Q&A: The Experts' Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Injury

My training has been going well, but with the marathon less than three weeks away, I’m worried about getting injured. What are your top five tips for avoiding injury?

1. Use your training runs as practice for the marathon. Simulate how you plan to manage your electrolyte intake, water stations, clothing, and even your meals the night before and the day of the race. This is valuable time to make your race-day plan

2. Stick to your training schedule, but don’t be too rigid. Just because you’re supposed to go on a long run on a given day doesn’t always mean you should. If you’re having an off day, dealing with an injury, or just busy at work or with life, rest. Doing some cross training may be more beneficial; reschedule your long run for later in the week.
3. After months and months of training, it’s important to keep your muscles loose and limber. Splurge and treat yourself to a sports massage, which can break up adhesions in your muscles after all those miles you’ve logged. If a massage isn’t your thing, you can use a foam roller and loosen up the muscles yourself.
4. Keep up with your cross training. It’s just as important to do some non-weight-bearing cardiovascular exercise (biking, swimming, etc.), as well as a strength-training routine to keep your muscles strong and limber.
5. With the race rapidly approaching, don’t forget to taper your training so your musclesrest and recover. (Most marathoners taper for approximately 14–20 days.) And use the taper weeks to prepare mentally for the big race, too. 

ABOUT THIS CONTRIBUTOR

Mike Silverman

Michael Silverman, PT, MSPT, USATF-1, is a physical therapist at Hospital for Special Surgery’s James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center, specializing in rehabilitation for runners and other performance athletes. He has a special interest in running-form analysis, which he performs at the Tisch Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.

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