Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the popularity of marathon running. It is not considered to be a dangerous sport which is why we rank it with our group 2 moderate-risk sports, but injury incidence rates remain high due to inexperience when it comes to training. For those new to marathon running, a graduated training programme will greatly decrease the risk of both injury and its financial repercussions.
Know your limits – don’t do too much, too soon, too fast!
The body needs time to adapt from training changes and jumps in mileage or intensity. Muscles and joints need recovery time so they can handle more training demands. Don’t rush the process.
Increase weekly running totals gradually. A 10% increase each week can a general guideline.
Listen to your body
If you don’t run through the pain, you can nip injuries in the bud.
Shorten your stride
Studies report that runners who shorten their stride by 10% could reduce risk of tibial stress fracture by 3-6%. Shorter strides mean softer footfall which incurs lower impact forces
Muscle keeps your body properly aligned. Strengthening the hips increases leg stability all the way down to the ankle.
Protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation! These measures can relieve pain, protect damaged tissues and reduce swelling to speed healing.
Limit Racing and Speedwork
Researchers have found correlation between injuries and frequent race efforts. Speedwork intervals also require a near-maximal effort. It is important to match maximal effort with sufficient rest.
Stretch Stretch Stretch
Runners should try to increase flexibility in the predictable, tight areas. The hamstrings and calf muscles at the back of the legs are crucial, and flexibility here can improve knee function.
Most runners benefit from at least one non-running day a week. Injury-prone runners should avoid consecutive days of running and cross-training offers a great alternative.