps on his IPad throughout – unnerving, yes, (no one really needs to know how they look in a squat) but it provided interesting material for me to analyse, (I can confirm that I don’t like knowing how I look when squatting.)

That aside, we then regrouped to talk about my strengths and weaknesses. He was bang on the money with what was going on in my body and picked out the areas that have been known to cause me trouble. We then hopped onto the treadmill after performing a few simple but key sequences to warm up. Like me, Gareth isn’t a fan of treadmill running but it was useful for yet more photographs, videos and cadence counting. The good news? I have the cadence of a professional athlete and a good forefoot strike. Still I have homework to do. But simple homework.

When on the run, think light and tall Gareth tells me – this will become my mantra, I’ve needed a mantra for a while. You need to aim so tall that you feel a bit ridiculous and try to be as quiet as possible, you don’t want to hear the familiar slapping of the feet. This requires concentration but when I’m doing it, I feel like I’m flying. Gareth guarantees that these simple changes will shave minutes off my race times, ok thanks Gareth, I’ll take it.

Next up, we hit the weights floor. There is a 20-minute routine I can do 2-3 times a week to condition myself for running and the load I am about to put on my body.

I’ve now been doing said routine for nearly 4 months. It’s been so easy to fit into my life and it has kept me feeling strong, but most importantly strong to support my running. I’d been tinkering with heavier weights and there were a good deal of squats and dead lifts in my life before this but mostly just felt DOMS, thus was slightly clunkier on my running days. This however is all about running and it’s giving me support to run. Which is all I’ve wanted. 

Gareth’s knowledge of the human body astounds me and was far more competent and intuitive than many physios I’ve seen. I’m two weeks away from the big day and have been training hard and strong apart from one troublesome overload niggle that has recently scuppered my game slightly. But I’ve sought treatment from Gareth and one week in his safe but painful hands has turned it around. I am a sane human once again. P-R-P is like nothing I’ve experienced before as it’s so personal to your body and your goals – it’s such a refreshing break from much of the industry and I cant really rave about it enough.

Stay tuned for my full routine.