Marathon directors around the country are noticing a significant increase in race registration. In some races, registration for the half-marathon has surpassed that of the marathon. Races are being sold out months ahead of time. Back in 2010, the Chevron Houston Marathon increased its field by 4,000 runners. That year, they also equally divided the available positions for the full and half marathons. With moves like these, seasoned runners complained that they get shut out of races because of how many rookies run. I invite them to remember back to their first marathon.
Of course, new runners have greater risks than just shutting out the veterans from races. But veteran runners have their own risks when it comes to Houston marathon training. Want to enjoy injury free marathon training? Stick with me, as we explore what ups your running injury risk. Then, we'll tackle safer ways to train. Let's begin.
New Data on Running Injuries
How you train, your posture, and the surface you run on can affect your running injury risk. But now, new evidence shows that outside factors up your injury risk. Even before you lace up your sneakers.
A Journal of Sport and Health Science study reveals that some surprising factors up your risk for a running injury. The first? Your age. Sorry, guys, but after 40, you're far more likely to get hurt running.
Next? How long you've been running also matters. But not in the way you think. Because, while some studies showed new runners are more likely to get hurt, this one says the opposite. In fact, their research suggests that spending 20 or more years as a recreational runner dramatically increases injury risk.
Finally, distance is a factor. Now, that may seem obvious, but the researchers aren't talking about typical Houston marathon training. Instead, they refer to ultramarathoners. And they note that this kind of distance makes an injury more likely. But your typical weekly miles logged don't increase your odds for multiple injuries.
Health History and Injury Free Marathon Training
Two more surprising pieces of news came out of this study. For one, you're more likely to get hurt running if you have at least one chronic disease. (I hope you hear me, all my diabetic runners.)
And the other? Having a history of allergies also increases your running injury risk. Now, the exact relation between these factors and your injury risk aren't clear. But the study authors suggest it has to do with taking medications. Because certain prescription drugs increase your chances of stress-fractures, ligament injuries and tendinitis.
Even if your health histroy ups your risk, you don't need to give up on Houston marathon training. You just need to take more care when you train. To start with, you should come in and talk to me about your running goals and training plans. Then, you should carefully review my guide to injury free marathon training, highlighted below.
Safer Houston Marathon Training
It seems with each year there are more marathon training programs. Many are local, some online, and others are associated with charities. (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training, American Heart Association Train to End Stroke, and Arthritis Foundation Joints in Motion are all available options.)
Now, don't get me wrong, I think it's great that these groups get more people into the sport. After all, I am as big an advocate for exercise, especially running, as anyone. But there's a problem with these programs. And that's the fact that they do not always prepare the runner adequately for the race. Let alone consider your unique biomechanics or health history. Both of which raise your risk for injury, as we just reviewed.
In fact, I can identify the three main problems that you'll experience with many online marathon training programs. Luckily, we can bypass most of them. Because, you will see that all come down to you, the individual participant. After all, there's nothing inherently wrong with the well-meaning program. This means you can follow their tips and enjoy injury-free marathon training. As long as you heed my common-sense suggestions as well.
1. If you are joining a program...stick with the program.
Many participants see the program as a buffet: choose the days they want to run and complete the workouts. Pick and choose from the workouts what they really want to do. The running programs all have a head coach. The national programs have well known names, such as Jeff Galloway, and local coaches at the chapter level. The local programs will have local experts. They work hard to have a progressive and well thought out program, usually different for each running level.
2. Don't be your own coach.
Aside from the head coach, there are usually local experts running the group and are available to answer questions. In the case of online programs, there are message boards and email access to the coaches. If you have a training issue, find a coach to ask. If you make the decision yourself, you can be putting yourself at risk for injury. If you are with a program. Take advantage of the resources it provides.
3. Don't play doctor.
Marathon training is grueling. Over the months, one thing or another is bound to be sore. A rule of thumb: If pain lasts more than three days, get it checked out. The sooner you get an injury addressed, the faster you can return to pursuing your goal. In this instance, a trainer, message board, or coach should not be relied upon. Be sure to come see me your running podiatrist in Houston, TX, so I can offer you an exam focusing on biomechanics and sports medicine.
Safe, Efficient Marathon Training in Houston Texas
Remember, training for a 26.2 mile race is difficult. And it puts lots of stress on the body. (That's why you also need this post-marathon recovery guide.)
Now, you'll never get to the big race injury free without careful planning. And, as we just learned, training programs are a good support for smart training. But to truly stay safe, you must follow the coaches and listen to your body to ensure a safe experience. Finally, if you notice pain during training, stop all planned runs and come in for an immediate appointment. Doing so is the safest way to get you to the marathon. And to help you cross the finish line without a serious injury.