It’s Running Season! Get ready

marathonThe 20th Anniversary Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon will take place on 17 January, 2016. If you are one of the 70,000 lucky participants of any of the races, whether the full Marathon, Half Marathon or 10k race, you have less than 100 days to train.

Oxfam TrailWalker is only about 6 weeks away. So there is not a minute to waste!

Some of you will certainly have started training already, but many of the 35,000 10K participants are starting now.

Whether you are an habitual runner or just starting, the way you train, the frequency and intensity of your training and your ability to stay clear of injury will all play a huge part in your completing your race. So here are some of the recommendations we can give you to help prepare for a successful race.

Stay clear of injuries

Injuries in marathon runners are caused by a large numbers of factors, but are often attributable to training errors. the most common errors are; an increase in the weekly training too quickly, a previous injury and a competitive training motive. Novice runners are found to be at an increased risk of injury because they have less experience and they don’t have the body awareness that experienced runners do have. On the other hand experienced runners heal slower when injured, however they are able to avoid overuse injuries and developed musculoskeletal adaptation to running.

Have a running plan

Having a running plan is a must. This plan should combine warm up exercises, stretching exercises and of course a strengthening program. To help avoid injuries, check you overall training load and use moderation with respect to increasing distance and number of consecutive days running. It is very important to be fully recovered from old injuries before enrolling in any competition. The most common injury is to the knee, particularly the anterior side. The Iliotibial Band syndrome (IT Band), plantar fasciitis and Achille’s tendonitis are also very common. Keeping your muscles flexible will help prevent these injuries.

Protect your feet

Additional issues can occur while running a marathon. If you have been training hard your feet must have built calluses. Sadly, this doesn’t mean you would end a marathon without foot blisters. They are caused by friction between your shoes/ socks and your skin. Pay special attention on the combination of shoes, socks, drying agents, covering pads and lubricants that work best for you. If the soles of your running shoes have worn thin or are angled, it’s time to get a new pair.

Watch out for the heat

Monitoring weather conditions before you go for a run will prevent temperature-related injuries such as sunburn, heat exhaustion, frostbite and/or hypothermia.

Protect your skin

Chafing is also a common problem for runners. It’s a skin irritation caused by friction. It can be so painful, it can ruin your race. Fortunately, chafing is mostly preventable. To prevent the source of friction, try different clothes, avoid cotton because it absorbs sweat and stays wet. Cover the chafed areas with a bandage , apply petroleum jelly or roll-on silicone products to the sensitive areas to prevent further irritation. It seems that where chafing occurs in the body varies from person to person. The most common areas are between the legs, the nipples (guys particularly), arm pit and under-breast area.

Hydrate

Staying hydrated is really important. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, stomach ache, back pain, headache, irritability and decreased urination. Muscles cramps can occur during the marathon, especially if you experience dehydration. If a cramp hits, stop running, stretch the triggered muscle and apply gentle massage. It could last a few seconds to several minutes.

Remember, when a minor injury or symptoms of a problem occur during the marathon or a training session, you must learn how to deal with it, listen to your body and decide whether it is safe to continue.

Happy training!

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