Training for a sports event, such as the London Marathon, is always going to be tough but very satisfying and enjoyable, especially if your body remains injury free and your mind is positive and able to stay focused. Here’s some great advice from our practitioners, so you make it across the finish line in good time and feeling incredible.
Running Ready: Agi Makarewicz – Comprehensively Pilates Trained Instructor
It's not a secret that running is a high impact, repetitive movement causing stress on the joints - how much you feel the effects of this extra pressure really depends on the individual. Whether you are prone to feeling the strain or not, Pilates can heighten your performance and help with injury, especially if you are inclined to or have developed asymmetries.
Asymmetries causes many runners well-known problems such as lower back pain, hip pain or knee pain. For a runner posture is the most important ingredient on the road to success and Pilates exercises develop stronger Powerhouse muscles (abdominal, lower back, pelvic floor, around the hips and gut) which leads to improvement in running technique and help bodies recover quicker from injuries.
When training with athletes I always recommend the splits (side, front, back and Russian) and Eve’s Lunge stretches too. These are both very good to incorporate into a bespoke Pilates plan as they will help in developing those important, Powerhouse muscles. Increased flexibility also means you’re less likely to experience injury too.
Shin Splints: Laura Ichajapanich, Acupuncturist & Tuina Chinese Massage Practitioner & Triathlete
When athletes train too hard or for too long, or when they suddenly increase the intensity of their exercise (adding mileage, altering the terrain or incline) then Tibial Stress Syndrome, more commonly known as shin splints can occur.
Shin splints arise because the tibia (shinbone) and the connective tissues attached to it become laden, symptoms include swelling and hardening of the soft tissues and it can be quite painful.
Warming up properly is always recommended but sometimes, if you’re training hard, then northing really prevents its on-set. Acupuncture can promote healing, reduce pain, increase local microcirculation, and attract white blood cells to the area. This can speed the rate of healing, reduce swelling, and disperse bruising.
Having worked with many athletes to alleviate pain prior to marathons and other sporting events I have found acupuncture to help enormously. Tuina (traditional Chinese massage) is also very useful with sports injuries and is easily administered (though loose clothing sitting or lying) so is appealing to lots of people. A good pair of running shoes is also recommended!
Focused Mind: Dr Saul Hillman, Psychologist, Counsellor & Therapist
I always have been fascinated with athletic performance and in particular how athletes are able to draw upon their ‘internal sports star’ and through this have a psychological command over their performance whether it’s running or any other sporting discipline.
I use hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming (NLP) coaching to make athletes maximise their performance. Running a marathon is a wonderful illustration of how the physical and mental training can interplay. I would use and teach strategies to help athletes focus and be able to ‘get in the zone’, prepare themselves for a perfect performance through drawing on previous and future memories and fantasies, and remaining focused and concentrated when it matters.
I am also interested in the physical nature of being an athlete so I work around breathing control, muscular and mental relaxation, and managing pain and injuries that may be alleviated through mind control. I am really keen to help ‘performers’ (athletes or non-athletes) to use imagery to help them increase confidence, control and success.
If we want to model excellence and success, we will need to understand and emulate what the greatest athletes manage to do. If we are able to study in detail what they do and how they manage to do this, we may well be able to learn what could prove to be the difference between success and failure.
Our Belsize Health Experts…
To book with Agi, Laura or Saul simply call our Belsize Health reception on 020 7483 2345 or email:
Agi Makarewicz Credentials: Comprehensively Pilates Trained Instructor
I have an aggressive work out regime for someone over 50 and I have found that I injure myself quite frequently - I decided to try Pilates with a view to maintaining my fitness regime whilst learning how to focus on technique to prevent the recurrent problems. I have found with the precise body learning techniques taught so wonderfully by Agi at Agile Pilates how to avoid repetitive strains. HOWARD, LONDON
Laura Ichajapanich Credentials: MSc, MBCCMA
I have seen Laura twice for acupuncture, which has really helped me. The first was for shin splints ahead of a marathon, which I went on to do without any pain in my shins. The second was to back pain before a long bike race - again with positive results. Laura knows her stuff and I would definitely recommend her. I'll be going back should any issues re-emerge! DAN McCARTNEY
Dr Saul Hillman Credentials: PhD, GHR, ANLP, BACP
I used to get terrible nerves whenever I was at a big swimming gala and my performances used to drop. Now I can use what Saul has shown me. 22 YEAR OLD AMATEUR SWIMMER
Throughout April, our Belsize Health Clinic practitioners have some great offers running:
- Natalie Koffman, Sports Masseuse - Book 5 pre-event 60 minute treatments and get a 60 minute post-event treatment totally free.
- Sarah Dick, Foot Healthcare - 15% off nail reconstruction and initial foot health appointment.
- Agi Makarewicz, Agile Pilates - Free 30 minute private introductory class.
- Jenni Stone, Reflexology & Yoga - £20 off a one-hour reflexology class or one-to-one yoga session. Fees usually £65, so only pay £45.
- Saul Hillman, Hypnotherapy & NLP Coaching – Book 3 sessions but only pay for 2 – get £80 off.
To enquire and book, please speak to our receptionist on 020 7483 2345.
T&Cs: Offers apply throughout the month of April 2016 at Belsize Health Clinic. One discounted session per person only and the discounts cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.