It’s important to look after yourself during your half marathon training to make sure you don’t sustain any injuries. That’s why we’ve written some expert advice on avoiding injury to make sure you’re in great shape for your half.
First, though, bear in mind that every runner is different. We all have different injury thresholds, which means that the golden rule when training is to listen to your body. Being honest with yourself about your limits, and not forcing your body past them, will mean more effective training, a minimised risk of injury.
Before a run: preparation is everything
The importance of warming up before a run cannot be emphasised enough – but we’ll try anyway! Warming up is essential for reducing your risk of injury. It loosens up your muscles, gets your heart rate up and primes your body for exercise. Plus, starting with a warm-up jog prevents you from getting too tired on your run and stopping your run early, which can harm your motivation.
Strength training in the gym alongside running is critical to success, particularly targeting glutes, calves and hamstrings. It helps to prevent injury in these key areas by building up the muscle in your legs, therefore preparing them for endurance running. Building a strong core is also essential for running form, as it stabilises your upper body which improves your posture and speed.
During your run: be methodical
During your training runs is when listening to your body comes into play. Running injuries don’t suddenly appear: there are always warning signs (aches, pains, soreness) which you need to be careful not to ignore. It’s also important to remember that recovery days exist to allow your muscles time to repair, and overtraining will only increase your risk of injury, so ensure you have – and stick to! - a training plan which includes enough recovery time.
In fact, a training plan is a cornerstone of effective training. Plans are entirely individual and depend on the runner’s current fitness level, running goal and time available. You should consult a running specialist to help you establish an attainable goal and develop a plan which will ensure you reach it without hurting yourself.