Pre-Marathon checklist: Step 2
So now you have the right shoes, let's talk running. Most first-time marathoners get injured during their training, not on race day. The reason? They do too much, too soon - i.e. they exceed their current body's abilities to tolerate stress and this results in an injury. Your body takes time to adapt to the demands of running and therefore you must increase your load gradually to reduce your chances of developing an injury. 42,195m is a hell of a lot of distance to cover. PLANNING is what keep runners injury-free and race day ready. When it comes to planning your running week there are a few rules which will reduce your risk of injury and set you up for race day success:
- If you don’t prepare, prepare to fail! Plan your run days. A huge risk factor for injury is not having enough rest between sessions. With a 5 day working week it is tempting to cram a lot of kilometres into the weekend when you have more time but this is a recipe for overloading muscles and getting injured. Foreplanning what your week holds run wise is a great way of making sure you get in those vital rest days needed for your muscles to recover and training to continue.
- Limit your long runs and stick to a slow run pace. Long slow runs over long distances are where small niggles can become big problems. Work out a comfortable pace for your long run (a pace you could easily talk at) and maintain this from the start of the run. It is easy to go out too hard too early and really lose pace in the latter 10kms. This isn’t good practice for race day, keeping constant pace will make sure you have the energy to cover the intended distance. I keep my long runs about 5:30 mins/km with my HR averaging around 160.
- Get on top of small niggles early! This is a huge one when covering high mileage and sticking to a distance-oriented training program. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is a generalised next day muscular pain which most of us experience post run at some point. How do you know what pain is to be expected with the mileage and what has the potential for injury? When a niggle is painful from the start of the run is affecting you several hours post run it is definitely worth getting checked out. Pre-empting injuries is the best way of preventing them from completely stopping your training. A consultation with a running-focused health practitioner is a great way of getting your injury concerns addressed and working out a management plan to prevent them from ruining race day.
- Progressive overload. This is possibly the most important factor in injury prevention. Progressive overload is the principle of gradually increasing training load to keep to increase a tissues capacity without injury. Generally, a 10% rule is what works best. This means only increasing volume (distance)/intensity (rate of perceived exertion) by more than 10% per week. Increasing by more than 10% put excessive strain on already fatigued tissue and is a huge risk factor for injury.
An example of my Week 9 training week is as follows:
Monday: Strength training - a combination of body weight and weighted exercises
Tuesday: Rest day
Wednesday: 8 km run (with tempo session)
Thursday: 60 min run easy
Friday: 8 km run (interval/speed work)
Sunday: 30km run easy
Melbourne Marathon website has a Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced program that is a great basic guide to run distances and spacing.
This is general advice and may not be suitable for everyone so for a tailored injury management plan or for more information on injury management and risk factors, pop in and see me at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic.
Tara Bowman is a podiatrist at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic. She is an ambassador at F45 in Essendon and is running the Melbourne Marathon this year.