5 ways to avoid injury when training for a marathon

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The inconvenience of having to nurse a sport injury when you are meant to be on top form can be incredibly frustrating. 

With the Comrades marathon just around the corner, many novice and even experienced runners are looking at ways to decrease their risk of injury. 

Read: Cryotherapy for improved healing and sports performance

New runners who are training for their first marathon have a relatively high risk of injury, according to a 2014 study. The journal Plos One published a study which found that 25 percent of beginner runners got hurt after approximately 37 kilometres when training. 

The most common injuries include knee problems, shin splints, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendon issues.

5 ways to help avoid sport injuries while training:

1. Stretch, stretch, stretch

Don't underestimate the power of stretching well prior and after your run. Start your running session with a brisk walk. Follow the walk with stretching, for example: leg and arm swings, walking lunges, knee highs, butt kicks and ankle circles.  

2. Listen up, your body is speaking to you

Your body is very likely going to suffer some aches and pains after running, but be aware of any persistent aches that don’t subside. Follow up on these persistent aches.

3. Prioritise self-massage

Massage is a great recovery tool but it might not be very practical to go for a massage every week. A great alternative is regular foam rolling. 

Read: 8 recovery techniques the Springboks use to prevent injuries

4. Take the time to find the right shoe 

There are methods to help you identify what type of arch your foot has, whether you have a high arch or more of a flat foot. Once you know this, you can start trying on the correct running shoes for your foot. 

One of these methods is the "wet test" – you wet the sole of your foot, press your foot hard onto a piece of paper, and the imprint will show you what type of arch you have.

5. Marathon runners may benefit from buying two pairs of running shoes

When you find the perfect shoe it is very likely that you won’t find that exact shoe when you next go to purchase a running shoe. The fit of your running shoes is very important and can play a major role in preventing injuries.

If possible, buy an identical second pair of running shoes. Alternate the pairs, which will double your period of hassle free running. 

For any further questions please ask our biokinetics expert, Dr Habib Noorbhai.

Read More:

5 tips for reducing sports-related joint injuries

How cheap surgical tape can prevent running blisters

Learn how to run

References:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-train-for-a-road-race-without-getting-injured_us_5723a808e4b0b49df6ab3fd3?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living  
http://share.upmc.com/2015/07/prevent-3-common-running-injuries/ 
http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sports-specific/running-injuries
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0099877 
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