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How to Avoid Injuries During the London Marathon

The London Marathon is just around the corner, you’ve been training for months, you’ve ironed your best and tightest running bottoms, and you’re determined not to embarrass yourself in front of friends, family and live TV. So what can stop you now you ask?!

Did you know that 28% of runners never make it to the starting line due to injury? And that on the day, a further 2% (about 500 runners) don’t finish the race due to injuries? We know that at this point it’s far too late to change anything drastic, but we’ve been dipping into John Shepherd’s fantastic Strength Training for Runners to find a few handy tips to stop those last-minute niggles.

Pre-conditioning:

‘Prevention in the case of running injuries, is very much better than cure’. Wiser words were never spoken, and in aid of preventing running injures John Shepherd recommends this great selection of resistance exercises for pre-conditioning training:

Pre-conditioning

Warming up:

A running-specific warm-up will raise your body temperature, improve your range of movement and get you mentally ready for the task ahead! These are all fairly vital, so we thought we’d chuck in some of John Shepherd’s very own advised warm-ups to help you on your way:

Warming up

 

Stretching, obviously, but concentrate on sites of previous injury:

Stretching everything properly is vital, but if you’ve had an injury before in a specific area, like the hamstring, it is vital to make sure that area is fully prepared. As John Shepherd points out:

‘In terms of learning from previous injuries, a team of researchers investigated hamstring injuries in elite athletes, hypothesising that those with a prior history of hamstring muscle strain were at increased risk of sustaining similar injuries in the future.’

So, if you have any previous niggles in important areas, make sure those areas are properly stretched out and warmed up before you head for the starting line.

 Order your copy today

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Meet Michael Hutchinson and Discover the Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World’s Fastest Cyclists

Discover the Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World’s Fastest Cyclists

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Michael Hutchinson is obsessed with speed. He will be here at the Bloomsbury Institute on 6th May to tell us about his new book, Faster, and explain why cyclists do what they do, what the riders, their coaches and the boffins get up to behind the scenes, and why the idea of going faster is such an appealing, universal instinct for all of us.

Fantastic. An intelligent and personal insight in to the world of elite cycling’ Sir Dave Brailsford

Book your tickets today!

Listen to Julia Buckley talk to KFKA’s Devon Lentz about her new book The Fat Burn Revolution

Click on the book cover below to listen to Julia Buckley talk to KFKA’s Devon Lentz about her new book The Fat Burn Revolution.

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Man vs. Beast: a Spartan’s tale of obstacle racing

Saturday morning was very cold and very wet – the perfect morning to stay indoors and whack the heating up, right? Wrong. I was at Pippingford Park in East Sussex battling the elements and ready to support the hordes of runners taking on the Spartan Beast – an epic 25km obstacle race.

As the climactic event on the Spartan Race calendar, this was going to be tough and it seemed as though Mother Nature herself was intent on making it even tougher for the runners. With a muddy and rain-soaked course greeting runners in the very first elite heat at 10 a.m., the non-stop rain made the trails boggy and the mud pits … boggier!

Having completed one of the shorter events, the 5km Spartan Sprint back in September, I couldn’t wait to see what the organisers had in store for the 15+ miles of challenging terrain. Oh, and did I mention that, if you fail ANY of the 25+ obstacles, there is a 30 burpee punishment?!

This race was hardest yet, but don’t just take my word for it, we have a first-hand account from a Spartan survivor, Darrell Skipper, who crossed the finish line after a gruelling four and a half hours.

Here’s what Darrell had to say about the race:

The Spartan Beast was by far the toughest physical and mental challenge of my life. I’d signed up for the 2013 Spartan Race Season Pass this year and had already completed four of the shorter Spartan Sprints (between 5–8km) and one Spartan Super (12km) over the summer, but this was on a different level.

The Spartan Skippers in red setting off at the start line. (Left to right) Darrell, David and Nathan

The Spartan Skippers in red setting off at the start line (left to right) Darrell, David and Nathan

I ran in the 10 a.m. ‘elite’ heat (I didn’t feel too elite by the end!) and we set off just in time for the first of many torrential downpours of the day. It wasn’t long into the race before we realised that this was going to be a lot different to those nice warm race days of the summer … It was raining pretty much the whole time and this resulted in people getting stuck in the mud and the freezing bogs being at chest height at times.

