How to prepare for a marathon
The end of Summer marks a plethora of fun runs, competitions and events. Whether you're a seasoned runner or preparing for your first marathon, there are some important things to consider to protect yourself from injury and make it to that finish line.
Risk factors for running injuries
Factors increasing the risk for running injuries are separated into several categories: running/training, health and lifestyle, and strength factors.
Running and training
The most common running injuries result from overuse. Studies show that training more than six times and running between 50-60 km per week increases the risk of injury.
Injuries are also more common for those people who participate in more than six organised running events in a year. Running less than 40 km across one to three sessions per week decreases the risk of injury.
Other things to consider are running technique, shoe choice and running surface.
Health and lifestyle
Unfortunately, once you have sustained a running injury and this has lasted for more than one month you are greater risk of getting another one. Hence it is important to get onto those niggles quickly to get complete resolution of your pain.
Two muscle groups important for shock absorption and controlled running are the calf and hips. For injury prevention, aim for 25 single leg calf raises, 25 single leg bridges and 22 single leg squats - all with great control.
What can I do to prevent running injuries?
Now before you put your runners away - it's not all doom and gloom! All of these risk factors can be easily addressed to prevent injury and allow one to continue running.
Finding the right training load for you
Finding the right balance for frequency and intensity of training is vital. This balance depends on your running goals. Training for a leisurely 5km run has different requirements to marathon preparation. However, it is always best to avoid too much, too soon. Plan on no more than a 10 per cent increase in intensity and distance every couple of weeks.
Strengthening the core and leg muscles helps reduce the likelihood of injury. Integrating Clinical Pilates into your training regimen is effective at improving lumbopelvic muscle strength and control.
To keep running happily try out these prevention strategies and if you do develop any niggles or signs of injury seek timely treatment.