Training for a marathon can put a lot of stress on your body, especially your knees. To avoid a visit to an orthopedic knee surgeon before your upcoming race, you need to know what to do to prevent injuries as you train.
Whether you’re an experienced marathon runner or you’re training for your first long-distance race, the following tips can help you avoid injury that would sideline you from your goal. Always talk to your doctor if you notice any problems with your knees or other areas during training.
Set a Reasonable Timeframe
Give yourself plenty of time to get in shape for a marathon. Training for 26.2 miles of running takes weeks to get your body ready. You don’t want to push it too hard because you waited until the last minute. Generally speaking, you should plan for at least 12 weeks of training up to 20 weeks.
How long you need to train will depend on your current fitness level and if you’ve run any races before. If this is your first long race, you’ll need more time to develop endurance.
Have Someone Evaluate Your Form
One of the big reasons for injuries to the knee is poor form when running. You should have your gait analyzed to see if you need to make corrections. It will tell you where you’re landing on your foot and where your knees are positioned.
When a professional evaluates your gait, they can correct mistakes in your form before they cause injury. Even if you’ve been running for years, you could benefit from this type of analysis before you start a long-distance endurance run.
Invest in a pair of high-quality running shoes before you start training. You should have the shoes fit instead of guessing which styles are the best for your feet. The wrong running shoes can cause more than a few blisters. They can lead to strains of the muscles and stress fractures.
Don’t forget to consider your socks. You’ll want something with moisture wicking to keep your feet dry. Otherwise, you could end up with some sore feet, which increases your risk of injury.
Add Cross-Training to Your Plan
Running is hard on the body and yet, you need to train regularly to be prepared for a long-distance run. The answer is to cross-train. Run one day and swim the next. Not only do you give your joints and bones a break from the impact, but you are training them in different ways, which will make them stronger.
Another option is biking for endurance training. To give your knees a break, try the elliptical. This machine is great for getting exercise without placing stress on your knees. Just make sure the effort of cross-training matches the amount of effort you put into running. For instance, if you run for 90 minutes, you should cross-train for the same amount of time.
Learn How to Warm Up and Cool Down
One of the most common causes of injuries is not warming up adequately. Take the time to warm up all your joints properly, so they are less susceptible to injury.
You also need to cool down, allowing your heart rate to go back to normal slowly. As part of your cool down, you can use a foam roller or other tools to help your muscles start to relax. These tools also help increase blood flow to allow your muscles to recover more quickly in time for the next workout.
When You Need an Orthopedic Knee Surgeon
If you end up injuring your knee even after taking precautions, you’ll want to find an experienced orthopedic knee surgeon who can help you get back on the road to recovery quickly. Even if your injury is serious enough for surgery, you’ll want to let the surgeon know that you have a goal to run a marathon. They will provide recommendations for exercises to regain strength, so you can begin training for your next marathon.