Common Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them During the NYC Marathon

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Common Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them During the NYC Marathon

Why Inuries occur at events like the NYC Marathon

NYC Marathon at Marcus Garvey Park
New York Marathon, Marcus Garvey Park

In the coming weeks the Marathon will be upon us and many hundreds of thousands of people are training for it as I type. This is always an exciting time, but today even more so since the NY Marathon was sadly cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. If there is a bright side to that, it’s that many of the participants had an entire year to train for this year’s event. Hopefully that will mean we see less injuries, more record times, more participants and more new runners.

There is no way through this beast of an event other than training hard, consistently and, most importantly, training smart. I hate to say it but there is always the possibility of a runner getting injured due to overtraining, under training, inadequate nutrition, lack of information or being new to running. With these things in mind, we can make informed decisions in our workouts to minimize our chances of getting injured while accomplishing our ultimate goals. Whether that goal is finishing number one or finishing at all, we can get there without hurting ourselves. Below I will list 3 possible injuries that a runner might experience during training or the marathon. These injuries are usually caused by repetitive use.

Common running injuries

  1. Runner’s Knee (patellofemoral syndrome) – This injury is self explanatory. This is an injury to the knee mainly caused by over-usage. A runner may experience pain on the kneecap or around the knee.
  1. IT Band Syndrome (iliotibial band syndrome) – The IT band is a fascial sheath that runs down the lateral aspect of your thigh that tends to pull in different directions by hypertonic or tight muscles that are connected to it, such as your lateral hamstring and/ or your lateral quadriceps and/ or your TFL (tensor fascia latae). A runner may experience hip or knee pain due to a repeated rubbing or friction to the IT band to the bone, especially around the later aspect of your knee. The pain becomes more pronounced when you bend the knee.
  1. Achilles Tendinitis – Your Achilles tendon is what connects your calf muscle to your heel. We wouldn’t be able to walk without it, let alone run. There are many reasons why a runner may develop Achilles tendinitis but a common one is super tight calves and/ or weak calves that puts stress on the Achilles leading to inflammation of the tendon – hence the name! This can make it very painful to walk, especially if the tendon isn’t warmed up. Athletes who suffer from this injury will notice, upon taking the first few steps after being stationary for a period of time, that it will be extremely painful at first then the pain subsides.

Now I’m going to list prevention strategies a runner should consider before training and before the marathon.

Preventing injury while running

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  1. A proper warm up – There is nothing more valuable than a proper warm up. It’s one of the tenets of injury prevention across the board. Making sure that you get a proper full body warm up will get your body and mind ready for the activity.
  1. Increasing your running volume slowly – This is very important if you want to increase your fitness level properly and safely without hitting a wall. Many inexperienced athletes will try to bite more than they can chew and end up either getting injured or becoming discouraged because they couldn’t handle the load. So, make sure you increase your volume slowly and methodically in order for you to develop your strength and endurance the right way.
  2. Cross training – Many athletes are so dedicated to their craft that they won’t deviate from their primary sport. However, cross training can be very beneficial for improving your overall athleticism for your primary sport. For instance, consider weight lifting for running. Light weight training can strengthen the core, hips, balance and coordination: all things that a runner needs. An amazing tool for injury prevention.

The NYC Marathon is a big deal and historical event, but participating doesn’t mean you need to completely sacrifice your body. Take the precautions I’ve laid out here and find a healing sports massage to minimize your chances of a major injury. Good luck!

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