Don’t let overuse injuries dash your marathon dreams:
Many of you will be approaching the peak mileage point in your marathon training schedules. Unfortunately, this is also the time when injury looms large and all your hard work may look set to have been in vain.
This month, the team at Apex Clinic offer some strategies for sidestepping dreaded overuse injuries and top tips for coping with the onset of injury, how to train through it and ultimately reach your goal of running the full 26.2 miles.
Don’t risk it; take action fast against injury:
Many runners bury their heads in the sand at the first sign of injury. They notice a niggle and feel scared that booking an appointment with a physio will somehow spell an end to their marathon dream.
This is absolutely not the case. The earlier you seek treatment for a problem, the more chance we have of getting to the bottom of it and treating the injury at its source, allowing you to continue training before it really threatens to stop you in your tracks. It is entirely possible to train through many musculoskeletal injuries whilst having a course of physio treatment. We recommend you seek help as soon as you feel something is not right. Believe us, your physio should be as committed as you are when it comes to you reaching your goal pain-free!
Sports massage for happy muscles:
Sports or deep soft tissue massage focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue, helping to keep the tissue more supple and flexible. Regular sports massage when your mileage is high will help maintain the health of your muscles by breaking up and clearing scar tissue within them. Pulled or strained muscles may directly result from a build-up of scar tissue within the muscles or tendons. We recommend a once monthly sports massage to keep your muscles in top form.
Stretch it out:
A side effect of increased mileage is that the muscles naturally shorten adding to the risk of injury. We recommend the longer the distance you run, the longer you should spend stretching your leg muscles afterwards. If, for example, you have been performing a static stretch of 20 seconds, 3 times per muscle group following runs in the early part of your schedule, you should try increasing this to performing the same stretch 5 times for each muscle group at the peak of your training. Remember, never warm-up a cold muscle using static stretches as this increases your risk of injury. Do some light cardio work, such as jogging on the spot, to get the blood flow pumping and gradually warm the muscles up before you set off.
You are what you eat:
Paying attention to what you eat is key for minimising injury. Muscles can be more easily damaged when fatigued so you need to pay proper attention to fuelling-up strategies during your long runs. Nutrition is also very important in the recovery of tissues. There is a 30 minute window directly after you finish your long run when your body is very receptive to the carbs, protein and nutrients you replenish it with. Plan ahead and have something ready like energy bars, protein supplements or a shake.
If in doubt, just ask the Physio!
Remember, you can tune in and chat in real-time to the Apex Clinic physio’s about any injury concerns in our Live Injury clinic on NiRunning’s facebook page on the first Thursday of every month at 7pm.