You want to get to the start line strong and healthy, so don’t let any injuries get in the way of training.
Most runners know their bodies well, and understand when to push through training or when to pull things back. But when you’ve got a half marathon in the diary, logic can go out the window. Don’t let injury cut your training short. Here’s are 4 ways to arm yourself with knowledge and intuition so you can nip troublesome injuries in the bud.
Illness, not injury.
Strangely enough, runners are more likely to recognise (and respect) the signs of illness rather than the signs of running injury. If you get a sudden illness during training, like a heavy cold or chest infection, you will definitely know about it. The sensible thing to do is rest, let your immune system do its work, and ease back to training gently. But if you have a more gradual illness, like a lingering cough, research shows that you are more likely to train through it. So pay attention to your body’s signals and respond to any illness early. Don’t leave it until you’re too ill to run.
Wishful thinking isn’t treatment.
Nobody wants to admit they’ve got an injury, especially when there’s a race in the pipeline. But burying your head in the sand, or wishing it better, won’t work. If you have any kind of injury, you must rest it and seek treatment. Don’t leave it to chance, because chances are that won’t work! The idea of “running through” pain is a dangerous myth.
Quieten your mind to hear your body.
The idea of mindfulness might sound wishy washy, but it has a valid place in injury prevention. The closer you can really listen to your body, the more likely you are to hear what it’s trying to tell you. And it has a lot to say! Pain, tightness, energy levels, hunger and appetite are all subtle cues that can help you build an ongoing picture of your health. Take time each day to sit quietly and run a mental check over your body, from top to toe. Check in with your body, and listen to the reply.
Get clued up.
Every runner needs a trusty physio on speed dial. But there’s plenty of useful info you can arm yourself with, too. Invest in a foam roller, and learn how to roll out key muscles like the hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes. Know when to stretch (after running) and when to use active warm up (before running). It’s OK to keep challenging beliefs about running injuries, stretching, and pain. Keep reading, listening, and learning.