Running - Knowledge

Expert Talk: How to avoid Marathon Injuries

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Running in a marathon burns a lot of energy, physical and mental both. Marathoners need to prepare themselves for the injuries. Whether you are an inspired newbie or a seasoned runner, there are a lot of injuries which you can face. These injuries may come as a minor one or major but it can be avoided easily by training properly, preferably under expert guidance. 

Livingit Expert Talk brings you experiences shared by experts in their passions on several important topics around your passion.  Our first article is focused on marathon injuries and we have 7 experts all of whom have ran multiple marathons, some of them even are certified coach and trainers.  Read on to find out what they say about Marathon injuries. 


TimTim Sharma

 

 

TimTim Sharma is a fitness professional and the co-founder of Protons Sports & Fitness Pvt. Ltd. She also blogs - Myreadventures: Shoes to Pen.

She is a marathoner, cyclist, endurance athlete, wannabe mountaineer, adventure seeker and fitness enthusiast. She has won many races from the 10k to the full marathon distance across the country.

She found her calling for running in 2012 and won big marathons such as Bangalore Midnight Marathon to the 42.2K Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. Right now she aims to train new runners by providing coaching and introducing signature events. Here are her thoughts on the marathon fatigue and Injury.

How do you deal with the fatigue while running in a Marathon?

Running a marathon and Racing a marathon are two different things.  Completion is a process that requires a mental make-up which is unafraid of distance. This requires becoming friends with spending time on your feet and clocking regular distance to build endurance. This ensures self-confidence towards completion of the 42.2K distance.

Racing includes a periodized training process that begins 4 months prior to the actual event. This includes a build-up and taper of distance and speed workouts which enable you to peak on your race day. In addition, there needs to be a specific nutrition and hydration plan during and post the entire training period as well as through the race day to refurbish the nutrients that the body is continuously exhausting through the physical exertion.  The final factor that is just as important is Rest. Enough rest is imperative for the body to be able to recover and perform at its optimal level.

How do you avoid getting injuries from running?

It is very easy to get injured with this sport. Runners have a tendency to keep pushing themselves in terms of both distance and speed. Most times, this results in an overuse injury.  There are a lot of theories on how to avoid injuries – it could be in terms of first only do distance work and build an endurance base before you do speed work or it could be following the 10% rule in increasing load. From personal experience I believe that the best way to avoid injuries is:

  • To learn to listen to your body. Everybody is different and your body will give you signs and symptoms of injury way before it becomes serious – the key is in learning to understand what your body is telling you.

  • Consult a qualified doctor for diagnosis instead of self or friend’s diagnosis – this is the easiest way to get an informed understanding of what is going on with your body.

  • Discipline: Being disciplined is key – give the body ample rest to recover ( Sleep is the best rest), the right food for nutrition and especially in case of niggles, aches and pains - Having the mental strength to give the body rest ( not work a specific part of the body) when it asks for it

  • Focussing on strength and flexibility in addition to endurance – holistic development goes hand in hand with a focus on performance in a specific sport – only the percentage time spent on each of these variables changes.

Did you suffer any injury in all the years of running and how did you make a comeback?

Absolutely, all of the above gyaan has been gained from personal experience. My injuries have a story of their own, which included complete rest, incessant visits to the physio, slow strengthening, focus on nutrition and a lot of rest for the body to recover. Comeback – I haven’t really raced yet. I have participated in multiple events for the spirit of the sport and to enjoy the energy of the event. In terms of being active and enjoying the sport, I am back to logging considerable mileage and will spend a fair amount of time doing so before I can be race ready. As I said before, a key factor in distance sport is the patience to stick it out and give the body what it requires at a given point in time.

Read More: How to Return to Running after an Injury!



Athreya Chidambi

 

 

Athreya is an Ultra Marathon runner by passion and designer by profession. He has completed various multiple distance categories but he loves trail running.

He started his running life 11 years back and never looked back since then. He has completed several marathons in India and abroad and has also done ultra-marathons such as Auroville Marathon.  Heres what he has to say about marathon injuries. 

How do you deal with the fatigue while running in a Marathon?

I try and keep my self-hydrated (controlled) earlier on during marathons or long training runs. Waiting till you feel thirsty is not wise. Making sure you get a good balance of carbs ( in form of either solid food or gels) and fluids are necessary. Always go with your race plan. Keep to the race plan till 80% of the race and then if you feel good you can increase the pace.

