You probably know someone who likes to run marathons, or maybe you like to run them yourself. If you’ve ever trained for a marathon before, then I’m sure you understand how mentally and physically challenging it can be. It’s no secret that preparing for a marathon is no easy feat. Even professionals can struggle with it, and they’ve been preparing since they were youngsters.
Our physical therapists over at Desert Edge PT have seen many people crushed by their goals of running through the finish line. We want to help you lessen the risk of injury by being proactive about your health and listening to your body. As experts in the field of physical therapy, we are here to help our patients move freely and painlessly.
We can say with confidence that running nonstop for 26.2 miles is a challenge for most people. Some take that challenge and conquer it with strict training and diet regimes. They become so passionate about achieving their goal of running through the finish line that they will do whatever it takes to get there. For some, it is truly worth the painful sacrifices that they make.
Injury prevention during training is one of the most important aspects of the whole preparation period. One wrong move and your dream might end in a second, or you’ll have to wait for another year. While the injury is always a possibility, it is preventable if the right precautions are taken ahead of time.
Some of these can turn into serious conditions, so it’s important to pay attention to any symptoms that show up. Ignoring the injury could result in complications down the road. It’s ok to take a break if you need one.
The most important thing you can do is listen to your body. When you respect what your body is asking you for, you are unlocking the door to a whole new perspective. Many of us, regardless of what we do, tire ourselves out and don’t give ourselves enough time to properly rest and recover. Take these necessary precautions and you just might finish that race in due time!
Not giving yourself an appropriate amount of time to prepare for the race is one of the leading causes of injury. If you rush yourself and try to cram all of your training into a couple of weeks, you may be putting yourself at higher risk. Most marathon training lasts anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks. In some cases, that’s almost half of a calendar year. If you’re a beginner it’s smart to plan for a longer training period so you can start at a lower intensity.
Don’t skimp out on this one. Good quality running shoes may be a bit more expensive, but they’re worth the money. Properly fitting sneakers are crucial for longevity and preventing injury. You can get fittings done through physical therapy or specialized running stores.
Your body needs time to adapt to higher intensity runs. It cannot go from 1 mile to 26.2 miles in the span of one week. Pushing yourself too hard too soon may result in injury and prolong your training time. Start with a base mileage and slowly work your way up to more. A general rule of thumb would be to increase weekly mileage by about 10% each week of training. The same goes for the opposite. Don’t increase the distance too slowly or you may not be prepared in time.
Warming up is an essential part of peak performance and injury prevention. Your body needs to be prepared for the high-intensity activity that’s about to take place. The more time you spend warming up, the more prepared your body will be for your run. After the run, it’s important to cool down, slow your heart rate, and take an opportunity to stretch. These two steps are necessary when training for any discipline or sport.
Having a physical therapist to touch base with can be really supportive through the training process. A physical therapist can advise you on the proper running form and training methods. They will work with you to prevent injuries and can also come up with a treatment plan if an injury does occur. A physical therapist can help you improve the mobility of the weakened area and can help you manage any pain caused by the injury. A physical therapist can be one of your biggest supporters during this period!
Your muscles need to sustain you while you’re running those 26.2 miles. Strengthening other parts of your body will help support you and prevent injury. You’ll want to focus on your core, hips, and glutes as well. This extra strength will help keep you stabilized and injury-free during your run.
A healthy diet is crucial for a healthy body and consistent energy levels. It will also help you prevent injuries. Your body needs nutrients to be able to perform at its best. You’ll want to avoid processed foods and focus on including healthy fats and protein in your diet, as well as staying properly hydrated. All of this will give you the energy you need to make it through the finish line.
As important as it is to stick to your training schedule, it’s equally important to include time to rest. Any professional athlete will tell you that proper rest is necessary for the health of your physical and mental state. This piece of advice goes hand in hand with listening to your body. Your body will let you know when it’s overworked and in need of rest. Overdoing the training and not allowing enough time for rest will most likely lead to exhaustion. Take a day or two and allow your body to recover. Your body likes to be relaxed as much as it loves to be on the move. Listen to it!
Keep all of this advice in mind if you want to rock your next marathon and cross the finish line feeling like a champion!
If you’re preparing yourself for the marathon, a visit to our founder and owner Mike won’t hurt. It’ll make a tremendous difference in how prepared you feel for the race. Visit Desert Edge Physical Therapy and receive the physical care you deserve. With over 13 years of experience in physical therapy, our team of experts will find a way to improve your life and help you cross that finish line without a problem! Call us now and set yourself up for success.