Three Tips for an Injury-Free Marathon Running Season

Marathon season has arrived! As the Vancouver weather starts to shift, this year’s circuit of various favourite races begin to draw closer.

What are your strategies to keep an injury from holding you back this year?

Today we’ll talk about 3 key tips to stay injury free this running season…

1. Incorporate a proper warm up and cool down

Life is busy for all of us these days. It can be easy to skip the warmup, cool down, or both when trying to sneak in those training miles. Making a goal of setting just 5 minutes aside before and after your run can make all the difference in keeping you pain and injury free.

Think of a warmup and cooldown not just as a method of preventing injury, but also as a method of improving performance and getting closer to those PB’s and record-breaking times! This mindset can help motivate us to set aside that valuable time to keep the body performing optimally.

“How does a warmup help me perform better?”

Warming up increases your heart rate, which improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to the working muscles enhancing their ability to perform. On top of this, communication between the nervous system and muscles is improved, leading to more optimal function. (Mukhopadhyay, K., 2022)

2. Have a plan – Follow a Program

Don’t just wing it! We often take the ability to run for granted. While incredibly beneficial to our health, running can take a toll on the body and deserves a certain level of respect and discipline when doing it regularly, especially if we are training for distances we haven’t done before.

A structured program will ensure you don’t bite off too much, too soon (the number one reason we see people end up in the clinic!). Having a roadmap to follow with graded and safe progressions can help ensure you get to both the start and finish line without any setbacks.

Whether you’re training for your first 5km or 5th full marathon, having a program that suits your needs will allow you to reach your running goals on schedule, without injury.

Here are some resources and programs that we regularly recommend at Alaia:

Mile to Marathon – Vancouver running club offering various coaching programs

Impact Magazine’s Running Issue 2023 – Excellent FREE issue with training plans and advice for runners

Hal Higdon Marathon Training – Half and Marathon Training Programs

3. Get your injuries addressed by a Physiotherapist sooner rather than later.

“I thought the pain would go away on its own…”

We hear this statement a lot. The difficulty with this mentality is, the longer we wait to get something treated, the longer it can take to resolve. As a rule of thumb, if you are having pain that is not improving within 1-2 weeks, getting worse, or interfering with your ability to participate in the things you love to do consider coming in to get things assessed by a Physiotherapist.

Not only can Physiotherapy help resolve the issue before it gets worse, but a Physiotherapist can also make modifications and adaptations to your current workout program and running schedule to minimize time-off and keep your running goals on track. You will also be given strategies and tools to avoid issues in the future.

If you have questions about anything discussed today, are currently struggling with a running injury, or are interested in getting an individualized warmup/cooldown program set up that suits your goals, consider booking with one of our Physiotherapists. We are here to help.

Happy Training!

Troy Clare, Registered Physiotherapist.

References:

Mukhopadhyay, K. (2022). Modern Scientific Innovations in Warming Up and Cool-Down in Sports. J Adv Sport Phys Edu5(7), 166-175.