How to Avoid Injuries During Marathon Training? What Should You Do?
You just found a marathon training plan and got excited to train for a race coming up in six months. Everything seems perfect for the first three weeks, you feel like your program is too easy, so you decided to increase the mileage.
But then you start to feel sore continuously even in the morning before you haven’t done any training. Then suddenly your soreness turns into pain, you try to train through it, but it gets worse. Finally, you are forced to quit training; you are down with Achilles tendonitis or a stress fracture.
This is a common scenario, especially for beginner marathon runners. So knowing how to avoid injuries during marathon training is crucial to your success.
Injuries can be caused by different things and by preventing these, will help you minimize the chances of getting injured. Below are some simple ways to prevent injuries during marathon training:
How to Avoid and Manage Injuries for Marathon Training
When beginners start training for a half marathon or marathon, they believe the key to success is mileage. However, preventing injuries play an important role in your training as well.
Luckily there are some key areas that you can focus on to prevent injury while preparing to run a marathon.
Warm-up and cool down properly – Make sure you include stretching and foam rolling into your program. Foam rollers are a useful tool to the runner if used properly. Make sure you leave time before and after training to foam roll. This will increase mobility and help release tension from tight muscles.
Increase your training load gradually – It is important when following any type of running plan, no matter the distance, the same principles apply. Make sure you increase volume, speed, and frequency gradually, so you don’t overload the body and prevent recovery from taking place.
Listen to your body – This is easier said than done for most runners. If you feel pain and excessive fatigue it can be a sign that you’re on the way to overtraining. Make sure you include regular recovery days and weeks into your plan. It is also wise to visit a masseuse to help release any tension in the muscles you can’t get to with a foam roller.
Keep an eye on niggles – Niggles are a part of a runner’s lifestyle, but often these niggles become a larger problem. Make sure you allow adequate rest when niggles start to appear. A common mistake is taking an additional rest day in the hope that soreness will pass. Then jumping back into training when it hasn’t fully healed. This often leads to bigger and more serious injuries.
Follow a strength training plan – Often as a runner, we focus more on the running itself rather than how the body is functioning. By following a running-related strength training plan it will ensure the body is functioning as it should. A strength plan will also help improve areas that are important to a runner such as glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, core, and back muscles.
Injury Late in Marathon Training – What Should You do?
It is common for runners to experience injury late in marathon training. This usually happens during the phase where the mileage drops, and they start the transition into speed work.
Transitioning from high mileage running to speed work often places a lot of strain on the body and legs. It then becomes a huge shock to the body, placing more stress on the muscles, tendons, and bones. While you may think the high mileage phase will get you through a speed phase, this is not always the case.
It is still important when doing your base mileage or high mileage phase that you implement some light speed work. Not only does this help keep your leg speed from declining, but it also helps the body adapt to faster running later in your training.
By adding stride out’s to your training it can help prevent injury late in the marathon training.
If you experience injury late in your marathon training, you must allow adequate recovery time. Otherwise, it will end up delaying recovery and put you at risk of missing your marathon altogether.
This can be anywhere from 1 week through to months. So the quicker you allow the injury to heal, the faster you can get back to training or the start line.
While you are stuck on the side line with an injury, there are ways you can still hold your fitness. By cycling swimming or running (depending on your injury) you can hold most of your fitness throughout the injury period.
During this time it is a good opportunity to work on your imbalances that may have caused the injury. You can also replicate your running training to the bike or pool to hold as much fitness as possible.
Is it OK to Miss a Long Run During Marathon Training?
There are times you ask yourself – is it ok to miss a long run during marathon training? It’s a question many new runners tend to run through their minds over and over again.
If you are asking yourself whether it’s ok or not, you are most likely fatigued, sore, or just lacking in time. Either way missing a long run is not the be-all-end-all of your training preparation.
As a coach, I often find that athletes miss on average 1-2 sessions per month. It can be related to stress, fatigue, or time. Often these missed sessions provide extra recovery from the training and can be a blessing in disguise.
If you end up missing some of your long runs during marathon training, don’t stress. Getting in the long-run every week during the marathon training isn’t always the priority. Thinking that way often leads to injury and overtraining. So bear this in mind when you clocking the long runs every Sunday.
So if you miss your next long run, take the time to recover and regroup for the next period of training. And hopefully now you know how to avoid injuries during marathon training.