Many of you may have signed up to a marathon/ half-marathon this year. Maybe you have a few questions? We would like to help your marathon season go a little smoother and injury free. Did you know the number one reason for non starters is injury? With it accounting for 42% of cases. Also did you know novices are 2.5 times more likely to sustain an injury then a regular conditioned runner? So here are a few things we think will be beneficial for you to consider leading up to your event.
To reduce the chance of injury and increase the benefits from participating in a marathon it is important for you to consider these aspects.
– PLAN: How much time do you have? Do you have a plan? What is your goal?
– TRAINING: What type of training? Have you considered your technique?
– RECOVERY: Do you know how much recovery you need?
– NUTRITION: Do you have the right fuel to enable you to train?
– EQUIPTMENT: Do you have suitable footwear to reduce the chance of injury?
The internet can be a great source for information on running, but can also be very confusing with so many peoples different ideas. It is worth remembering that every runner is different and you need to find what works for you. We will hopefully highlight key areas of the puzzle you need to focus on, which when put together will help you to achieve your goal and continue running further.
Time available and your Plan
Firstly when is your event, get it in your calendar so you can work out how long you have to prepare and then find a training plan to match? It is important to be realistic with the amount of time you have available for training. Your training should gradually increase, leaving appropriate time to recover between sessions. We normally see patients around 4-6 weeks before the event when they have tried to build up the mileage to quickly and done to much to soon, resulted in injury.
There are many sites and forums with run training plans and it is worth looking at a few such as runners world and training plan ideas, to see what other people do, and find a plan that is right for you. Especially if you are juggling your training around family and work commitments. Most people forget that it is just as important to have recovery time/days as it is to train. Without time to recover your body will become increasingly fatigued, this then reducing the benefits of training and increasing the chance of injury and illness. We will discuss recovery shortly, but make sure you factor this time into your training plan.
People often think the only way they will improve their running is to run further and faster, and they can only do their race if they have done that ‘big’ run before hand.Training isn’t just about how many miles you run or running faster each time you go out. A common mistake is believing that you need to train at race pace. Doing these things often result in injury as you overload the body. So combining different types of training and exercise can increase your all round strength and reduce the chance of you becoming injured. Also if you just run, or hit the pavements session after session it can become tedious. What is your favourite type of training, can you incorporate what you find most enjoyable into your plan! Types of training include;Interval Training:– Examples: Sprint drills either as a separate session or during a longer run. Hill sprints and running up steps can also be challenging – Benefits: Boosts anaerobic threshold, which basically means you train your body to run faster for longer before getting tired. A bit like a Duracell battery verses a cheaper battery High Intensity Interval Training (HITT):– Examples: Body weight exercises such as squats, press ups, mountain climbers and star jumps or run/bike/rowing sprints in the gym performed for 30-45 seconds with a 15 second rest.- Benefits: HIIT training continues to burn energy after training, research suggests from 24-72 hours after. It helps to improve aerobic endurance just as efficiently as a steady state run, but in a fraction of the time, Therefore this can be a very time effective way of training. Running Specific Conditioning: -Examples: plyometric drills, Strength exercises for run specific muscle groups such as crab walks or bridges, and Single leg balance exercises including the running man and single leg squats– Benefits: Conditioning focusing on functional exercises to strengthen and mobilise your body specific to running, designed to help improve running technique and reduce injury.
Flexibility: You could use yoga or Pilates to help you with this. They focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing.
Strength Training: Weight training
Other Sports: Cycling, walking, swimming
Getting regular massage can help most people to improve tissue elasticity and reduce tightness that builds up in the muscle from regular training. This helps to reduce pain and injury risk as well as increase recovery time. Most people forget that it is just as important to have recovery time/days as it is to train. Without time to recover your body will become increasingly fatigued, this then reducing the benefits of training and increasing the chance of injury and illness.
Self Myofascial release such as foam rolling or using a massage ball, help you to recover faster by improving tissue quality. They do this by aiding the removal of toxins after exercise and increasing the blood circulation to the muscles. While doing so also increases mobility and flexibility of the muscles, which can help with reducing the chance of injury. It is like a self massage tool that you can do when you want and take away with you.
Stretching, static and dynamic stretching. Static stretching before running can actually decrease performance, but regular dynamic or static stretching after running can help. Some people like to use classes such as yoga and Pilates to increase flexibility.
Part of recovery is looking at the food you eat after your session. You have a 20 minuet window after your session to get the nutrients required for your body to absorb and replenish your energy stores. We will touch more on this in Nutrition.
Fuelling before, during and after training is all equally important, to ensure you get the best out of yourself in training and ready for the next session.
Ensure you are getting high quality foods (not processed).
Luckily running is free and you do not require a lot of equipment. But a good, well fitting, comfortable pair of trainers is important. You don’t want all your hard work being ruined by sore feet! People often ask what type of trainers they should wear, and it isn’t always a straight forward answer. It does matter to find the right shoe for your running technique, and midcourt runners require much lower profile trainers than a heel striker.
Recent research has failed to show much difference between anti pronating trainers against neutral trainers. Adding to much support to your trainers can actually make you more at risk to injury, and running shop treadmills don’t always tell you the full story.
I always say find a pair of trainers which are going to provide you with comfort for the entire run, they need to be well fitted so your feet aren’t sliding about inside the shoe but not too tight your toes are squashed. This might mean trying a selection of different trainers to get the ones which are right for you, but it will be worth while and make your running much more enjoyable. They do not have to cost the earth and if you are unsure what type of running style you have they get someone trained in running assessment to check you out. What ever you are doing comfort is key!