3 Marathon Running Tips To Keep You Injury Free

  • Home
  • My Blog
  • 3 Marathon Running Tips To Keep You Injury Free
3 Marathon Running Tips To Keep You Injury Free

3 Marathon Running Tips To Keep You Injury Free

  • by Karl MacPhee
  • February 1, 2019

"Most of us assume that running is a natural instinct and so requires no training. As a result, athletes rarely consider that improper technique is to blame for their injuries."
Brian MacKenzie

As we draw closer to spring, more runners are hitting the trails with the summer goals in mind. I've been talking to a lot of athletes in the past few weeks and they often talk about their increasing mileage. The one thing I rarely ever hear from aspiring runners is talk about how they are improving their running technique. I get it, when I was a novice I thought it was more important to run further and faster every time I laced up, but like many other runners out there, I learned the hard way. 

Injury and plateaus arrived around the same time, and I had to search for another way to remain competitive while staying away from the pain cave. After plenty of research I realized that I had the wrong approach all along. When I played hockey, I focused on improving my skills to get more ice time. As a tennis player, most of my time on the court involved practicing drills and as a soccer player I remember learning skill after skill to prepare for games. 

Why is it normal for us to practice technique, skills and drills in everything else except running? Outside of watching a track and field team during a regular practice, it's rare to see runners working on the skill of the sport. This may have something to do with close to 90% of runners dealing with a running related injury every year. 

In fact it does. When we factor in how we live our lives, the amount of sitting we do plays a significant role in the injury rate for runners. Our joints are locked up tight from sitting all day and then we expect them to take the force of running on our heels (most runners are still heel strikers). This lack of mobility travels upstream from the toes to the ankle, knee, hip, low back and all the way up to our skull. Continuing to pound the pavement with the odd stretching session and a monthly massage won't do the trick, so what should runners do to avoid (or at the very least decrease) injury as they train for their coming race season?

  1. Mindset - First of all, we are best to have a new approach to training and this starts with mindset. I've talked to many runners over the years about changing the way they do things and most often the result is the same...runners are a tough croud to change. However, when people do open up to new ways of training, they see significant improvements which I will talk about in a moment. What's important here is that in order to see the physical changes in our run training, we first have to accept that perhaps the way we have been doing things may not be working. If you are dealing with injuries, plateauing, seeing performance decrease or losing interest in the sport, chances are it's time to have a come to Jesus moment. I'd love to help you here!! 
  2. Focus on Technique - When we focus on technique by including drills and skills to improve running posture, while allowing gravity to assist us in the falling phase and emphasising the pull, we will see dramatic changes in our running. First of all it's much more efficient and there's less pounding on the joints...especially for longer distances. Imagine a 20% improvement in efficiency and 50% decrease in ground reaction force on each stride! It's safe to say that in the marathon training you are completing now you will notice a big difference. 
  3. Correcting Form Faults - It's equally important to work towards fixing technique flaws because as you do this, you will become a more efficient runner, and more importantly, less injury prone. This leads to improved practice sessions and faster times! In addition to enjoying your running because you are faster and have less injuries, you will also be able to run more often. Think back to past training where nagging injuries or illnesses creeped up on you. How often did you miss your scheduled runs becuase you were too tired, sick or injured? Let's try to avoid all of that and move in the direction you want to go by making a few small changes and building on them over time. 

I will leave you with a few examples of running skill drills to work with. One for positon/mobility in the ankles, one for improving the fall and one for the pull phase of the stride. 

 

 

There you have it. A few simple drills to include in your running warm ups. Remember to start with opening up to some new ideas, and considering shifting your focus away from improving solely through increasing your mileage and placing more emphasis on running skills/technique. I promise, over time you will be happy you did. I know I am and so are my athletes who enjoy running. 

If you would like to learn more, please feel free to comment below or send me a message and I would be happy to help. In the next few weeks I will have a 6 Month Marathon Training Plan ready for those who are wanting to prepare for races in late July/August.

Keep in touch and live your adventure!


Share This Post:
Karl MacPhee

Karl MacPhee

Karl MacPhee provides the highest quality nutrition, fitness and lifestyle coaching that inspires and guides you to live your best life, full of wonder, growth and adventure. Karl is based in Edmonton, AB, however, his online coaching clients come from all corners of the globe.

With a background in personal fitness, habit-based nutrition and co-active life coaching, he takes a holistic approach to your health and wellness. As your guide, he will co-actively support you, teach you and encourage you on each step of your journey.

Karl knows it’s about more than the adventure and there are many lessons along the journey.


Comments

comments powered by Disqus

Get In Touch

Questions? Comments? Call today at 780-906-4288 or fill out the form below:

Have Questions? Call Me Today At

780-906-4288

Call Me