In an ideal world every step would be pain free and you stay injury free throughout your marathon training plan. However, aches and twinges are inevitable. The reality is that at one point during your training you will deal with a slight disturbance.
What causes injuries?
The majority of injuries are caused by overuse of certain muscles and sudden changes in the amount of training you are doing. Whether you are a newbie to running or a seasoned veteran of long runs there is a still a good chance you will get injured when training for a marathon.
The reality is that many runners can suffer from a range of mild injuries including: tender foot, a tight hamstring or a whiney knee. While these are nagging issues, often they are not serious enough to go to your doctor for treatment for. However, they do require you to ease off your training, reducing your mileage and intensity of your runs. By not taking this time you are at risk of making the injury more severe. Which would require treatment and a period of time not training.
How to reduce your chances of becoming injured
There is a fine line between pushing through the miles when you have a slight discomfort and pushing your luck. Only you can make that decision. To minimize the aches and pains of running consider these general tips to keep yourself on your feet.
Stick to the 10% rule: Upping your mileage by too much is one of the main reasons for injuries. To keep injuries at bay don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% each week.
Remember to warm up & cool down: Easing your body in and out of work will help keep injuries at bay.
Check your running form: Poor running form can not only hinder your performance but also lead to injuries, in particular shin splints and back pain. Imbalances in your running form can lead to issues later. It is therefore best to address these as early as possible.
Invest in new running shoes: Running shoes are built to last for around 600 miles so try and keep track of how many miles your running shoes have done and when you need to replace them. It is also advisable to head to a running store for a gait test, which will discover what is the best type of running shoe for you.
Supplement your running with strength training: Don’t cancel the gym membership and throw out the weights. Lifting weights helps your bones, muscles and ligaments endure all the pounding they suffer from when running.
Take a day off: Know your limits when training. Take your recovery days as seriously as your training days. Your body deserves a rest!