Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Half marathons and kegel training | HerCanberra

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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Half marathons and kegel training

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Fabulous questions this week about pelvic floor training, and a beginners half marathon running program.

Thank you to the Her Canberra community for being so engaging and asking the tough questions. I’ll get to the other questions on osteoporosis, “perimenopause bulge”, mountain running and the benefits of exercise with depression over the next month.

New here? Ask an EP is here to help with all your health and wellness questions and challenges—lifestyle, wellness, pain and health.

Do you have a burning health and wellness question? Now is your chance to ask.

Each week we will pick a couple of questions, and help you solve your burning query. If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

Let’s get started.

I want to increase my running, so I can do a half marathon at the end of the year. I currently only do Parkrun, which is 5 km every Saturday. 

My body takes 4-5 days to recover, so maybe if I ran more, I’d recover better.  Any tips?

– Martha, 38

A ½ marathon by the end of the year is a big goal—let’s make sure you plan well. Do you have an individualised training program by a running coach? That’s your first step.

If you’re consistent with your training, have a plan, and schedule rest days and easy weeks, you’ll have a better chance of getting to the start line. The race is the easy part, as adrenaline, music and enjoyment will get you to the finish line.

Here are five tips to consider if you want to increase your running km’s:

Footwear management

Make sure you have supportive comfortable footwear. A gait assessment would be smart (and do this BEFORE you get injured!)? Prevention is key!

If you’ve got another pair of good running shoes, rotate them.

Choose your surface wisely

Mix up your path choice. Don’t run on a hard surface all the time (which is often what Parkrun is!). Mix it up with footpath, local soft grassy oval, single trail, rocks, gravel and tan bark.

Each surface will distribute a different load on your joints and musculoskeletal system.

Rest days, or “active recovery days”

Listen to your body. Your body adapts to the new loads when you’re resting. A “rest day” doesn’t mean hang out on the couch all day. The best way to recover and adapt to the new load is by scheduling an “active recovery day”. Eg:

– Flat easy short walks
– YouTube a home mobility session
– Yoga, Pilates
– I would usually recommend one swim, Deep Water Running or Hydrolates (Aquatic Pilates) session a week.

Choose an activity where your body is still moving.

Specific lower limb strength exercises

Focussing on your strength 3-4 days a week is important. Make sure the program is targeted to your weaknesses; an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist will help to design a specific program for you. It doesn’t need to be a big gym session – 20-25 mins, 3-4 days a week should keep the niggles away!

“Do you believe in Kegel training? I have a poor pelvic floor, and can’t cough, jump or sneeze without an accident. How often should I be training my pelvic floor?

I’ve had one child, however, that was 30 years ago. Maybe I’m too late?”

– Casandra, 55

Hi Casandra

I have contacted a work colleague who is a women’s health physiotherapist, Natasha Veljanovska, from Accelerate Physiotherapy. Here are her suggestions:

“It’s never too late! Pelvic floors exercises can strengthen the muscles that prevent you from leaking/having an accident when there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as in coughing, sneezing and jumping. You should be doing pelvic floor exercise every day but, your muscle strength and endurance will determine how many repetitions.

As a general guide though, try to do your pelvic floor exercises 3 x a day, each time in a different position—sitting, standing, lying and do 10 reps. It’s always important to know what sort of pelvic floor dysfunction is contributing to these symptoms and to get a specific program for you, I would recommend an assessment with a women’s health physio”.

Great questions. I’ll answer more in two weeks—when the school holidays are over. Happy Easter everyone.

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