How do you avoid getting injuries from running?

Overdoing anything leads to injuries. Most of your running should be at a comfortable pace. Speed puts a lot of pressure on joints hence keep speed workouts to max twice a week for beginners and increase it gradually over months. Running (jog pace) at a very relaxed slow pace is also very beneficial for recovery. Make sure you stretch regularly (after a warm up and cool down). Get a min of 7-8 hrs of sleep. If you are running significant mileage make sure you get deep tissue massages on a regular basis (swimming also helps). Stay hydrated through the day and not only on race day / during a run.

Did you suffer any injury in all the years of running and how did you make a comeback?

The mind forgets very quickly so we tend to make the same mistakes (eg. not stretching regularly / not hydrating enough / running in old shoes). Patience is key in becoming a better, stronger runner. Everyone (including myself) is in a hurry to see results - you may get it at a price. I've been injured (though nothing too serious) several times, a lot of times due to plain stupidity. If injured, take time off, strengthen injured muscles, joints etc. before you run again. You don't want to land up with the same injury because you were in a hurry.


 

Vinay Nagaraja

 

Vinay is an Elite Athlete and currently working as a Master Running Coach in Fitso.

He has achieved a lot as Junior athlete and was Junior National Medalist in 800 meters and 1500 meters. He has ran in various athletic events including marathons.

He believes that "There is no substitute for hard work, believe in yourself and give your 100% - Go Hard or Go Home."   This is Vinay sharing his experiences regarding marathon injury and fatigue.

How do you deal with the fatigue while running in a Marathon?

Certainly, there are few reasons for the fatigue during the Marathon.

  • The people are not trained properly i.e that haven’t got the proper mileage for that kind of distance. All in all, they are not ready for distance running.

  • Dehydration.

  • Exhausting themselves in the early stage of the stage.

So, in order to deal with fatigue, these are the factors people should consider:

  • Hydrate properly throughout the distance.

  • Intake of proper glucose water and recovery drink on the way of your run. A fuel in your body which can supply instant energy can also help in the form of nuts, bananas etc.

  • Slow down your pace in between the race till you feel energetic and then again pick up your pace and carry on with the race.

How do you avoid getting injuries from running?

As during the marathon, the chances of injury is very less with only around 2-3% percent of participants getting injured. The major injuries occur during the marathon training.

Injuries are now all part of training. But nowadays, most of the people get injured very often. These happen because of the following:

  • Not following a scheduled training. People think that if you are trained for 2 months, you can get a good result. No, people need to be trained for 365 days because to race for a few hours, you need to be trained for 1000 of hours.

  • Picking up too much mileage in quick succession of time rather than gaining the mileage gradually. Yo need to increase your mileage weekly 10% for better improvement and avoiding injuries.

  • You need to follow the sessions from the qualified and certified coach. These coaches should be at least a national level athlete.

  • Stretch out properly after your workout and take the massage on weekly basis.

  • Running is not only about Workout, you should also have a proper food and all. You should have your breakfast properly, then lunch and again dinner. Between these meals also, you need to keep on eating. You can eat fruits, dry fruits after each hour or two. You need to have minimum 5-6 liters of water each and every day.

  • Avoid using the same shoes after a certain period of time in order to avoid injuries.  There is a certain amount of mileage which can be covered in one pair of shoes. Elite athletes like me,  keep changing our shoes after about 800-900 km.

  • You need to have details of the mileage you are covering weekly. There are lots of scientific planning goes around to maintain the body and avoid marathon injuries.

  • There are lots of people who are going to Marathon each week and running a different marathon. This is a big mistake they are doing. After running a marathon, the recovery time is around 2-3 months for running in the next race.

Overall, to avoid injuries and be a proper runner, you need to have a proper base, build up.

Did you suffer any injury in all the years of running and how did you make a comeback?

Injuries are a part of sportsman life. Most of the sportsman had suffered from injuries that may be a major or minor one. I have a few minor injuries and one was the Glue Chin injury.

In order to come back from the injury, you need to visit the proper Sports Physiotherapist, not the general one. The Sports physiotherapist particularly assist you, do a rehab session. If it is a minor injury, it will take around 2-3 months to recover. After the recovery, you need to start from the beginning with training from zero rather than start running in the races.

