As the days until the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon wind down, excitement is increasing for participants and organisers alike. The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) is one of the many organisations looking forward to the event this year.
This is the 3rd year the ISCP has hosted a cool down area, massage tent, and quick assessment centre, and this year the Society will also be helping race participants warm up and mentally prepare for the race during a 5 minute Power Pump Warm Up near the start line. Take a cue from the Chartered Physios and don't go into your race cold.
The warm up component of exercise is used to improve sporting performance and decrease the risk of injury. Warm up routines increase muscle and total body temperature in preparation of activity, and need to be done less than 30 minutes before exercise to have their benefits carryover. An increased temperature benefits the body's system by increasing a muscle's blood flow, improving its cellular metabolism, and allowing oxygen to be more readily used by the muscle. It helps the nervous system react faster, and the cardiovascular system to respond better to exercise. Warming up also most likely helps to improve the flexibility of the connective tissues and put joints through their range of motion prior to exercise, helping to decrease risk of injury. Any Chartered Physiotherapist would much prefer to prevent and injury than treat one, and the ISCP’s team of volunteers welcome the opportunity to help this year’s participants have the best and safest performance they’re capable of.
Not to be forgotten is the motivation and celebration of the warm up. Whether it’s your first time running or walking in the Vhi Mini Marathon or your 23rd, the atmosphere and positive energy at the beginning of the race is not to be missed. Many participants have raised money for a very worthy charity and have passionate and personal reasons to be taking part. The arrival to the starting line itself is a great achievement for each participant, and the obvious conviviality of the crowd really drives home the celebration of life and health the event is. The warm up area is a great time to focus on goals for the event and take in the amazing social and supportive atmosphere. The ISCP volunteers and Chartered Physiotherapists are always excited to support the participants and get them ready for their event, and always get as much energy back from the crowds as they give.
Following the race, the ISCP provide a cool down area, massage tent, and quick treatment centre for the proud finishers. Cooling down after a period of exercise helps decrease Delayed- Onset Muscle Soreness (or DOMS), which commonly comes on 24 to 48 hours after a period of increased exercise or activity. Massage therapy, which also helps to decrease DOMS, is thought to reduce muscle tension, improve circulation and nutrition to the muscle, and deactivate tender points in the muscle. The cool down area will contain a group plaza where finishers will be led through stretches for tired legs. A tent with massage beds and chairs will be in place to help ease aching muscles, and a quick assessment area will be available for advice if anyone is worried they've picked up an injury during the event.
In 2015, the ISCP had over 25,000 participants taking part in the cool down area at the end of the event. Many of those had their own personal stories to reflect on after the race. During her calf massage, one runner told her story for wanting to raise money for her chosen charity, the Irish Heart Foundation. One of her best friends, a young mother of 3, had just had her youngest child 3 months prior to the race. After giving birth, the participant’s friend suffered a fatal heart attack. The participant ran the race in her friend’s honour and to raise money for the IHF. Stories like these are a great reminder of the true importance an event like the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. They’re the reason the ISCP is so proud be supporting the health and performance of the event’s participants from start line to finish.