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12 Of The All-Time Best Marathon Running Hacks

virgin london marathon

BAGGING a buddy bonus, making the right musical moves and securing non-DOMS status are just some of the high-impact hacks that will boost your training and performance — whether you’re gearing up for the London Marathon or the big event has simply motivated you to get fitter.

Running a marathon is like preparing for an exam. If you try to cram at the last minute rather than building your fitness and performance levels over time, there’s a risk you will crash and burn.

But, with the right revision, you can improve your performance. These performance-enhancing hacks from Mentholatum — the muscle and joint care experts behind Deep Freeze Cold Gel and the iconic and time-tested topical range of Deep Freeze and Deep Heat products to help keep us active, are drawn from the latest studies and science. They will not only help you make the distance, but they’ll also boost your recovery after the big event.

Don’t take the lunge

“Warming up properly is essential to reduce the risk of DOMS — Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness,” says physiotherapist and advisor to Deep Freeze and Deep Heat, Sammy Margo. 

But Personal fitness trainer, Chris Ruxton who swears by Deep Freeze and Deep Heat as his go-to cooling and thermotherapy topical solutions our bodies need to help keep them active notes: “A lot of people use lunges and stretches to warm up when the latest science shows that you need to do much more active movements like marching on the spot, swinging your arms and knee lifts.

The point of warming up is to increase blood flow and mobilise joints and muscles and stretches and lunges won’t achieve this.

“For an all-purpose warm-up when there is no inflammation, use Deep Heat Muscle Massage Roll-on to massage and lengthen the calf and thigh muscles, as well as targeting the sites where there is muscle adhesion or stiffness.

If you have any muscular or joint ‘trouble spots,’ apply Deep Freeze Cold Gel to the area well ahead of any exercise or training sessions to provide prolonged soothing relief while you work out.

Cooling down after any exercise session is paramount. Most people forget to and then wonder why they pick up muscle and joint problems. As part of my cool-down, I always use Deep Freeze Cold Gel which helps soothe my muscles too.”

  • Partners in times

Team up for training. Sammy Margo explains, “Training with someone else is proven to lift performance. Sports scientists call this the Kohler Effect, and it kicks in because none of us wants to let their team, or a friend, down.

Chris Ruxton adds: “Sharing your exercise experience, in a class, as a team player, or as part of a real-life local or virtual community is always going to give you an edge — whether that’s motivation, routine, determination, competitiveness, performance, or all of the above.”

Yet new real-world research for Deep Freeze, the time-tested, scientifically proven cooling therapy topical range, providing simple, self-care support for joints and muscles shows that only 26% of adults take advantage of this strategy for success.

  • Road runners

Sammy Margo says, “If you are carrying an injury, do your training on a treadmill as this involves much less impact on the feet, ankles, and knees. Chris Ruxton adds, “If you’re fully fit and using a treadmill for convenience, always set it on a slight incline — as this will provide more of a real-road run.”

  • Tracks for making tracks

Music makes us work more. Researchers found that volunteers who listened to their favourite tracks as they cycled clocked up more kilometres than they did without music.

Chris Ruxton adds, “Music has an impact on your RPE — your Rating of Perceived Exertion — so when you’re listening to tracks you like you can push yourself more.

That’s important for any exercise plan, and it’s essential for an event like the Marathon which demands endurance and stamina.”

  • Chillax

“Every run should start with a warm-up and finish with a cool down,” Chris Ruxton advises. “Leisurely stretches will clear lactic acid from your muscles, which reduces the risk of DOMS.

They will also help to lower your heart rate and adrenaline levels, which will maximise the general health benefits of exercise. Finish off by using Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel to cool muscles in the thighs, calves and ankles and to target any niggles.”

For a perfect preparation and post-exercise routine, personal trainer Chris Ruxton and Sammy Margo advise 12 easy ‘hacks’:

  1. For an all-purpose warm-up when there is no inflammation, use Deep Heat Muscle Massage Roll-on to massage and lengthen the calf and thigh muscles, as well as target the sites where there is muscle adhesion or stiffness.
  2. If you have any muscular or joint ‘trouble spots,’ apply Deep Freeze Cold Gel to the area well ahead of any exercise or training sessions to provide prolonged soothing relief while you work out.

Warm up for a total of 10 minutes, using simple aerobic movements which explore a range of movements:

3. March on the spot, then backwards and forwards, swinging your arms as you go.

4. Put one foot forward, heel first, and with the other leg slightly bent punch forward with both hands as you alternate this leg movement.

5. With your back straight and abs tight, do 30 knee lifts with your thigh at a right angle to your hip.

6. Roll your shoulders in each direction 10 times.

7. With your feet a shoulder-width apart and hands outstretched bend at the knee to lower yourself no more than 10cm, 10 times for each leg.

After your workout Chris Ruxton and Sammy Margo recommend a series of leisurely stretches to rid muscle tissue of lactic acid, lower the heart rate and reduce the risk of DOMS:

8. Hip Stretch: Put one foot forward, ease your weight into your straightened back leg and hold for 15 to 20 seconds to feel a stretch across your hip. Repeat with the other leg.

9. Quads Stretch: Keeping your knees together and trying not to lean to one side, hold the top of your left foot and gently pull the heel towards your bottom. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

10. Hamstring Stretch: Put one foot forward, heel first and toes pointing upwards, and bend the other knee with your hands on your hips. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.

11. Calf Stretch: With both feet pointing forwards, step forward and bend your front leg while pushing down with your rear, straightened leg. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat.

12. Finish off by using Deep Freeze Cold Gel to help cool tired muscles in the thighs, calves, and ankles and to target any niggles or trouble spots. 

Chill out with these Deep Freeze workout friends: It’s no wonder Deep Freeze is the UK’s top-selling topical freeze brand. The Deep Freeze range delivers swift, scientifically proven relief from minor aches in muscles and joints. “As far as I’m concerned, they are a kit-bag essential,” says personal trainer Chris Ruxton.

Deep Freeze – fast product summary

Deep Freeze Cold Gel works like ice and helps cool and soothe minor aches in muscles and joints. A 100g tube is £4.49, also available in a purse- or pocket-size 35g tube.

Deep Freeze Cold Spray can be used immediately after exercise, or to provide an instant burst of targeted cooling relief for minor aches in muscles and joints. The no-fuss spray format allows application on hard-to-reach areas like the back, feet, and shoulders. £4.25 for 150ml.

Deep Freeze Cold Patch is a non-medicinal and self-adhesive patch which provides scientifically proven cooling for up to three hours. It works like ice by cooling the desired area, helping to decrease blood flow and as a result calming and soothing the affected muscular or joint area. Ideal for backs, necks, shoulders, legs, and feet. Suitable for use in pregnancy too. £5.49 for a 4-patch pack.

Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel provides scientifically proven cooling and soothing for backs, necks, shoulders, legs, and feet and works just like ice. Cooling therapy can decrease blood flow and may help calm minor aches in muscles and joints. As a result, Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel provides fast-acting cooling and non-medicinal soothing relief in a convenient and mess-free roll-on format. It can also be used alongside oral analgesics. £4.99 for 50g.

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