12-week fitness clinic to help runners train for marathon

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2008, 12:00am

Runners in next year's Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon can take part in a 12-week 'marathon clinic' to help them prepare for the race and avoid injuries.

The clinic, on offer to 200 beginners and 40 intermediate runners, involves physiotherapists assessing their physical condition and helping them design a proper training regime.

The marathon - one of the city's biggest participation sports - attracted about 55,000 entries this year. There are three races: a full marathon, half marathon and a 10km race.

Simon Yeung Sai-mo, a physiotherapist at the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at Polytechnic University, said many runners who failed to complete the race did not follow a systematic training programme.

Part of the service offered by the clinic will be a pre- and post-training assessment. Beginners will be tested for their aerobic fitness, muscle strength and endurance fitness, body composition and flexibility.

For intermediate runners, the clinic will provide additional one-on-one lab tests on their oxygen consumption and analysis of their running position using a treadmill that has been mounted with a sensor and camera.

Dr Yeung said a bad running position could leave runners with serious injuries. Even without machines, runners will be able to improve their style by running on sand and examining their footprints.

'To review the footprint on sand, runners can have a general idea of whether they have a proper running position,' Dr Yeung said.

Registered coaches and physiotherapists will provide tips on race preparation, how to avoid injuries and the correct running position.

Physiotherapists will also follow training progress online.

Distance runner Ada Leong Yuen-fan said a beginner would normally need nine months to prepare for a marathon. Runners taking part in the 10km event need only three months to prepare. But Ms Leong reminded racers to start preparations early because training in cold weather was not as effective.

Once the race was finished, competitors should step back from exercise for two weeks to recover.