Recently, the wife of one of our beloved DPTs ran a marathon in Utah, finishing 4th in her division. Congratulations are certainly warranted to Melissa Wood, this great example of the POLICE principle, for training and running 26.2 without receiving an eminent injury. She could personally tell you her story of how powerful the training has been for her, and how she has avoided injury, but this article will focus on the principles that would apply to the masses, including you. Starting with the POLICE principle, let’s clarify a much needed topic of “listening to your body”. See Wright Physical Therapy’s following reasons you should consider running a marathon of your own.
1. POLICE – Topping the list for training and running a marathon is the application and learning experience of POLICE the principle. Our bodies were not made to rest. They were intended to move and improve, even as we age. Aging appropriately and in an inspired way is an art that all of must balance in our personal lives. POLICE guides that process. The acronym antagonizes an oft used pneumonic for healing initial injuries known as RICE. In this setting, the “POL” in POLICE takes place of the “R” in RICE. Old school proponents of RICE state that “Resting” a body is best when injury has occurred or nearly occurred. The reason POL should replace R for a mobile and healthy life is that “Rest” literally prepares the body to “Rest” more. Not a good start to aging well. Instead, it would be wise to follow the POL by “Protecting” injured or vulnerable areas, and “Optimally Loading” the joint systems in the body. Optimal Load cannot be overrated! If the body is exposed to minimal load, the body weakens, too much load and it will be injured. “ICE” in both stand for “Ice”, “Compress” and “Elevate” which are useful when you have overdone it. If you are listening to your body when training for and running a marathon, there is a good chance you will learn the power of POLICE and how your aging experience can be better shaped by it.
2. Heart Health – It is important to note that the heart has many dynamic factors that influence it’s performance. However, research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session suggests training for the big race may be an effective strategy for reducing heart disease risks.
3. Get Fit – The average female runner will burn 3300 calories during a marathon race. This is a conservative estimate. Training for the marathon is extremely effective at reduction of excess calories.
4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone – One cannot know the strength of the wind by laying down in it. Only those who push forward in the wind understand their own strength as well as the opposition they face. On that note, we love the quote “Make no small plans, for they have not the power to stir man’s blood” – Daniel Burnham
5. Inspire Others – You may not realize how much your life and actions impact others on a daily basis. You may think what you do doesn’t make a difference, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If none of the other reasons motivate you, then turn your focus outward. Run a marathon to inspire others to do something they thought was too tough or impossible. When others see you train and cross that finish line, someone will follow your lead and start running. Melissa has certainly motivated many of us here at WPT.
Remember that skilled physical therapists can help you discover optimal load on this amazing journey. If in doubt, see one of our DPTs at Wright Physical Therapy for complimentary 10 minute screen to help you hone in on our first written reason to run a marathon.