Marathon training Injury prevention 11 Dec 2018
Many of you will be starting or have started your following your training plan for the London Marathon and will slowly be ramping up your mileage over the next couple of months. We wanted to offer some advice to help you. There is nothing worse than getting injured to derail a training program.
Don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%.
Your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) often improve quicker than the strength in your legs does. Your mind and lungs will say I feel great and you just add that extra 3 miles on to your long run. This itself may be fine on the day, however look at the rest of your week when you make that decision. What other runs do you have to do and at what intensity. Most distance running injuries are due to microtrauma when gradually loading of muscle, tendon or ligament tissue results in small levels of inflammation that cannot often be felt straight away. Don’t run 10 miles one week and 20 the next! Read more on the 10% rule: https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20781512/the-10-percent-rule/
Keep up your strength and stability training
People often get confused with strength and stability training. Thinking I don’t need to do this, I’m running 4 times a week, my legs are strong enough from that. However, after 60-90 minutes of running, muscle tissue starts to break down. Patients often come into clinic 3-4 weeks before their marathon date, when their weekly mileage (and long runs) start to ramp up and their muscles are in their most weakened state. Paula Radcliffe use to spend a minimum of 2 hours a day on strength training, pylometrics, core training and / or other treatments (see article: https://www.runnersworld.com/advanced/a20842101/paula-radcliffes-journey-from-disappointing-fourth-to-dominant-first/). Her weekly mileage as a professional is obviously much higher than most recreational runners but similar principles should be applied. Book a one off 45 minute running assessment, stability and strength session here. Learn right from the start and save time, money and complete your goals
Your running program is a guide not a rule book
Patients often come in having squeezed sessions in back to back. For example one gentleman did all 4 sessions over consecutive days as he was away for the weekend. Speed, hills, long and finally broke. Missing one session is not the end of the world. Life factors (children, family, work), emotional stress, fun nights out, recovery and sleep are all factors that have to be taken into account in the recreational athlete. It is sometimes good to look at your program and adjust it over a 10 day or 2 week period (instead of a 1 week period), taking into account all of the other factors in your life. For example: Add in short leg strength, pylometrics and stability sessions if time or place restricted. Follow hectic work schedules with slow steady relaxing runs outside to come down and de-stress (heart zone 1-2) as opposed to indoor speed treadmill intervals in the same air conditioned space you’ve spent your whole week! Get to know your body. Figure out when it is emotional tired and when physically tired but remember the 2 can be very much linked. For the effect of emotional stress on fatigue levels in athletes (and loads of other useful stuff read ‘Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson and also look at ‘Sleep’ by Nick Littlehales to increase recovery and prevent the need to train hard at sub-optimal levels. Order locally at: http://welbooks.co.uk/
If you do get injured, come in to see us so we can alter your program and hopefully keep you going whilst your injury recovers.
Address biomechanics early
Subtle changes in your biomechanics and stability often go un-noticed on a day to day basis, however over the repetition of running -distance these minor issues can become major problems leading to shin splints, plantar fasciitis, runners knee, iliotibial band friction syndrome and Achilles tendinitis, to name a few. Don’t get caught out. Get assessed early and start addressing these before you start ramping up your mileage. Book in for a physio assessment for specific exercise that will help you.
Also, do not change your trainers just prior to any race, even if you are buying the same make and model of trainer. Models can change slightly year to year in design but just have the same name. Your foot naturally molds to the trainer and running ‘distance’ in new trainers is a recipe for disaster. Often I will buy new trainers after a ½ marathon or marathon and do gentle short recovery runs in them first. By the time the next race comes up my foot and trainer are at one with each other (I’d like say in a Zen like state, but this is probably pushing it a little).
Don’t get hit by other runners
Remember, as you get fitter and stay injury free, you may pass a lot of runners in your race. Try not to count them out loud as you go by them!
Get assessed early for stability and biomechanics in preparation, be flexible with your program where needed, adhere to the 10% rule and remember, not every niggle is an injury, however, if it persists, gets worse through the run, comes on earlier in every run and starts to ache or throb when not running. We are here to help. Finally, enjoy running.
As Jesse Owens perfectly once said:
‘“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”