You will now be in the final stages of your Gold Coast Marathon preparations and it’s important to remain injury free to maximise your performance. A deviation away from your training plan in the last few weeks can negatively impact your fitness. Here are my five tips to help you remain injury-free during the final stages of training so you arrive on the start line in top shape:
1. Avoid sudden increases in training loads
Avoid sudden increases or ‘spikes’ in your training loads. Spiking can occur from increased volume, intensity, hill work or all of these combined. A spike can add adverse loads on the body which may, 1 – 2 weeks after the spiked training load was completed, present injuries such as shin pain (shin splints) or sore achilles tendons (achilles tendinopathy).
2. Don’t panic
Injured runners in the latter stages of their preparation often panic. They believe they haven’t done enough training. As a result, they may try and ‘cram’ their training into a condensed period of time creating a sudden spike in load and an accompanying injury such as an acute strain (e.g. calf strain, bone stress injury).
3. Maximise your recovery
Not allowing time for adaptation from the stressors of training can increase the likelihood of injury. For example, running on your day off following a long run. You may run 5 – 10kms and feel psychologically ‘good’ however it may do little for your fitness. Rather than being a positive training stimulus, it may be a fatigue inducing stimulus hindering the fitness gains you were to make from your next training session. Dual Olympic medalist Nick Willis sums it up brilliantly with one of my favourite The Physical Performance Show quotes on recovery: “You get ahead when you rest”. Allowing sufficient recovery time helps absorb the training loads better and your performance improves.
4. Act on niggles and strains quickly
It can be difficult to know when to seek professional help as opposed to ‘seeing how it goes’. I suggest if a ‘niggle or strain’ has not settled, improved or disappeared 48 – 72 hours after you first noticed it, and you rate the discomfort more than a 3 – 4/10 on a 0-10 pain scale, then seek professional assistance. With short time frames to race day, every day counts and you don’t want to lose training time by acting too slowly on getting help.
5. Keep things the same
As the start date looms, some runners often catch wind of a new fad, way of training or equipment. The temptation is to rush in and begin wearing it or buying it. Sound familiar? For example, purchasing your new shoes in the final few weeks before race day. The new equipment, such as shoes, may create issues, niggles or strains. With a reduced time-frame to rehabilitate the result of these issues can jeopardise a runner’s participation on race day.
Brad is the founder of Gold Coast based physiotherapy group POGO Physio, author of Amazon.com best selling book You CAN Run Pain Free! A Physio’s 5 Steps to Enjoying Injury Free and Faster Running and is a regular participant at the Gold Coast Marathon.