Increasing the mileage – At this time of year with Brighton marathon approaching in April people are increasing their mileage
above what their body has ever done before. As a result the muscles are required to work harder for longer and require more nutrition and hydration. Poor hydration and lack of nutrients and salts can cause muscle strain and muscle injury. It is essential to take on plenty of fluids and nutrition before and during the training run as well as the race itself.
Poor technique – As the mileage increases the muscles become tired and find it difficult to keep good running posture and technique. This results in the body trying to compensate to engage other muscles and use joints differently causing back pain, muscle
pain and joint pain. Often people find that they are fine running for, say, ten miles but then they will begin to get blisters. This is because their technique begins to change at the point when their body gets tired and their feet strike the ground differently causing blisters.
The camber of the road – Road running is known to be quite hard on the joints and can cause wear and tear in the knees after long periods. But also, running on one side of the road all the time unbalances the body quite quickly. The road is not flat and is higher in the centre than at the sides to aid drainage of rain water into the gutters but this also means that it causes you to run out of balance. This effect is reduced if running on the pavement, in the park or along Brighton seafront. The effect is, however magnified in the countryside where there are often no pavements and an increased camber. Runners should try to run on alternate sides of the road, use footpaths or stay off the road completely to avoid back pain from asymmetrical running. During the race try to run in the middle of the road.
Stretching and ice – Stretching has long been known about….and long been ignored by people training for marathons. Stretching can be very useful in reducing the pain and stiffness associated with training session (known as DOMS). Stretching helps the body get rid of all the lactic acid built up in the muscles which is known to cause pain. Ice has a similar effect and many top athletes now have an ice bath after races to aid the recovery of the muscles. Many people can be seen after the Brighton marathon sitting in the sea to gain a similar effect – it’s not icy but it’s still pretty chilly! Ice baths should only be taken if you have sought advice from your GP as they can
be a big shock to your body and cause sudden health problems.