You often hear athletes in seemingly individual sports like tennis, triathlon, running or golf, talk about “their team.”  Some of these teams can be enormous, with physiotherapists, massage therapists, personal trainers, coaches, dietitians and psychologists just to name a few.  Whilst it might seem like overkill to have all these people involved, the athletes at the centre of their team appreciate that “it takes a village” to be successful.  Whilst you or I might not be professional athletes or even anywhere near that, our challenges certainly do require their own little village, to keep things organised, on track and keep us in one piece.

My challenge:

For me, the challenge of running 17 marathons in 2017 and raising $17,000 for Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute has shown me that the Port Melbourne Physio and Pilates team are a huge part of that village, in more ways than is immediately obvious.

They ‘get it’ and support it.

Sally was one of the first people I told about this challenge.  I wanted her opinion on whether my body would be able to handle it, what I should be aware of in terms of injury and how to minimise risk.  She has seen thousands of running related injuries hobble through the PMPP doors and at the time I was recovering from some Achilles issues.  Even then she didn’t flinch, she was on board 100%.  That gave me the first little bit of confidence to start training and telling people about the challenge ahead.

Sometimes you can feel quite alone in the pursuit of your goal, as though nobody else ‘gets it’.  Whether its building strength and flexibility at your regular Pilates class, running a half marathon, doing a triathlon or whatever it may be, not everyone is going to understand or support your goal.  I can imagine the looks and comments that I would have got from ex-work colleagues. “Why do you want to do that?”  “You are mad!”  Aren’t you going to get injured?”  “Don’t you just spend all of your time running?” “What does your wife think?”  I can’t say I would blame them though.  We just don’t have much in common when it comes to this type of stuff.  The trouble is that those types of comments gradually wear away at you and without a supportive counter-balance you can begin to question yourself.  The team at PMPP have been an awesome counter-balance for me.  At no point has anyone said, you are an idiot for running 17 marathons, even though they may think it!

They question, learn and teach with me.

My objectives

One of my main objectives for this year whilst running the marathons was to continue learning about my body, what it is capable of, and where its limits currently lie. The PMPP team have taught me more than anyone else about these things and as I soak up more knowledge and gain more confidence I am able to ask better questions of them, learn more and continue to improve.

So what does that look like in real terms?

Pilates:

I have written before about the benefits of Pilates for runners, and am certainly still seeing the benefits for myself and the runners that I coach.  My Pilates class on Wednesday evening is adapted according to my marathon schedule.  If I have just run one, we concentrate on stretching and recovery. If not, we can work more on strength and balance. On top of that, Sally and I set out a few key things to work on at the beginning of the year in pilates classes (hence why i spend a lot of time on the bloody wobble board!)

Recovery:

At the beginning of this journey, I asked the PMPP team for their advice about recovery from each marathon. Their advice quickly became a recovery protocol for after each marathon.  However, if things aren’t recovering as well and I am worried that I am on the cusp of getting injured, I chat to one of the physios and we figure out a plan.  I also regularly get a massage from Cassie to keep my leg muscles functioning properly, or have dry needling treatment with one of the physiotherapists.

In summary, I guess this place is much more than just a Pilates studio. It has a wealth of knowledge and expertise and practitioners with different opinions who are kind, caring and interested.  It has made a massive difference to me this past few months and I hope they can help you too.  In my eyes, this is what your village should do for you. Help you learn, adapt, grow and improve.  I really encourage you to be curious about your Pilates, physio and the workings of your body.  Ask questions, work WITH the team, take on board the answers and then watch the learning and improvement happen.  Enjoy!

As a running coach, I am part of my runners’ village.  Supporting, helping, understanding and celebrating along the way.  I would love to help you achieve your running goals in 2017.  By donating to the 17 marathons fundraising today, you receive a FREE run group session to kick start your own training: www.gorun.com.au/17challenge

– Chris White (Coach at Go Run Australia)