1. Ensure proper shoe wear
Appropriate shoes are a cornerstone of any training regime for an endurance athlete. Improper shoes can lead to chronic pains or injuries throughout the entire lower body kinetic chain, including feet, knees, hips, and lower back. Sometimes the most expensive, coolest, or the ones your friends wear are not going to be ideal for you. Often, you will find your local running store will have treadmills available for gait analysis, and they will be able to recommend the best shoe for your specific needs. Generally, you should replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles. You can imagine if you’re doing 50 miles/week training for a marathon, this may come sooner for you than others.
2. Perform proper warmup and cooldown
Making sure to complete proper warmups and cooldowns will help to avoid injuries while training. I recommend a 5-10 minute warmup and cooldown consisting of activities that promote movement and increase circulation to the lower body. This can be things like jumping rope, stationary bike, or rowing machine combined with dynamic stretching. I prefer to avoid static stretching until after exercising, specifically working on those tight and restricted areas.
3. Take cross-training seriously
Performing the same activity daily without variation can lead to overuse injuries and create muscular imbalances. Incorporating other fitness activities, such as resistance training or yoga, can improve your overall body health and fitness level. It can also help improve your running pace! I recommend implementing these workouts into your routine 2-3 times per week.
4. Allow adequate time to train
Preparing to run 26.2 miles can be a daunting task! The average marathon training plans range from 12 to 20 weeks, depending on your fitness level. Typically increasing mileage by 10% each week is appropriate. However, individuals at a higher fitness level may be able to increase at a faster rate. One of the easiest ways to cause injuries is rushing into a race and not giving yourself enough time to train.
5. Know when to seek medical evaluation
Many times, the types of injuries sustained with endurance training are that of overuse. Occasionally there will be an acute injury, but these are far less common. The problem with these overuse injuries is that many will consider them general aches and pains that come with training and continue to push through the discomfort. Unfortunately, in some situations, this can only make the problem worse, leading to periods of not being able to train, or worse, having to withdraw from the competition altogether! Therefore, it is always a good idea to be evaluated earlier than later to ensure that a more serious issue is not going on and that you are safe to continue training.
If you have any questions or concerns, come be evaluated by our team. We see patients Monday-Friday at our new East Memphis location! Walk-Ins are available, or you can schedule an appointment.
Wesley Owen, M.D.
585 S. Mendenhall Rd.