Often times we spend months preparing and training for a race only to injury ourselves in the weeks or days before the big event. So how can we prevent injuries in the weeks and days leading up to the main event? The short answer is…the taper. One of the most important pieces of your training is the taper. Often times, whether you are a novice or experienced marathoner, you will ignore the taper or adjust mileage slightly, giving in to the urge to go out on a long run/walk when you should be taking it easy. The taper helps us to maintain our training but also prevents overuse injuries or nagging issues to become worse. Obey the taper!!! Use this time to reflect on your training as well as mentally and physically prepare for the big day.
Here are some other tips to stay injury free until race day!
Our body goes into repair mode while we sleep. By getting enough sleep on a daily basis we can create an optimal healing environment for repairs. Sleep also gives our brain time to power down, solidify memories and prepare for the mental race game. Use imagery or meditation to take yourself through the next few weeks, prepping for the race and then through race day.
The use of various types of massage helps to relax the muscles, encourage healing, and increases blood flow and nutrients to all parts of the body. You do not have to go out a spend a fortune on massage. Massage can include foam rolling, self-massage, using The Stick, and ice massage. Massage can also help quiet the mind so you can focus on the mental aspects of the race.
Drink water daily –
Daily water intake is different than the hydration focus on the day before and during the race. Be sure you are drinking enough water each day to avoid dehydration, loss of fluid in the joints, and slowing down of everyday life processes. Daily loss of water can also affect concentration and repair of the muscles.
Do not skip meals –
Your body needs fuel to repair itself in addition to fueling everyday activities. Cutting a large amount of food out of your diet may decrease the amount of essential nutrients available for use as well as make you more susceptible to injury and/or illness.
Avoid risky behaviors –
We all suddenly have more time on our hands…but that does not mean we should take up other activities such as skydiving or surfing. Stick to low-impact and non-risky activities so we don’t accidentally injure ourselves.
I wish you all the best of luck and no matter what…finishing a marathon is reason to celebrate enough…no matter what the result!