Marathon Series: Staying injury free

Unlike last year, this year’s marathon schedule is looking much more like those which we were used to before the pandemic began. Mileage is starting to increase, and in some cases, niggling injuries are starting to set in…

The benefits of listening to your body are often under-emphasised, but you need to be prepared to adapt. You wouldn’t be the first marathon trainee to experience a day where your body just says ‘no’, and this is okay. There is nothing wrong with completing a much easier run instead, or taking the day off completely.

If you do miss a training session or run for any reason, don’t try and play catch up- if you miss a training session don’t add it in at a later date, increasing the volume or intensity during your next session simply won’t work. Don’t skip the missed session, simply pick up from where you last finished.

It may not sound right, but you actually get fitter when you are resting. Training causes microtears in the muscle fibres which are being worked, in order for these to strengthen and for your fitness to improve, the tears need to heal and this cannot happen without rest. The growth hormones which aid this process are released during the deep sleep phase of your sleep.

Especially important as mileage and intensity increases, are regular ‘MOT’ and maintenance sessions with a massage or Sports Therapist. Regular massage and soft tissue manipulation can help to relieve sore muscles and speed up recovery.

Even if you do have regular MOT sessions with a specialist, stretching and foam rolling should be a key part of your preparation and recovery for each of your training sessions/runs. Stretching will help to speed up recovery and re-lengthen your muscles fibres.

The importance of wearing the correct shoes to run cannot be emphasised enough. It isn’t a simple ‘one shoe fits all’. Everyone has different shaped feet, different arch height, different running technique… Running trainers are widely divided into three different categories: stability, performance and minimalist. An experienced and specialist shoe retailer will be able to assess which type of shoe will be best for you.

If you are unfortunate enough to experience pain whilst training don’t ignore it. On average, 66% of people who have to drop out of the final race day are due to injury. If an issue bothers you for more than one run, it is best to get it checked out by a healthcare professional. As tempting as it is to ignore the problem and hope it will solve itself, addressing the cause can prevent a more serious or chronic condition from developing.

Make sure your training is balanced- Include other forms of exercise such as pilates, cross training, and strength training. Pilates can help to develop your core strength and stability, in addition to improving flexibility and joint range of motion. The importance of training the whole body is often overlooked by first time marathon runners. It is not only important to have strong leg muscles, but also a strong and stable core, pelvic region and upper body.

If you would like an extra helping hand getting yourself ready for you upcoming marathon, contact us. This blog post is not designed to replace a complete medical assessment. Should you experience any pain or discomfort stop the activity and consult a healthcare professional.

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