By Athlete's Care on July 25, 2014
Marathon season is just around the corner and Athlete’s Care wants to make sure you’re prepared. Word on the tracks is that running injuries are more common than football injuries and runners can make them worse by training. For beginners, it’s easy to get caught up in increasing speed and endurance, and forgetting about important factors such as form and proper technique. That’s why we’ve provided 5 things to keep in mind when you’re training for the big day.
Watch your pace
If you’re just starting to train, make sure that you set realistic goals. This means increasing your mileage in no more than 30% increments weekly and listening to your body. Find a running pose that works for you, there is no one size fits all. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast can lead to burnout or injury so the key is to balance your heavy workout days with lighter ones to give your muscles ample recovery time.
Keep your form in check
You already know that form is important but checking in and running mindfully will keep you at the top of your game. Remember to lead with your hips in order to keep your posture strong. This also helps with keeping your stride at a comfortable length. Engaging your glutes will also help to strengthen your stride.
Add strength training to your routine
One of the most foolproof techniques to avoid injury is to build strength. By adding strength training to your routine, the different muscle groups used for running are more balanced which prevents overuse of any particular muscle. Try incorporating free weights into your gym routine or simply adding workouts that you can do on your own using your body weight such as squats or lunges.
Be mindful of the surfaces you run on
It’s good safety practice to run against the flow of traffic in order to be more aware if you’re running outdoors. However, the problem arises when you only run on the left side of the road because roadways tend to slant inwards and your muscles adapt to the motion. To keep your muscles challenged, change the surfaces you run on every couple of weeks. Asphalt and tracks also differ greatly so every now and then, find a new track or a new route for your run. New terrains and new scenery provide a new challenge and also keep things exciting.
Don’t skip the stretch
Stretching is necessary before and after your run but be sure to not overstretch any one muscle as that can hinder your training. Stretches should include all muscles and joints involved such as your hips, hamstrings, calves, ankles and IT band. Your IT band is the muscle that runs from your hip down to your knee on your sides and can become problematic if not stretched periodically. Side stretches can help stretch it out or you can use a foam roller if you feel that it is getting especially tight.
Sports injuries can keep you on the bench for lengthy periods of time and a preventative visit can help you avoid that. For that reason, don’t just wait post-marathon to treat your body to a massage; try to book a few intermittent appointments with a registered massage therapist to keep your muscles limber and tuned.
By consciously incorporating these tips into your training, you can proactively avoid injuries that can keep you off the track.