Training Support -- Avoiding Injury

Avoid injury

As with any exercises it is really important to follow a warm up and cool down routine, to prepare your body before exercise and to help you to recover after.

A vast majority of injuries we see could have been avoided simply by paying attention to training methods and doing some simple stretches to aid flexibility.

Half Marathon Training: Tips to Avoid Injury

Chart Clinic, Running Injury Osteopath, James Clapham explains more below:

Training for a running event, a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon is a fantastic way to get healthy, soak up the amazing race day atmosphere and a brilliant way to raise money for charity. However due to the repetitive nature of running, the training is exceedingly demanding on your body.

It is the work that you put into looking after your body now that makes the difference not only on race day but getting you there injury free in the first place!

Needing just a comfortable pair of running shoes, running is very accessible which makes this amazing sport so popular, but like with any form of exercise without proper advice on stretches, exercises, training or proper treatment and care, runners are at risk of developing an injury. Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned marathon runner, your body could develop an injury that may prevent you from reaching the start, let alone crossing the finish line.

Running Injuries are common, you may even be reading this and are suffering with a problem now, aches, pains, niggles or an injury that is interfering with your progress. Below  are our top tips to help you when training for your half marathon.

Avoid training error

As many as 85% of all running related injuries are caused by training error, as are the majority of running injuries we see at Chart Clinic. By following a few easy steps you can avoid these errors. Increase your amount of training gradually. It is generally advised to keep this to a 10% increase per week. Train using a mixture of intensities, an 80:20 split is sensible, 80% low intensity running to 20% of high intensity running (i.e. hill/speed work). Keep your long slow runs at an easy and steady pace, this type of run is about developing your endurance and putting miles into your legs, not the speed at which you run. Employ an incremental increase in your training then decrease a little, put into practice by running increasing distances for three weeks and then in the fourth week decrease your mileage by 10%.

Plan your training

Plan your training week, identify what you want to achieve in each run and stick to it, this adds variety and you won’t over do it. For example, avoid finishing your long run with some sprints; these should be completed on separate days. It also pays to have a little flexibility, if you are running a planned 10 miles but after 7 miles you develop a niggle in your knee, stop running. It is ok to listen to what your body wants to do rather than running through discomfort to keep to a regimented plan. Allow yourself to aim to run 8-10 miles rather than a straight 10.

Use a combination of training methods

Consider swapping one of your weekly runs for strength and conditioning session. Strength, balance and flexibility all play an important role in decreasing running injuries and can even boost your running performance. Research has shown as many as half of all injuries in runners can decrease by following a simple strength and conditioning programme.

Running shoes and gear

There has been a lot of discussion about the recent trend in minimalist footwear and forefoot running, suggesting that this is the way forward. In general, most people naturally heel strike as opposed to land on their forefoot. We see it with injuries that present at Chart Clinic, there is a higher injury risk by adopting a drastically different running style. To learn the forefoot technique safely takes months of practice, and training guidance or coaching is advisable. The most important thing to remember with regard to running shoe advice is buy the pair of running shoes that is the most comfortable for you to run in. Check with your local running shoe shop if you can have a go running in them (perhaps on a treadmill) before you buy.

Nutrition

It has been scientifically proven that fuelling your body (muscles and digestive organs) before you train or run in an event is very important. Aim to consume around 250-300 calories about 1-1.5 hours before you run. Eating any closer may cause cramp and not eating enough may lead to you lacking in energy. During longer runs try to get 100 calories onboard after the first hour and around another 100 calories every 45 minutes subsequent to that.

Staying Hydrated

Taking on enough fluid is vital, 2 hours before you run try to drink about 500ml water, and then immediately before you set off another 150ml. During your run aim to drink 150-200ml, every 20 minutes or so. By avoiding big gulps you minimise the fluid in your stomach, a full stomach can be awful whilst running, so drink little and often.

Just by taking those few simple steps you can dramatically reduce your injury risk. Good luck with your training and if you have any problems, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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