Despite the cold and the rain, spirits were still high

Despite the cold and the rain, spirits were still high in the water crossing

The obstacles ranged from fire jumps, 8ft wall climbs, rope climbs and barbed wire crawls to carrying heavy sandbags up and down steep and slippery slopes. Some very ambitious person also decided to put a 25ft rope climb at the end of the race, which apparently only about 10 per cent of finishers managed; the other 90 per cent accepting the 30 burpee punishment instead, which, for me, seemed to take a lifetime to finish!

 

The fire jump

The fire jump was a great source of warmth for the spectators!

The obstacles were actually a sweet relief, a brief respite from the horrors of the trails and the hills, oh god the hills! A lot of people struggled with the naturally formed mudslides, but luckily I had learned from previous races that the quickest way down is on your backside. As soon as the other runners see you doing this they all follow your lead – it was definitely the quickest way downhill.

The mudslides

Tackling those mudslides

I completed the race with my brother and father, who have been my Spartan training buddies for a few years now. We first signed up as motivation to lose weight and we ended up losing over 250lbs between us! After that, it just became an addiction. We love the whole ethos of the Spartan Race, the spirit and camaraderie between fellow Spartans is amazing. Lots of helping hands and lots of crazy, delirious laughter from the sheer insanity of it all.

I’d highly recommend obstacle racing for people who are looking to get in shape or to kick-start their fitness regime. Nothing motivates you better than cold, dead-eyed fear! Despite the aches, pains and countless hours of training, I’m definitely doing the whole season again next year – who’s with me?

If you are interested in joining the Spartans next year, or would like to find out more information about their races, you can subscribe here. Who knows, maybe I will see you at the start line next year…

Happy training!
Sarah

A huge thank you to Darrell for his guest post and to Epic Action Imagery for allowing us to use their brilliant photos.

The Alps during the 1913 Tour. #tdf

Bloomsbury Sport’s Tour de France Photo of the Day


Stage 19

Hairpin hell
Jean Alavoine and Firmin Lambot climb the Alpine monster, the Col du Galibier, during the 1913 Tour.

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These photos can be found on page 27 of Tour de France 100.

The most famous Alpe d’Huez finish of all: LeMond and Hinault in ‘86. #tdf

Bloomsbury Sport’s Tour de France Photo of the Day


Stage 18

Burying the hatchet
Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond cross the finish line at the top of Alpe d’Huez, united at last after two weeks of bitter feuding.

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These photos can be found on page 153 of Tour de France 100.

A rare picture of the first three five-time winners of the Tour: Merckx, Hinault and Anquetil. #tdf

Bloomsbury Sport’s Tour de France Photo of the Day

Stage 13

Top table
The three five-time Tour winners meet at the 1987 race: Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil. Anquetil would die just four months later of stomach cancer.

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These photos can be found on page 160 of Tour de France 100.

Could Philippe Gilbert, in black-shouldered Belgian champ’s jersey, be today’s winner? #tdf

Bloomsbury Sport’s Tour de France Photo of the Day

Stage 3

Blanket finish

Mark Cavendish, with his trademark low-slung sprinting style, is on the far left and on his way to one of his best wins at the top of a small climb in Brittany, at Cap Frehel, ahead of Philippe Gilbert, in the black Belgian champion’s jersey and, in yellow, Thor Hushovd.

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These photos can be found on page 215 of Tour de France 100.

Our #tdf photo of the day captures the emotion of Bernard Hinault winning his fourth Tour title in 1982

Bloomsbury Sport’s Tour de France Photo of the Day

Stage 2Champion

The photo that we have picked for Stage two provides a rare show of emotion from Bernard Hinault after winning his fourth Tour title in 1982. The men beside him are Félix Lévitan, co-director of the Tour, and the then-mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac.

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These photos can be found on page 148 of Tour de France 100.

And they’re off! Here’s our first photo to mark the start of the 100th Race of the #tdf

Bloomsbury Sport’s Tour de France Photo of the Day

Stage 1

The greatest?

We kick start our Tour de France photo of the day with a photo taken from Tour de France 100 by Richard Moore. It is a picture of Mark Cavendish as he wins one of his six stages in 2009, this one his third, at the end of the tenth stage to Issoudun.

By 2012, with 23 stage wins in six, starts, he was acclaimed by L’Equipe as the greatest sprinter the sport had ever seen.

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These photos can be found on page 212 of Tour de France 100.
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