Training for a marathon is a steep learning curve, especially if its your first one. One thing that can really ruin the experience is an injury. We are at the prevention stage of your training, so here's a few things that can help to dramatically reduce your risk of getting injured.
Bear in mind 2/3's of running injuries come from training or lifestyle factors, so small changes that you make can really have a big impact.
A. Sleep - people who get less than 8 hours sleep per night are 1.7 times more likely to get injured, and will take twice as long to recover from an injury if they do get one.
Read about how you can improve your "sleep hygiene" here:
B. Your mental health can affect your training and your injury risk - anxiety, stress, depression, perfectionism, and mental exhaustion can all cause pain or increase your risk of injury, so it is important to tackle them. www.yourmentalhealth.ie is a good resource for tips on taking care of your mental health.
C. Work life balance - bear in mind how many extra hours you may be running now. This will require planning, and you may need to sacrifice time spent on other things, to avoid burn-out. Many people we see at East Coast Physio are injured because they are just burnt out.
A. Follow the 10% rule
B. Make sure you wear running shoes that are comfortable, and replace them regularly. Many experienced runners recommend rotating between 3/4 pairs of running shoes.
C. Make sure you follow a training plan that is appropriate for your ability.
D. Keep an eye on things like getting cold sores/sore throats, colds or infections - we are immunosuppressed for up to 3 days after a tough training session such as your long run. If you are getting minor illnesses, you may need to adjust your training programme to allow you to recover, or so you are better able for it. Also keep on eye on whether you are unusually tired after a run.
E. Vary the surface and route that you run on.
A. One of the best things you can do is twice weekly strengthening - this reduces injury risk by 50% and also improves performance. I have posted videos below for some exercises for people starting out. If you are not used to this type of exercise, start off doing 3 sets of each exercise until you feel the muscles tire, twice weekly. More experienced athletes can push for lower repetitions with higher weight.
Many people don't respect this process! You need to sleep, eat and drink well throughout your training.
Foam rolling can help with muscle soreness. Roll each muscle for 30seconds.
Massage can also be very effective. We are currently running a Marathon special of 1 hour sports massage for 50 euro, and we are donating profits to the Wickloow Hospice Foundation. If you're interested you can call 0404-49781, or book online
I stress the point of catching injuries early, as they will have far less impact on your training if you do. If you need to see a Chartered Physio, you can book online at the above link.
Best of luck and enjoy your training!!