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How to avoid injuries or manage them during your marathon training

Whether it is your first marathon, or you have been doing them all your life, it is inevitable that you will pick up some form of niggle or injury. Learning to manage them is crucial in ensuring that you get the most from your training and spend less time in the physio room. So, let’s talk about some simple but effective tips to do this.

Warm up/cool down 

This is vital for slowly raising and lowering your heart rate. It also allows time for your muscle to prepare for activity by steadily increasing your blood flow making your muscles more pliable and improve their function. This can be done with a steady increase in your running speed or if indoors, you can use some resistance bands to help activate your muscles.

Get any niggles checked out

Don’t presume that it will go away after a few weeks. The worst thing you can do is be presumptuous and let the pain build up. Go and see a Chartered Physio as soon as you’re aware of any niggles. It may be something simple and get sorted in one session. You invest a lot of time into marathon training and it can be very disheartening to let something build up. As a result, you go from a target time, to aiming to just finish, to deferring your place. Don’t hesitate to get things checked.

Get a biomechanics and strength screening

Like clockwork every year we see people coming in with biomechanical and overuse injuries between the 12-15-mile mark. Most people get away with poor running technique and weakness until this stage. This is a simple one-off appointment that will give you feedback on your running and some easy, helpful exercises to reduce your risk of injury.

It’s okay to ignore the training plan

Training plans tend to be very generic. Everyone adapts to training load and volume differently. It is not mandatory to do 3 runs every week. Listen to your body, if it’s still sore and tight from your last run then take a longer rest. You are better taking extra days off than doing extra mileage when your body is saying no. Rest, recover and avoid injury.

Be selfish 

This is very important. You’re embarking on a difficult task that requires a lot of training. They’re will come a time when your runs get longer in distance. You need to be selfish in your preparation. It’s okay to turn down social events, to plan your day around your runs and to put yourself before others for this short period of training time. If you don’t, you can end up stressed, not sleeping well and cramming which inevitably leads to injury.

Massage

If you are a first-time marathon runner, we strongly recommend this. Even the most diligent of those in training who rest, stretch and rehab can struggle to deal with the increased running load through your legs. Not only can a massage be helpful to decrease tightness and aches in those muscles, but it can also help to decrease stress levels

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