Every runner knows the searing frustration of a niggling injury undoing months of hard training. But according to City2Surf ambassador and former Sydney Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello, the key to avoiding a race-ending injury is smart training.
“When I was playing rugby league I was pushing a lot of heavy weights and eating a lot of food, but the training I now love to do is explosive, gymnastic stuff,” says Minichiello.
“Training for the City2Surf I need to ensure my feet, ankles and calves are well-prepared, so I’ve been doing a lot of that gymnastic stuff in bare feet, making sure that all those muscles through my feet and ankles are turned on.”
Head down to your local park, unlace your runners, and do this circuit from Minichiello to injury-proof your legs and build granite stability through your lower body.
After each exercise, do a 400m run at race pace (so a complete round will involve three exercises and three 400m runs). “Complete 4-5 rounds in total and you’ll be good to go,” says Minichiello.
- 5-Directional Lunge
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lunge forward with your right leg, lowering until your left knee almost touches the ground. Repeat, lunging forward at a 45-degree angle, then sideways, then back at a 45-degree angle, then straight back. Repeat this sequence on your left leg. “This really makes sure you keep everything even and balanced through your legs,” says Minichiello.
- Planche Hold
Adopt a push-up position, hands directly below your shoulders, then push forward on your toes so that your shoulders move beyond your hands. Hold this position for 45-60 seconds. “You need to make sure your core’s nice and stable,” says Minichiello, “because if you get fatigued during a race, the first muscles to go are all the little stabilisers through your hips and knees. So you need to do exercises that make sure your whole body’s nice and stable.”
- Manna Hold
Lying on your back, push up into an inverted “bridge position”, hands directly below your shoulders, feet below your knees. Hold for 45-60 seconds. “You need to make sure you’re balancing your exercises,” says Minichiello. “So if you’re doing a push movement like the planche that hits your chest and core, always pair it with a pull movement like the manna that hits your hammies, glutes and lower back.”
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