How to Manage Injury When Training for a Marathon
It’s the moment that anyone training for a marathon dreads. Pain in the foot, shin, knee, thigh or hip that could signify a serious injury. When you are preparing for the big day, a plan for dealing with any injury is essential.
Some injuries dissipate in just a matter of days, others can linger on, especially if they are not treated properly. Getting the balance right while you are trying to assess if there is a problem or not, however, is challenging. Do you rest and run through it or get medical advice?
Serious injuries like ITB syndrome or Achilles tendinopathy are unlike to resolve without some form of medical treatment or extended rest. Simply gritting your teeth and pushing through the pain is not an option and generally makes things worse.
If you have suffered an injury while training for a marathon, we’ve put together some key points that should make your recovery easier.
Why It’s Important to Listen to Your Body
This is probably the simplest precaution you take whether you are fully fit or are carrying an injury such as small niggle. According to Dr Phil Riley who has worked with elite athletes who take part in long-distance endurance events such as pro-cycling (INEOS and Team Sky):
“There’s little research concerning listening to your body because it’s difficult to measure but we have significant anecdotal evidence that it can make a difference. If you run through the pain and try to ignore it, the injury is going to get worse which means your recovery time will be longer.”
If you find that your body is giving you the wrong signals, you may want to slow down your pace or cut that two hour run to an hour or less. When acute pain comes on suddenly, it’s far better to stop and rest and assess the situation rather than continue because you have a target to reach.
If the pain subsides but then recurs once you start running again, it’s usually a sign that there has been a more significant injury. It helps to record any niggles or pain you have so you can review things over time. This documentation is useful when you do need to see a GP or sports rehabilitation specialist.