Written by Bede Christey

Training For a Marathon: Practical Tips to Avoid Injury

When the Melbourne Marathon is a couple of months away we start to see a steady stream of running-related injuries in the clinic. The injuries tend to happen as people increase their running loads/distance.

Increase load gradually

Remember the general rule of thumb is to increase your total running volume by 10% per week. This is important to avoid injury, as it takes time for the body tissue (muscles, tendons, bone) to adapt to increases in running load. Failure to do so can often result in injuries such as Tendinopathy (eg. Achilles tendon), bony stress reaction (eg. shins), or anterior knee pain!

To track your mileage effectively I would recommend keeping a training diary eg. (Tues 5km, Thurs 8km, Sunday 14km = Total 27km for the week), or most people are training with GPS watches / Smartphone Aps which makes is easy to track running volumes online.

Listen to your body!

Pay attention to any alarm bells such as recurring pain/fatigue. Remember the body will elicit pain for a reason! It is normal to experience some muscle soreness perhaps the day after a run (especially when starting out), but if you have persisting pain, or definitely pain that worsens during a run – it is likely worth a visit to your physiotherapist to diagnose the problem & get on it top it before it becomes a serious issue and prevents you hitting the road.

There are plenty of options that runners can do pre-run to both improve performance & prevent injury. In my experience, runners are usually great at throwing on the shoes & hitting the pavement straight away, but often neglect any supplementary strength/activation work!

Strengthening your lower-body & core lets you handle the 3-4x bodyweight that is absorbed with every step as you run. In addition, doing some simple strength work; not only will you be less injury-prone, but also more efficient & potentially faster! Win-win!

Below are 5 simple gluteal & core exercises designed to be both easy & quick to punch out 10-mins before your run. No need to rush out and join a gym; these can be done at home, or in the park before starting. Only equipment that may be useful is an elastic band (Theraband) to add in some resistance & really get your gluteals firing up!

Happy running!

Video exercise guides

  1. Arabesques youtube.com/watch?v=eusojiuOEjQ
  2. Knee to chest, into a falling Lunge youtube.com/watch?v=ddE7fjVsdoA
  3. Crab Walks + Theraband resistance youtube.com/watch?v=r-iVNmmlm08
  4. Monster Walks + Theraband resistance youtube.com/watch?v=VoZXuLfvxkg
  5. Plank Series youtube.com/watch?v=cONlxB4URHo

Want to improve your running? Check out Jess’ post How to improve your running technique and times.