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Introducing Craig Barton and Darren Barnes-Heath: Helping Georgios prepare for the Marathon de Sables

Darren Barnes-Heath, Chiropractor, and Craig Barton, Personal Trainer and Nutritional Advisor, have collaborated with Georgios for over a year now in order to better assist his preparation for the Marathon des Sables. Here’s what they have been doing.



As a chiropractor I aim to improve the way my clients move and how they coordinate their movement, thereby relieving pain and enhancing their efficiency. That was the way Georgios and I collaborated in order to better prepare him for the Marathon des Sables. It was identified at the beginning of Georgios’ training that he had some problems with his running style so I was brought in to help. I found his foot joints were very stiff making the arches in his feet rigid. This caused the muscles in his feet and lower leg to overstrain when he ran placing too much pressure through his knees, creating severe knee pain.

I have regularly been manipulating his foot joints (we have 33 per foot) to maintain flexibility and have been releasing the tension in the foot and lower leg muscles. I also use the low level laser to reduce inflammation and aid muscle recovery. Georgios has been doing exercises I prescribed to improve foot and ankle coordination to help cope with running on uneven surfaces as well as building up strength. This treatment program has allowed him to run greater distances more efficiently as well as resolve injuries as they occur during such a demanding training schedule.



Strength Training: In order to prepare Georgios for the Marathon des Sables I first identified any weak links in his chain to determine what I may need to improve on to optimise his performance. Corrective exercises were then made part of his training schedule to increase flexibility and strength in the necessary areas. I incorporated resistance/weight training twice a week. This was to increase overall body strength, performance and help prevent muscle loss with all the running miles he was going to be putting in. I personally believe weight training is heavily overlooked when wanting to increase endurance event performance and if structured correctly can contribute to increased speed, muscle endurance and delay the onset of fatigue. I advance his training plan every 5 weeks to ensure continual adaptation and improvement occurs. During this time Georgios has gradually built up the miles he is running and has continued to improve cardiovascular fitness and speed.

Nutrition: Due to his heavy training schedule it is crucial he gets the right macro and micronutrients in his diet. Firstly we drastically increased his overall calorie intake focusing mainly on pre and post training nutrition. I ensured that Georgios was getting enough amino acids from protein and carbohydrates around training time to aid quicker recovery. Protein is crucial for the repair and growth of muscle fibres, carbohydrates will replenish lost muscle glycogen whilst also providing the delivery system for amino acids to get into the muscle via insulin.

Supplementation and Lifestyle: Because of the high workload from training and his demanding profession, Georgios’ body is under tremendous strain, and this can take its toll by depleting vital micronutrients and stressing all important systems of his body. If he is not well nourished then this will inevitably lead to ‘burnout’ or extreme fatigue. In order to prevent this I suggested Georgios takes a targeted multi vitamin and nutrient formula as well as to supplement with a high quality fish oil. The multi vitamin and nutrient formula will nourish and support his adrenal glands which are responsible for the stress response and reduction of systemic inflammation, the fish oil is high in omega 3 which has also been shown to reduce inflammation and help aid faster recovery. On top of this I recommend he sleeps a minimum of 8 hours a night (although not always possible because of work).

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