Read More: Marathon Training Fatigue: Intelligent Ways and Tips to Deal with It


 

Parul Sheth

 

parul sheth

 

Parul Sheth is a mother, runner, architect, and a published author of a book ‘The Running Soul: My Journey from Darkness to Light”, which has sold over 3000 copies. 

Over the last 14 years, she has run 8 full marathons, 30 Half marathons, and several other races. Her personal best for a full marathon is 3:48, and she ran the prestigious Boston Marathon in April 2017. She regularly writes essays about her training, with motivation and tips for amateur runners, on her blog www.therunningsoul.com.

Parul believes that life rules apply to running & running rules apply to life! Let's see what her thoughts on Marathon injuries and fatigue.

How do you deal with the fatigue while running in a Marathon?

Fatigue, while running a Marathon is inevitable. The main thing is to ensure that it sets in as late as possible. For that, your training has to be geared towards handling fatigue. Workouts should include back-to-back running and threshold running. Correct hydration and nutrition strategy will go a long way in being able to hold your race pace, longer. So, plan that well, know what works for you. With the onset of physical fatigue, just move your legs, one step at a time and keep the focus on moving forward. To push through the wall, you have to rely on your race mantra, which you would have found as a part of the mental training for the race. It is a battle of Mind over Matter, so create an armor-plated mind and remember, quitting is never an option.

How do you avoid getting injuries from running?

Apart from incorrect form, with increased mileage, hill work, and speed training, our muscles get tight, post workout. Stretching and foam rolling are critical during training for any race, be it a half marathon or a full marathon. It should be a part of your daily routine. Stretching and rolling at night will help in relieving the soreness. A deep tissue massage once a week or fortnight, depending on the intensity of your training will also go a long way in restoring muscle suppleness. Try doing the harder runs on a softer surface, like a mud track or an artificial track to reduce the impact. Most importantly, do not ignore any niggles. When we run with tightness, they become full-fledged injuries. Respect your body and listen to it, to prevent injuries.

Did you suffer any injury in all the years of running and how did you make a comeback?

To be honest, over the last 10 years, I have rarely been injured. While training for my first full marathon, within a few weeks of increasing mileage, my IT Band tightened. I had to rest it out, do a couple of physio sessions and foam roll it away. From then on, I have been stretching twice a day, immediately post run and then, for about 15 minutes, before I sleep. I also get regular deep tissue massages. In peak training, for my last 2 races, I had tightening around the ankle and lower calf which intensified during a speed workout. I stopped right then, rested a few days, stretched a lot and it eased out. And then, I went onto to finish the races well!


 

Bijay Nair

 

bijay nair

 

Bijay is a former Lt Cdr in Indian Navy and currently working in Indian Register of Shipping. He is also part of Fast & Up - Fit Squad. 

Once he was overweight because of thyroid but running came as a counter in his life. He is running in Marathon since 1999, but becomes a regular one since 2008. Apart from his skills as a Runner, he is an author of a book "#TheyInspire".  

He believes that "My battle is against me, My Race is against me... I will be a better and fitter person than yesterday". Here are the experiences of Binay on Marathon injuries.

How do you deal with Fatigue while running a marathon? 

Fatigue is an integral part of long distance sports. Managing fatigue is what the distance sports are about. When I say managing fatigue, it is the amount of structured training you would have put in. As you get experienced in the feel of long distance running, you will start knowing your body, your body will talk to you. Along with only putting in mileages, there needs to be strength and flexibility training. Other important aspects are Rest, Recovery and Nutrition.

If all above are managed or the discipline is set in with respect to the same. The quantum of fatigue endeavored can be managed. I believe you have to be a smart runner rather than a serial runner to sustain this demanding sport. 

How do you avoid getting injuries from running? 

Injuries are part and parcel of any sports. Knowing, when not to overdo things is very essential. Importance of strength and flexibility training needs to be understood and is very important. Common running injuries are ITB, Shin Pain, Heel Pain, Knee Pain, back pain, groain pain, hamstring pain.

During my initial days of the foray into running, I use to run without any plan or structure. It was like running any day, not realizing the importance of rest, nutrition etc.

So, from last few years, I have become a smarter runner, I run less, but run strong. I have 3 to 4 days of running and rest days I focus on strength training, cross training etc. Regular sports massage is one of my routine things. All of the above are preventive actions and it helps prevents injury. 

