How to avoid injury in the lead up to the SMH Half Marathon - Juice Daily
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How to avoid injury in the lead up to the SMH Half Marathon

Whether you’re ticking your first half off the bucket list, or you’re a seasoned distance runner shooting for a PB, there’s no doubt that preparation is the key. This applies to achieving your running goal and also to avoiding injury while you build up for an event like the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon.

Here are my top five tips for getting to the starting line in one piece:

1. Pick your training plan early and stick to it

Some studies suggest that up to 80 per cent of running injuries are the result of training errors. The factors you need to consider are mileage, terrain, speed and frequency. I’ll go out on a limb and say that having a good plan that slowly builds these variables up is the single most important factor in avoiding a running injury. Whether you get your programme from a running coach, sports medicine professional or a good online program, get onto it and be consistent. The body is awesome at adapting, as long as you give it the chance.

2. Don’t just run to get ready, cross-training is crucial

This is particularly true if you’re relatively new to running these sorts of distances. The more experienced you are, the less cross-training you may want to do, as it can inhibit your performance. But, if you’re fairly new to the road, break your training up with other pursuits like swimming, cycling or the cross-trainer. By increasing your fitness with different muscle actions and different stresses on your legs, you’re less likely to develop an overuse injury. Have some fun with it. It’s quite nice to change it up a little.

3. Give yourself some rest, eat well and get the odd massage

I lump these together because they relate to good recovery.  And not just recovery of your body, but also recovery of your mind.  Your cells need the right amount of rest and nutrition to bounce back, but equally, you need to feel energised and ready to take on an event like a half marathon. If you’re feeling tired and unmotivated, there’s a good chance your training will suffer and you will injure yourself. Make sure you have a massage every now and then. Research suggests it doesn’t help much with recovery of the body, but it feels good and definitely helps the psyche.

4. Do some regular strength and stability work

There’s no doubt that if you’re stronger and more controlled in your movement, you’re less likely to get injured. Do Pilates or yoga once a week, some dedicated resistance training with weights or body-weight a couple of times a week, and some good, basic core control exercises on a regular basis.

5. Get advice early if you think you have an injury

If something hurts for more than two days, or if it’s clearly getting worse, get advice early. See a good physio and get straight onto it.  I can tell you from both professional and personal experience that it’s much easier to rehabilitate an injury when it’s a few days old rather than after it has taken hold.

I can’t say this is an all-encompassing list, but if you get these elements right, you’ll significantly reduce your risk of an injury getting in the way of your preparation. Other things to think about include wearing the right footwear and your running style. Get some good advice on these things too and you will be well on the way to success. Good luck!

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Brad McIntosh

About the person who wrote this

Brad McIntosh

Dr Brad McIntosh leads a team of expert physiotherapists at Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions. Brad’s interest in the treatment and management of sports and exercise injuries grew from dealing with his own knee and shoulder issues during his career as a tennis player. After spending time in the USA on a tennis scholarship, he decided to focus on his other passion, physiotherapy.

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