Teachers always say “don’t cram for a test” — well, the same applies to running a marathon. You can’t cram a six-month training plan into three months and expect the same results.
In fact, improper training can lead to injury. About 40–50% of runners sustain an injury during a given year, and most injuries are a result of increasing mileage or intensity too quickly.
As of this article’s publication, it’s best to assume the 2020 Chicago Marathon will not get cancelled and now is the time to start your training plan.
Most common mileage-related injuries include:
- Shin splints
- Achilles pain
- Pain in the front of the knee
- Iliotibial band pain
- Gluteal pain
- Stress fractures
These injuries often take four to eight weeks to make a full recovery. Stress fractures, unfortunately, typically spell the end a runner’s season. It’s better to carefully plan and reduce the risk of an injury than to rehab an injury during a training program.
Tips for Injury-Free Running Success
Keep weekly mileage increases between 10-30%.
While research has shown that a one-week increase of 30% might be OK, make sure you are not repeating this for multiple weeks in a row. A good place to start is increasing 10% each week for three to four weeks, then holding mileage steady or dropping 10% for one to two weeks. If you are still feeling good after this four to six week cycle, repeat the process until you reach your peak weekly mileage.
When adding a new type of workout, drop your weekly mileage slightly.
Adding tempo runs can be a great addition to your workout, but it can also add a new stress on the body. If you increase your speed, drop your mileage 10–20% for the first week and slowly build back up to your peak weekly mileage.
When buying a new shoe, transition gradually.
Running shoes break down over time, which can impact your form. Make sure to rotate your new shoes in gradually until you have hit 50 miles to give your body time to adapt.
Strength training is good for runners!
Many runners avoid strength training because they believe adding bulky muscle mass will slow them down. However, strength training can improve running efficiency without adding unwanted muscle mass and negatively impacting VO2 max! Try adding these exercices two to three times per week:
- Squats or lunges with weight: 3 sets of 6–10 reps
- Jumping squats or jumping lunges: 3 sets of 10–15 reps
- Single leg calf raises off a step: 3 sets of 15 reps
- Single leg hopping 3 sets of 30 seconds
Wear a mask and listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, take action. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are having symptoms, head over to the CDC website for more information and call your doctor to determine a plan of action.
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is now offering physician and therapy TeleHealth appointments to provide patients easy access to our expert clinical teams. New and existing outpatients can schedule and appointment at 312.238.1000 or here.