Marathon Training and Running Injury Treatment

Marathon runnersRunning a Marathon whether it's The Virgin London Marathon, Brighton Marathon or one of many others is a great experience and a brilliant way to raise money for charity. However the training is exceedingly demanding on your body. Running Injuries are common, you may even be reading this and be suffering with a problem, aches, pain, niggle or injury that are interfering with your progress now.  

Types of Running Injury  

Generally we see two types of injury: injuries that result from trauma, for example a trip or fall off the pavement during training run and overuse injuries, which are the result of repetitive burden on a tissue. Every time you run, micro traumas occur which build up over time and eventually lead to injury, for instance a muscular tendon inflammation or Tendonitis.  

Overuse injuries can be further sub-categorised into either innate or acquired. Innate or intrinsic factors are those that the individual physically possess’. These can include muscle imbalances, lack of flexibility (hypo mobility), too much flexibility (hypermobility), the individuals body structure and size, biomechanical factors such as leg length difference, fallen arches or flat feet, excessive inward roll of the feet (over pronation) amongst other abnormalities in gait or walking/running style. An acquired or extrinsic injury is caused by external influences which may result in running injuries including:

  • Most commonly, errors in training, i.e. overtraining by increasing distance or intensity too fast, too soon or inadequate rest & recovery period between training runs.
  • Unsuitable footwear or old and worn-out running shoes.
  • Spending all your time road running in the same direction on a cambered / uneven pavement surface repetitively – in recent year’s snow and icy pavements have not helped.
  • Weather conditions (Either too hot or cold).
  • Returning to running from injury too soon or inadequate rehabilitation.  

Practical Running Advice  

Warm-up routines are crucial, especially if the weather is colder, not allowing the blood to get pumping and the muscles warmed up can increase your risk of muscle injury or tendon damage. Conversely at the other extreme if it is too hot and you are not adequately hydrated, injuries can result from heat exhaustion or dehydration.  

As a runner you can do a lot to identify potential problems and take action to avoid them. To prevent extrinsic issues causing injury as described above you can help yourself by:  

  • Replacing your running trainers after around 500 miles / 800km.
  • Vary your running terrain often  throughout your programme i.e. run off-road as well as on the pavement.
  • Gradually build your running distances at a steady pace and be sure to have rest days from training.
  • If it’s cold – layer up. Base layer, mid layer and outer layer, so you keep warm, you can always remove a layer if you are too hot.
  • Lastly but most importantly, keep well hydrated.  

Running Injury Advice  

If you do suffer an injury, stop. Do not ignore aches, pain or niggles – they are likely to lead to a more serious problem later on. Be sure to get checked out by a sports injury specialist. Chart Clinic works regularly with marathon runners, every year we provide expert treatment and advice for running injuries. Common running injuries we see are, ITB Syndrome, Plantar Fasciitis, Hamstring Strains, Knee Injuries, Patellollofemoral Pain Syndrome, Runners knee, Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome / Perisotitis), Calf and/or, Achilles Tendon strain / Tendonopathy, Hip Bursitis, Piriformis Syndrome, Sacroiliac Joint Strain.  

Although there are many injuries, no two runners are the same that’s why at Chart Clinic we carefully examine each individual to enable us to make a precise diagnosis and help you rehabilitate your injury. Our treatment approach involves Osteopathic manual therapy including joint mobilisation and manipulation, soft tissue therapy (massage, soft tissue release, neuromuscular techniques, ischemic pressure and dry needling acupuncture to treat trigger points, Muscle Energy Techniques / MET), cryotherapy, heat therapy, taping, ultrasound. In addition to these techniques we also will advise you on the most appropriate exercises for your condition to correct muscle imbalances, general advice and a bespoke exercise programme of stretching and strengthening exercises.  

If you are a first time marathon runner, and you have never attempted such a distance, hats off to you! But please remember as the big day draws closer don’t over do it with your training. If you treat your body sensibly and don’t over train you are less likely to aggravate an overuse injury which might stop you participating in the race altogether.

Sports & Remedial Massage Therapy  

Regular massage will help you to maintain your muscle tissue in peak condition, making sure that it receives adequate nutrition via unimpeded blood flow and circulation, keeping your body in optimum physical and mental form.  

The Benefits to Runners…  

The following benefits of Sports Massage are why so many runners and athletes build a treatment session into their regular training programme

  • Regular massage promotes healthy muscles fibres, encouraging circulation of blood. Deep tissue massage releases tension’s within muscular tissues, allowing fresh oxygen and other nutrients to flow freely and enable a rapid recovery from training runs.
  • Your lymphatic system (the body’s drainage network) relies heavily on physical movement and pumping to help drain lymphatic fluid and toxins out of your body. The heart has minimal impact on pumping this fluid so a deep sports massage not only relaxes the contracted and shortened muscles, it will aid the drainage that helps muscular repair and recovery.
  • Previous Injury? It is likely that you will have a build up of scar tissue. Recurrent massage treatment is a useful measure to help target and break down scar tissue at these old injury sites, creating a positive affect in the performance of the muscles, helping you train with more flexibility and less restriction.
  • Massage promotes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural ‘pain killers’. This boosts your mental state, calms any anxieties as well as reducing post run muscular soreness.
  • As well as treatment Chart Clinic therapists are trained to recognise imbalances within the body and give you practical advice, exercises and stretches to help you maintain and improve your muscular and joint condition.

When should I have a sports massage when training for a marathon?  

To complement marathon training some runners prefer to schedule a massage on a lighter training day to allow their therapist to work deep into the muscles and letting your body recover in time for a longer run, others like to have a massage before their long run to invigorate and prepare and some schedule their treatment the day after to stimulate recovery. It is especially important to up your sports massage treatments as the mileage increases, in the last 6- 8 weeks we see our runners on a weekly basis.  

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