6 Ways to Stay Injury-Free In Marathon Training
Welcome to FRIDAY! I am really excited for this weekend. I am competing at the Lululemon Track & Roll and spending some time with Toronto friends as well as putting in another solid long run, this time WITHOUT chocolate pudding!
This week has been my highest mileage week before the marathon and I am HURTING. Some of the key workouts this week were a blistering interval session with 2 KM repeats to prep for my time trail on Monday with some wicked strength training, a 75 minute tempo bike session followed by a 10 KM interval session with 1 KM repeats and I have a 30 KM long run preceded by a one hour hard cycle this evening. [If you are interested in following my training, you can find me on Strava]. At this point, I am forgetting what it feels like to not have something hurting somewhere – when I laugh, my abs are sore, I cannot bound down the stairs two at a time and my feet look like gremlins.
The thing is, this is a key week. I am building strength and muscle for my hard efforts on marathon day. Will it hurt? YES. Will it hurt less because of the work I’m putting in now? Absolutely.
Putting in intensity and high mileage can be risky if you don’t do it correctly, especially for an injury prone runner like me. I thought I would share some tips and tricks on what is keeping me injury-free through this training cycle.
1. Running with People – Believe it or not, this helps me keep my mileage lower. If I were to train alone, I would push myself too far. This week, I cut a 12 KM trail run to 8 KM because I was running with a group and Wednesday night, I felt silly doing laps alone on the track when my team was through even though I was reaching a specific mileage. I communicate my training goals with friends and they are amazing at helping me to reach my goals.
Adding a complete rest day has helped recharge me for my hard weekly workouts and given me time to get into a few good books.
3. I’ve slept. This is and always will be a tricky one for me. I am a very social person with The Fear Of Missing Out (what if something exciting happens when I am sleeping?!) but I have been focused and mindful on getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night and up to 9 if possible. This is probably the biggest one in my books.
4. I have eaten and hydrated well. I have been working with my naturopath over this training cycle and for the first time ever, she is thrilled with me. I take my supplements and my fridge is a scramble of spinach, probiotics and beet juice. I have cut out my afternoon coffee and I eat 6 times a day. Throughout this process, I have not cut out any of my favourite foods but just added in more good stuff (so you could occasionally see me eating a breakfast of sprouted toast with coconut oil……and nutella).
5. I have switched up intensity. Every week, I do two hard interval sessions, one trail run, 2 easy runs and one long run with built in tempo efforts. It allows me to strengthen as a runner but also recover on easier trail days.
6. I switch up surfaces that I run on. I had mentioned that I run pavement, gravel and trail an almost equal amount during the week, but this also applies to shoes. I will run any type of shoe and rotate through with everything from minimalist to mid cushion to maximalist. Over the last couple weeks, I have added a new pair into my rotation that I have never tried before from Topo Athletic. Because of the huge variance in terrain that I cover, I chose the Trail//MT , a hybrid shoe that is described as ” super-light, versatile, performing well on and off road with the traction and protection of trail runner paired with the weight and flexibility of a road shoe.” As a Prius driver, I am all about hybrids so I was thrilled with this one.
I dealt directly with the company and there was a bit of a mix-up with the delivery and I was unsure of how it was going to work out. The customer service was a dream: super responsive and had everything sorted within 24 hours. It is the most roomy fit of all of the Topo shoes and it is stylin’ enough that I would wear it to the grocery store. I took it on three test runs – one was on the streets of down town Toronto, one on the trails and one on the gravel road that I train on near my house. Each and every time, the shoe felt amazing, but considering I am not exclusively a minimalist runner, I did not run longer than 15 KM while wearing the shoes, just to ease into them.
The shoes retail for $100 and I would order them again – they are good looking, light and I love the versatility. Topo stands behind a mandate of developing products for athletes, by athletes. If nothing else, I love this company for their mission statement.
A quick look at their staff page shows they are all athletes and it was refreshing to do some back and forthing with someone who GETS it and was genuinely interested in my sport and training. In her words, “The shoes won’t make you better – YOU make you better. We are just here to help.”
What are your tips for remaining injury-free in high volume training?
What was the latest pair of shoes added to your collection?