Running marathons has gained popularity among the masses in recent years, and people from all walks of life are getting into such events. However, a large number of them suffer from injuries during or after the race.
Almost all injuries incurred during marathons can be avoided with proper training and technique. While good training ensures your body is prepared for the strain, solid technique puts your body under significantly lesser stress. It may seem a job for the pros, but it’s really not. Key to success lies in getting the basics right, and here is what you need to do:
1. Good warm up – This includes a short run in the morning (1-1.5 kms) helps improve your circulation to your legs and core. Before the race begins, don’t forget to stretch, especially your hips, quadriceps and calf muscles. This helps relax the muscles, making their contraction easier during the race.
2. Start slow – Be the tortoise, not the hare. Starting slow allows your body to get warmed up for the long run ahead. Try to run too fast too soon and you might risk musculoskeletal injuries.
3. Keep it short – Lot of people make the mistake of taking long strides trying to cover more distance. This is a NO. Why? The shorter your strides, the lesser abused is your knees, shin bones and ankles. Therefore in an event which primarily tests your endurance, shorter strides are the way to go.
4. Know your limits – Whether we like to admit it or not, everyone has limits, and it is wise to know them. Looking at runners around you may make you push your limits, but be wary of the warning signs. Pain in bones, muscle soreness etc are indicators that you need to slow down and give your body a little time to recover.
5. Good gear – Sound technique is of little help if you don’t use proper gear. Shoes should be comfortable and not too loose. Knee and ankle straps act like shock absorbers and are helpful in keeping your joints compact.