By Kyle Youngs, MD, Sports Medicine Physician
Baylor Scott & White Health
Running is a great way to incorporate exercise into your routine and has many health and lifestyle benefits. As a fellow runner and Cowtown Marathon participant, I want to share some tips to prevent injuries during your marathon training.
- Start with a low mileage and slow pace.
The first essential piece of information to consider when training for an endurance running event, whether it’s the 5k or ultra marathon, is to start low and go slow in terms of mileage and pace. When you first start a training program, you’ll probably feel a great deal of enthusiasm to get out on the trails. It may even be the first time you’ve ever participated in something like this before, however, I always caution individuals to keep a slow and consistent pace. If you begin by running too quickly or running too long, that may add up and lead to an overuse injury in either a tendon or bone. This could completely sideline your training program and even put your race in jeopardy. Start off slow with low mileage and work your way up over the course of weeks – it’s one of the best ways to prevent overuse injuries!
- Implement a dynamic warm-up.
The second key component of injury prevention is implementing a dynamic warm-up. Often, people like to prepare for the run by stretching in hopes of preventing injuries. Dynamic warm-ups have been the most effective method in preventing these types of injuries. Specifically, a dynamic warm-up is when you are doing sports-specific activity to increase blood flow to the muscles and get your heart rate up prior to running. A great resource to learn more about dynamic warm-ups in Runners World, linked here.
- Listen to your body.
The third tip I want to share when trying to prevent injuries is to listen to your body. If you’ve run some of these longer races before, you’ll know that preparing for any race can cause general aches and pain as you advance through your training program. If you start feeling more pain than usual, or a persistent pain, it is always best to take preventive measures and see a doctor. This could limit the long term and lasting effects of an injury.
Running is a great way to implement healthy lifestyle behaviors, and if you’re mindful about easing into your routine and listening to your body, you could have a long and healthy running career. Enjoy the trails and I’ll see you all out there!
The information provided herein is considered educational. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.