5 Considerations when preparing for your first marathon
It’s January. Time for some self-reflection and promises to be a better person this year. Part of that for many is being fitter. What better way than to sign up for a marathon. Your first marathon. Fantastic. Here are some top tips from the Physios here at PMC Physiotherapy to help you enjoy the training, stay injury free and allow you reach the finish line.
1. Start training NOW.
Don’t wait until February, or March, or April. Start now. The longer you have to train for this, the gentler the buildup in mileage (and you will have to build mileage), the longer the tendons, bones, ligaments, muscles and joints in your body will have to adapt to the increase in running. One of the most common reasons for simple injuries in runners is when they build up their mileage or intensity too quick. Our bodies aren’t used to this and then become sore. Our bodies are great at adapting to new stimulus, but we need to give them time to do this. This is especially true if you are a novice runner.
2. Proactive approach –it’s not all about running
Getting out for your runs is of primary importance here, buts let’s not forget about the stuff that will help prevent any injuries before they happen. Stretching, Foam rolling, strength training, joint mobility. All of these may be important in injury prevention and performance. Section off time each week to do some of this. The amount of each will differ from person to person. This is not the sexy stuff but if done consistently can really help prevent injury. Another important part of a proactive approach to injury prevention is making sure you have good, comfortable, well-fitting running shoes. Investment is important here.
3. Volume before pace. Slow runs are slow
This is especially true if you are new to running. The tendency sometimes is to do a few easy runs, start feeling good about ourselves, get impatient at the pace of the run and then start to try push the pace. Six weeks later you are injured, stop running and struggle to get started again. Slowly build your weekly volume of running over 3 months. This will allow your body adapt to the stress of the run. You have then earned the right and the fitness to start some paced runs. Intervals, Tempos, Hills. Once you start into faster sessions, your slow, recovery runs need to be exactly that. Slow.
4. Don’t let niggles fester / don’t run through an injury / cross train
It is important to try to maintain consistency in running, to allow you to slowly get fitter. However, that is not to say you should run through pain. If you have a niggle, attend to it. Most of the time it will be exactly that, a niggle. Increase your strength training, do a bit more stretching and it will probably settle. While you are letting things settle, keep training going by reducing your weekly running mileage and replace lost miles with cross training such as cycling, swimming or X trainer. If a niggle persists more than a week, get it seen to and sorted quickly.
5. Skin care
Again, one of the most common issues with long distance running is skincare. Blisters might seem like a small issue but they can be very painful and can stop you training. Equally, chafing between your thighs, under your arm or across your nipples (men) and band of sports bra (women) can be very sore and limit your running. Have well-fitting shoes for your foot type, invest in some running socks (they are different to normal socks), make sure your sports bra is fitted correctly, wear proper running clothing and if needed get a tube of nappy rash cream and some blister plasters. They will be a lifesaver.
PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne recommendation
Between all the team here at PMC Physiotherapy, we have run over 10 marathons. Check out this list of upcoming running events in Ireland for 2022. To avoid injury, take it slow and allow your body time to adjust. If you notice any pain or a niggling injury contact one of our physios at PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne and get it checked out.
PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath
01 8253 997