Don’t run the risk of injury while training for a marathon:
With this year’s annual Belfast Marathon event only a matter of days away, whether you’re an experienced runner taking part in the full 26.2 miles, or participating as part of a relay team, Apex Clinic, Belfast share their top tips to protect yourself from injury while training.
On the surface:
Although Belfast Marathon is a road running event, it’s important to vary your running surfaces during training to minimise your risk of injury. Training on a variety of softer surfaces is essential, as our shoes will only absorb some of the shock of running, meaning the rest is transferred through the rest of our body, so that our bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments take the pressure.
At Apex Clinic, we always recommend runners vary their running surfaces, to include grass, woodland trails, sand or treadmill. Doing this will reduce the risk of overuse injuries during your training and will also reduce your chances of developing early arthritis in your knees, hips and lower back, which in turn will prolong your running life.
Don’t ignore the first sign of injury. Many runners panic at the thought of seeking help but this doesn’t always mean bad news and an end to your marathon dreams. The earlier you seek help for an injury, even if it’s just a niggle, the greater the chance that your physio can
allow you to train through it, while receiving treatment and get it cleared quickly before the marathon event.
Stretch it out:
A common side effect of long distance running is the tightening of muscles, which in turn, increases the risk of injury. As a rule of thumb, the longer the distances covered, the more time should be spent stretching muscles post-run and holding each stretch for 20 seconds or more. Furthermore, before you set off it is essential to warm up, as running with cold muscles increases the risk of injury. A fantastic warm up is jogging on the spot, to gradually waken up muscles and get blood flowing before you begin.
Watch what you eat:
Nutrition is key when it comes to running. Avoid damaged muscles as a result of fatigue by paying attention to what you eat to fuel your run. Carbohydrates are the cornerstone of nutrition during training as they’re your body’s preferred source of fuel, such as wholegrain bread, wholegrain pasta, brown rice and quinoa. Don’t forget to keep well hydrated, by drinking water little and often. Good nutrition post-run is also invaluable as during the 30 minutes following your run, your body is particularly receptive to protein and carbohydrates, so have an energy bar, protein supplement or shake ready for when you finish.
Keep muscles in tip-top shape with sports massage:
To maintain the health of your muscles, regular sports massage during training will break up and clear scar tissue within them and prevent the risk of a muscular strain. Sports massage works effectively by focusing on the deeper layers of muscle tissue to ensure it is kept supple and maintains its flexibility.
It is highly recommended to have a sports massage three to five days before a big run, so book your appointment for a few days before the marathon. At Apex Clinic, one of our experienced team would be delighted to see you for a sports massage or go to a local sports massage therapist.
While these pointers may be useful as general guidelines, it’s always advisable to seek a professional opinion if any pains are creeping on. It’s better to treat and beat injuries than be stopped in your tracks.
GOOD LUCK with your training from the team at Apex Clinic.