I want to take a minute and talk to all the hardcore Houston runners out there. I see so many of you in my office after you have trained too hard for a race and wound up suffering from a running-related injury. While I’m always happy to treat you and get you back out there, I’d rather give you some helpful suggestions that could keep you from getting injured in the first place.
So please, listen to me when I offer these guidelines for safer marathon training:
Repeating Failed Workouts
When you’re in training, you will likely be on a strict schedule, with designated long-and-short run days. So what happens if you can’t complete a run on its scheduled day?
In theory, it is fine to make up for a missed run, but you should never end up running two days in a row; you certainly shouldn’t re-try a run the day after you failed to complete it. Why? If you ran more than half the workout the day before, trying to do the same routine again will fatigue you and quite possibly put you at risk of an over-training related injury like a stress fracture. Allowing yourself adequate recovery time is one of my golden rules for staying injury-free.
Running too Many Miles During the Week
Let’s say you’ve selected Sunday as your long-run day; let’s also suppose that you were still recovering from Saturday night festivities and didn’t get out of bed the next day to train. Don’t think you can move your long-run to Monday and then complete the rest of the week’s workouts as planned—doing so is like asking for an injury. Just as repeating failed workouts can lead to overtraining, so too, cramming workouts together will put undue strain on your body. You may be upset about missing one run, but think of how many workouts you’ll miss if you sustain a serious injury from training dangerously.
Running Too Fast
During race training, not only will you have to complete scheduled distance runs, you will have to do so at a pre-determined pace. Many runners think that it’s a good idea to run faster than those target paces—after all, if you want to win the race, speed is a positive. Right?
Wrong! Running faster than your pre-determined pace puts more pressure on supportive structures like your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones, causing you pain and making you more vulnerable to injury. A training schedule allows you to build aerobic endurance while also improving strength in the body structures that support your runs. Give yourself time to break that eight-minute mile pace; your body will thank you by staying injury free.
Don’t Make Running Your Only Workout
Since most of us are pressed for time, and distance-running requires long hours, many runners skip strength training in favor of getting in more miles each week. This is a dangerous mistake. If you take the time to strengthen and build the muscles that support running, your body will be better prepared to absorb the impact of the sport, once again helping you to avoid injury.
As a Houston-based podiatrist, I’ m always available to consult with runners and other athletes on ways to improve training while avoiding sports injuries. Schedule an appointment with me today at Tanglewood Foot Specialists to see an improvement in your training program.