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Marathon Training Part 2: Injury Prevention

Marathon Training Part 2: Injury Prevention

12Sep

Well done, you are only 6-7 weeks out from the Dublin Marathon. If you have any injuries now is the time to get them addressed, while you still have time to recover and continue with your training. Common injuries that we often see in the clinic leading up to the marathon include:

  • Calf muscle strain or overuse
  • Gluteal tendinopathy
  • Lower back pain
  • Achilles tendon pain
  • Shin splints

To prevent these common complaints, try to remember some of these simple, yet useful pieces of advice:

  1. Training Load- Adjusting your training throughout your marathon preparation will be one of the most important factors in reducing your risk of injury. Literature supports this approach and has shown that the most effective way of reducing injuries in accurate management of your running volume. This means adhering to a gradual increase in mileage during your training. One school of thought recommends limiting any increase in time or mileage to no more than 10% per week to prevent an injury (Krabek et al. 2013).
  2. Stretching and Strengthening- correct and regular stretching aims to help improve flexibility and aids in muscle recovery following your training. Strength training can help muscle imbalances reducing the risk of injuries, it improves neuromuscular coordination and power making you a more efficient runner.
  3. Adequate recovery- In part one of the marathon training series we have on our blog this month, we already discussed how important rest days are. Sticking to your rest days and completing adequate recovery is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent injuries. Allow the body to recover from the stress of the training, which aids in adaptation and making you a stronger runner. Don’t be tempted to squeeze in extra training sessions as you get close to the marathon. Stick to your training plan!
  4. If you have an injury that you are getting treatment for, cross training can be a useful training technique to keep you fit while you address your injury. Cross training describes the practice of performing other exercise aside form your primary form of exercise. For example, cycling, resistance training or swimming for runners. Cross training is thought to be beneficial for injury rehabilitation, improving fitness, promoting recovery, enhancing motivation and rejuvenating the mind during your time away from your formal training schedule.

Aside from musculoskeletal injuries other common complaints experienced by runners during training or the marathon itself include blisters, chafing, cramps and dehydration. Here are some tips to prevent or treat these complaints:

  • Blisters – These can form from too much friction between your feet and shoes. Therefore, it is important to wear your trainers in and allow them to mould to your foot. If you suffer from blisters regularly and have problem areas try using blister plasters or petroleum jelly to reduce friction. Moreover, invest in a pair of running socks for comfort which may help reduce the risk of blisters.
  • Chafing – Chafing may occur between the thighs, under the upper arms or over the nipple. It typically occurs due to friction and can be very uncomfortable. Firstly, try not to wear cotton running gear as cotton soaks up moisture leading to friction. Synthetic fabrics are much better for running in. if you find chafing between your thighs problematic try wearing compression shorts under your running short as they are tight fitting preventing from your skin rubbing. Lubricant is also a useful way of reducing friction in any problem areas.
  • Cramps – Cramps in the leg can cause intense pain as your muscle tightens. Cramps are common with excessive exercise and for runners are most common in the calf muscles. Adequate stretching and replenishment of fluids and electrolytes, that are often lost through sweating during your run will help prevent cramps.
  • Dehydration – During exercise we often lose a lot of water through perspiration. This is our body’s way of regulating temperature and can lead to dehydration if fluids aren’t replaced. Runners must ensure they are sufficiently hydrated before, during and after your run. Correct hydration will maximise your performance. Keep an eye out for a blog later this month on nutritional advice for your marathon training and day of the event.

Pre-empting these issues is easier than trying to resolve them, particularly when you’re on a long run or worse again during the marathon. Proper preparation prevents poor performance!

Contact Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic today if you have a running injury. Don’t allow all your training and great efforts to go to waste now with an injury than can be resolved. You can now book an appointment online, please visit www.ballsbridgephysio.com or phone our clinic on (01) 660 6582 where our receptionist Niki can assist you.

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