Monday, July 2, 2012

Avoid Injury by Steering Clear of the Terrible Toos!

It is that time of the year again... The time when runners begin training for the abundance of Fall marathons all over the United States. It has been said that approximately 1/3 of all individuals training for a marathon will never cross the finish line, or for that matter, even make it to the starting line. The reason? Injury, most likely due to over training. 
Every research paper and expert agrees that —"training errors"—are the number one cause of self-inflicted running injuries. Runner and Sports Podiatrist, Stephen Pribut D.P.M., warns runners to beware the "terrible toos"—doing too much, too soon, too fast. The body needs time to adapt from training changes and jumps in mileage or intensity. Muscles and joints need recovery time so they can recover and handle more training demands. If you rush that process, you could break down rather than build up. 
Most marathon programs will build up your running mileage 10% per week for an average 16-week program. Yet, there may be times when even a modest 10% increase proves too much. Biomechanist Reed Ferber Ph.D., an assistant professor in the faculty of Kinesiology and head of the Running Injury Clinic at the University of Calgary, found that most 16-week Canadian programs push the mileage too hard. Meanwhile, his clinic's nine-month marathon training schedule for first-timers increases mileage by just 3% per week. "We have a 97 percent success rate getting people through the entire program and to the marathon finish line," Ferber says. 
Keep these few tips in mind and be injury free come race day.
Increase your weekly and monthly running totals gradually. Use the 10% rule as a general guideline, but realize that it might be too aggressive for you—especially if you are injury-prone. A 3-5% increase might be more appropriate. And remember that mileage isn't the only issue. Experts point out that an overly aggressive approach to hill running, intervals, trail running—or, any change in your training habits—can produce problems. Keeping a detailed training log can help you gauge your personal training threshold. Record your weekly mileage and how you feel after your runs. Look for patterns and listen to your body!  More is less when training for your first marathon.  
Greg Minnis, DPT

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