Did you ever have a major injury and have you had a comeback?

Yes, many times. My list of injuries started in 2011 with ITB injury (Illito Tibial Band ) injury I cud not run for 6 months; had to undergo rehab for the same. Came back stronger with proper strength training and measured running.

Heel gave me trouble for pretty long . I had to rework on my GAIT and that is sorted out.

Very recently during the best of my training season, I landed with a severe hamstring pull. Again had to go back to basics and it took two months with sports massage ; strengthening etc .

Though injuries are part and parcel of sports man's life . But a smart athlete is he or she who knows how to manage it . How to ensure that you are at bay . The mantra is structured training ; rest ; recover; strength and cross training ; proper nutrition and sports massage. Annual medical checkups for hidden abnormalities.


 

Sanjay Dasila

 

 

Sanjay is a Fit Squad athlete at Fast & Up India and loves to run with a free state of mind.

He has finished a lot of races - 61 completed marathon races and achieved a remarkable feat of three 12 hours run. Here is what he has to say about marathon injuries:

How do you deal with the fatigue while running in a Marathon?

I always take 3 to 4 month time to prepare for a race such as Airtel half marathon. I use to do a long run around 15km race pace and 4 or 5 times before the race. Between the race, I take regular water and gels to keep myself hydrated.

How do you avoid getting injuries from running?

I always follow the workout session and strength training like exercising in the Gym. Going to the gym twice a week will save you from injuries.

Did you suffer any injury in all the years of running and how did you make a comeback?

Well, I am running since 1989 but I have not suffered any injuries as I am always doing my workout under a proper guidance.

Read More: How Recovery Intervals Will Make You a Better Runner


 

Lakshmi Moorthy

 

 

Lakshmi is co-founder and CEO of Hyderabad based B2B IT services company Nichebees Technosolutions.

About 3 years back he couldn’t cope with his son’s speed and was weighing 100 kilos or so. He decided to take up marathon running and since got trained under Hyderabad Runners and started his journey which has lasted over multiple 10ks, half marathons and recently completed his first full marathon.

Check Out: Laksmi Moorthy full interview - The Story of a Familyman, CEO, and Marathoner

How do you deal with the fatigue while running in a Marathon?

Fatigue while running in a marathon can be due to two reasons namely Physical and Mental

  • Dealing with Physical Fatigue: Best way to address this fatigue starts with your training runs. I won’t be missing any of my long runs, putting the necessary weekly mileage, mixing runs with speed work so that the muscle memory is built to help you run longer and faster. Also, another key ingredient to fight physical fatigue is having the right fuel and hydration strategy. I have once in 10 mins either water/energy drinks gulp and once every 50 mins Banana/homemade energy gel. It gives the necessary energy to physically strong during the entire run
  • Dealing with Mental fatigue: Marathon running also requires strong mental strength to carry on for the longer duration. Any drift in focus/thoughts can impact running form and eventually create fatigue. I manage mental fatigue by breaking marathon distance by small distances and dedicates that someone close to me/cause (mentally). When I lose focus, I will start to be aware of my form, environment, bring a smile to face, imagine past runs where I was strong to get the mental energy back.

How do you avoid getting injuries from running?

Injuries are the result of pushing oneself beyond what their body is capable. Proper resting between runs, races, and nutrition is key to injury-free running. I ensure to a have minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep every day and run only 3-4 days. Stretching and Strength training is important (though this is a not an area I am good at and I need to develop). Listening to the body (tiredness, soreness etc) and deciding on the intensity of run can help injury free runs.

Did you suffer any injury in all the years of running and how did you make a comeback?

I am happy to say, I have not had any major injuries since I started running.

Read More: Lower Leg Pain While Running? Know The Causes And How To Treat Them


Final Thoughts


Keeping yourself free from Injuries while preparing for a marathon is a big challenge and comes with experience.  

Listen to your body and don’t run when you are in pain. Pushing yourself too hard and ignoring injuries might worsen your condition rendering you further unfit.

Focus on fast recovery so that you can get back to your running activity as soon as possible. But restart your running workout only if you have recovered enough.

Application of cold compress, physiotherapy, and medication will speed up recovery time. You can add muscle strengthening and full-body stretching exercises to your routine to prevent injuries. 

Hope our expert’s advice helps you to be free from running injuries. Happy Running!
 

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