You have the trainers, the shorts, the vest, a swanky GPS watch and a killer 12-to-16-week marathon training plan ready to go…….. Not so fast! Unfortunately, the importance of staying healthy and injury free only becomes a factor for most people once they have picked up that nasty niggle, or a horrible ill-timed injury that puts the race they’ve worked so hard for in doubt. Brighton Marathon published a figure in 2022 stating that 66% of pre marathon dropouts were due to injury. This is a shockingly high figure and one of which in most cases can be avoided with the right approach.
We know running is an impact sport which can cause all sorts of aches and pains. The reason for this is that human tissue adapts when loaded causing some mild discomfort, during and post effort, which in most cases is completely normal. BUT, when do aches and pains start ringing alarm bells? What determines an ‘injury’, or is it just a case of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)? Some clear signs of injury can be any sharp searing pain, joints clicking, popping, locking or giving way, difficulty weight bearing and pain which gets worse the further and faster you run. These symptoms are not normal and something that should never be ignored.
A highly recommend approach would be to work with a Sports Therapist throughout your training plan. This offers a better oppertunity of factoring in some injury prevention strategies from the off, and if something untoward happened during training it could be picked up early before it becomes a real problem. Having worked with many runners, an all but common issue I have found are muscular weakness, imbalances and poor joint mobility resulting in less than desirable range of motion (ROM) . For example, a weak or imbalanced Gluteus medius can be the cause of lower back, hip, knee and ankle pain, along with pelvic alignment issues. Poor ankle mobility can manifest in hip, knee and ankle pain, increasing intrinsic risk factors or developing an Achilles tendinopathy and/ or a Plantar fasciopathy (AKA Achilles Tendonitis and Plantar fasciitis).
The risks of developing any of these common overuse running injuries can be drastically reduced, by working with a Sports Therapist from the start. Having a comprehensive assessment looking into subjective history in terms of previous injury and at what point they occurred, assessing and addressing any muscle imbalances and limitations in joint movement will be a massive positive and put you in the best possible position to fighting fit and full of confidence come race day. Having a Sports Massage every two to three weeks can really help release and flush out tight muscles, especially after a long run. It is acknowledged that these services do come at a cost. In the current financial climate, people are being much more careful with how they spend money, and rightly so. This is where block booked treatment plans can save you money. At Sports Therapy One we provide discount offers if you block book 3 x 60-minute treatments in advance (£130). Or, if you block book 5 x 60-minute treatments you get the 6th treatment free. These appointments can then be agreed and factored into your training schedule at strategic points so you can get the best value from your investment.
In summary the take home message is that prevention in all cases is better than a cure. Addressing any root injury cause will help significantly reduce the risk of a chronic injury developing, or a second or third problem cropping up later on down the line. Lastly, but importantly, seeing a Sports Therapy treatment as an investment in your aims, goals and well-being is essential. In all cases, having this professional interaction regularly throughout your training is just as important as the training itself, or having the latest running shoes or smart watch. Feel free to contact me, Stuart Sahan at Sports Therapy One if you have any further questions. You can find information for all services and contact details via the link https://sportstherapyone.com/