Marathon Training Injury Prevention

Marathon training injury prevention is quite a large topic. Most of the people usually start training after they have registered for a marathon or a running event, and it is when the event is getting nearer that they start to get worry. Well, one of the goal of training is to make it to the event starting line injury free. You can find in this website that there are several topics that will reduce the chance of getting an injury. The topics consist of stretching, strength training, cross training and the shoes that you are wearing.

Training Errors

Training errors are one of the greatest cause of injuries that prevent runners from reaching their registered events. These particular runners can be categorized into two major groups. The first type adopts the philosophy that “more is better” and builds their mileage too rapidly and thus suffers breakdown or injury. The second group of runners is very inconsistent in their training and misses several workouts in a row, then realize that they are behind in their training, pour on the miles in an effort to catch up. Several of these mistakes are listed below. By training wisely, you can avoid many injuries.


Building Mileage Too Quickly
Many people thinks that in training, “The More the Better”. Well, this has been mention many times in this site. Always follow to the 10% rule. Do not increase your weekly distance by more than 10% or increase the distance of your long run by more than 10% per week. The purpose of this is to build the foundation of the muscles and the running performance. The principle of progression and periodization means gradually preparing the body to handle the stress on the muscles.


Pushing too hard every day in your Training
Is it true that, “the more the better” or “the harder the better”? Pushing yourself too hard isn’t always your friend. Pushing too hard frequently, can lead to overuse injuries like shin splints, stress fractures, and sprains.  If you are doing a long run, hill works speed works or any runs that require you to push yourself very hard. Don’t do 2 hard workouts back to back using the same muscles group. Let’s say if you have do a speed work today, don’t go doing a long run tomorrow. But is it ok to work on different part of your muscles. That means if you if you did some hard work out on your runs, the next day you can do some strength training or cross training, but if you still want to run, an easy run is totally fine.  If you’re new to running, build a foundation to run a marathon


Not Listening to Your Body
The training plan is just there to guide you. The plan is fixed but you can be flexible. It is very important to be as consistent as possible regarding your training, it is important to listen to what your body or legs are communicating to you throughout your training period. If the training mention to run 7 or 8 miles of the few days but your muscles are feeling fatigue, sore or really tight. Take an extra day off and come back the next day stronger. Listen to your body is one of the very important part.


No consistency
Training without consistency can lead to a variety of injuries. By being consistent in the training is very important to your running improvement. It is important that you do not miss several days in a row of your training and jump right back into your training program, noticing that you are behind the training program, then run all at once trying to catch up the distance that you have missed out. Doing so greatly increases your risk of injury, as you must build your mileage gradually.


Injury Prevention Strategies

  • Warning Signs of injury
    Injuries are usually from the ligaments, joints or muscles. There are so many types of injures. If you suspect you may have an injury, stop pushing or stop to run. It does not do any good to continue, it will only slow down the recovery process or make your injury more serious. Depending on the type of injury, but once you get back home ice it or use anti-inflammatory medication immediately. If it is just a minor injury it should recover in a day or 2 with rest. If your injury doesn’t recover after your rest then you should seek for the doctor’s advice that is familiar with running and sports-related injuries.


  • Wear the correct shoes

Training on different terrain require to you to wear different shoes. Wearing the shoes that suit you well plays an important role. All running shoes are made different. The type of shoe you need varies on foot type and style of running you have. Foot type is the structure of your feet pronation. Normal pronation is the inward rolling of your foot in running as your foot strikes the ground and transitions into pushing off. Abnormal pronation can lead to injury.
Wearing the correct running shoes will keep your feet comfortable, stable and free from injury. Taking all these aspects into account is really important, as you do not want shoes that cause injury. In theory you need to purchase a new pair of shoes when the mileage of your shoes reach a maximum of 400 miles (640KM), practically, do you keep track of your total mileage of every pair of shoes you have? If you don’t, then there are some apps (software) out there that you can include the shoe that you are wearing and track the mileage, but if you don’t want to do that then when you feel your shoes are worn out, is time to change a new pair. Use the money to purchase a new pair of shoes instead of using the money to see the doctor for your injuries. For more information see running shoe selection guide



Improve or maintain your flexibility

It is important to stretch before and after your workout or runs but be sure to do the right types of stretching. Stretching daily is important to improve and maintain flexibility, which in turn will help improve performance and prevent injuries. After your workout or runs should not stretch in a hurry. Each stretch should be held in place for at least 20 seconds without bouncing. You should include dynamic stretching like high knee, skipping, heels to glute, arm circles, and cross body arm swings before your workout.


Strength training

Strong muscles around your body is the best defense against injuries. When the body is strong, it will be able to deal with the stress that comes from running. Increased strength will also improve your gait and help to keep it more consistent as you run.

As a runner, strength training will help and it is very important. You do not want to train and build like a body builder but you would want to build the strength of a runner. You want to build more muscles around your legs and strengthen the stabilizing muscles. Plyometric training can be great for runners that are looking to build strength, stability and balance. Additionally, some weightlifting and exercises to strengthen the core will be beneficial.


Strength training exercises should focus on all muscle groups including the core, upper and lower body. Weight training, plyometric and hill running are all effective methods of increasing strength. Focus on improving strength in the offseason and pre-season and maintaining while in season. Strength training improves a runner’s body strength and overall athleticism. This in turn reduces muscular fatigue that leads to poor performance and injuries. Runners will benefit from a program of 2-3 strength training sessions per week.


Cross-Training Activities

Cross-training helps to maintain your aerobic fitness while avoiding excessive impact forces from too much running. Include a rest day in your training schedule allows your body to recover and adapt to a running workout. Have at least one day of rest in a week.


Recovery Techniques

There are several ways you can recover from stressful runs or from the cumulative effects of hard training over a long period of time. Massage is great after a long run, hard race and weeks of hard training. Pouring cold water on fatigued legs immediately after a race or long run is another technique. Soaking your legs in warm water around 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degree Celsius) few hours after a long run oftentimes aids in the recovery of fatigued muscles. Something as simple as taking a walk or going for an easy bike ride a couple hours after a hard workout also can work wonders for tired legs. Be sure to warm up before your runs and cool down after your runs.


Lastly, don’t ignore the pain that you notice consistently in your muscles or joints that doesn’t get better after a rest. Find a sport doctor if it doesn’t get better.


Happy training

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