So here I am, a self proclaimed lover of running, and I did a silly thing called sign up for a marathon. It wasn't until I did my 20 mile run last weekend that I felt like I was really getting prepared. One thing I have been ultra paranoid about as I ramp up the mileage is preventing injuries.
Here are some tips:
1) Streeeeeetch. Taking a few minutes before and after runs can make a huge difference. If you're pressed for time like me, at least focus on your personal problem areas. Forward seated fold for hamstrings, pigeon pose for the IT band, and calf stretches are some common runner tight spots. Bonus points for doing yoga a couple days a week and, of course, the foam roller is your friend!
|pigeon pose, for the IT band: photo from here|
3) Are you taking it too fast? Doing too much too fast is pretty much the most common way to getting an injury. Plan out your weekly mileage to make sure you're not increasing more than your body is ready for. A good rule of thumb is the 10% rule: Never increase your mileage or intensity by more than 10% per week. Maybe you've been running 10 miles per week and want to increase- the next week, just try 11. If that's fine, the next week try 12. It seems really slow, but your body will thank you for it. I'm finding with my marathon training that I'm having to actually reduce the number of days I run. Normally, I run 2-3 times during the week, and then a long Saturday run of 13-15 miles. My weekly total is between 32-38 miles. For marathon training, my long runs are much higher, between 16-20. In order to keep my legs happy, I'm running twice mid week, plus my long Saturday run, making my weekly mileage total between 36-40. My weekly mileage is just a tad higher, so increasing my fitness level, but not over training and hurting myself. If you do find that you're having some pain...
4) Take off when you need it. Nothing makes me crankier than taking unplanned days off of running. Switching up your workouts with cycling, weight training, or classes at the gym can ease up your achey runner joints. If you're injured more than just what a few days will heal, maybe an extended break is needed.
5) Evaluate shoes or gait. If all of the above isn't working, maybe you need a different or better pair of running shoes. A good running store will have experienced employees who will put you on their in-store treadmill to evaluate your running style and match you to a good shoe. Or, maybe you have issues with your form that's causing you trouble.
|Brooks PureConnect 2: image from here|