It’s that time of year again. With the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon quickly approaching, along with the Toronto Marathon following in mid-October, this is a critical time of year to ensure your running legs (and rest of the body!) remain injury-free.
Whether you are training for the half or the full Marathon, long distance running predisposes us to develop injuries that are insidious in onset. With increasing both the frequency and mileage of your runs, it is important to be aware of ‘new aches and pains’ that are not settling within 24 hours post-run. As your training continues through the final stages of preparation before race day, seek the advice of your Physiotherapist if you feel you are developing some of these common running injuries:
Ilio-Tibial Band (ITB) Friction Syndrome
The ITB is a thick, fibrous band of fascia which runs down the outside of the thigh and inserts just below the knee. If this band becomes tight, it can rub and irritate the outside of the knee with every stride, causing pain and inflammation.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
The knee cap (patella) sits in a groove along the long bone in the leg (the femur) forming part of the knee joint complex. There are a number of contributing factors that can cause dysfunction ranging from weakness in the hip musculature, tight muscle groups, and poor patellar tracking.
Shin Splints (Periostitis)
The term “shin splints” is a name often given to a pain that develops at the front of the lower leg. However, true shin splints symptoms occur at the anterior inside of the tibia and can arise from a number of causes. Most commonly, muscle imbalances in the lower leg and ankle area are the main culprit.
Proper footwear is essential and if your running shoes have taken you more than 500km already, then it is time to replace them. Most shoes have lost their supportive and cushioning ability beyond this distance and you are putting yourself at risk by continuing to train in them. It is also important to make sure your shoes are giving your feet the motion control and stability they need. If you are unsure if your shoes are appropriate for you, consult your physiotherapist for advice.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to get yourself to the start line pain-free is REST. This means allowing for adequate rest during heavy training . Instead of running back-to-back days, head to the gym on alternate days and do some cross-training on the elliptical machine. Your body will also benefit from doing some lower extremity strengthening exercises. Be sure you are incorporating lots of core strengthening and stability exercises to maintain a strong core for race day as well. If you feel your core is lacking, feel free to come to our lunch time pilates classes and add some variety to your core work-out.
With so much focus on completing your training, proper nutrition can sometimes be neglected. Now is not the time to be ‘cutting calories.’ It is critical to ensure you are maintaining a balanced diet, rich in complex carbohydrates and protein to help fuel your training and of course, race day. Despite the cooler temperatures as we move into autumn, hydration remains important. Ensure you are drinking enough water. eload?? Consider our endurance formulas to help replace important electrolytes lost both during training and the race.
Follow these tips and help get yourself to the start-line injury free!