With two marathons under my belt and zero injuries, I thought I would share my secret to staying healthy. I was always afraid to begin training for one because I thought an injury was inevitable. Luckily, I was wrong with some planning.
As soon as my schedule squeezed yoga out of my weekly routine while training for my first marathon, my right knee began to bother me. My coach suggested adding it back in and sure enough, my problem seemed to slowly go away.
For Boston, I tried to be consistent with my yoga practice. Whether it was an hour-long class at Burn Fitness Studios or a 90 minute more advanced class at Back Bay Yoga, I made sure I went at least once a week. I really think it helped make a difference.
Below is my newest YouTube video featuring my favorite yoga poses for runners. These 7 moves focus on the hips, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. This routine is for intermediate to beginners. Beginners and people who struggle with flexibility should note the modifications.
#2. The Foam Roller
I will admit, I was not as great about using the foam roller for Boston as I was for Chicago. A solid routine complements your yoga and I don’t recommend one or the other, I suggest both! You don’t need a foam roller to get the benefits of myofascial release however. You can do many of these exercises with a lacrosse or tennis ball, or other device like The Stick.
#3. Dynamic Warm Up
Next is the dynamic warm up. I probably did this one the least religiously but I tried to do it before all my speed work or long runs. A dynamic warm up like the one below helps prepare your body for the work that it is about to complete by helping get your muscles warm and lubricating your joints. If I ever started a run without it and felt sluggish, I would quickly stop and run through the moves. If you are prone to pulling muscles, this would be a smart routine to incorporate.
#4. Sports Massage
I don’t suggest going to your local spa, but a person that specializes in sports massage therapy on a regular basis. This is last because I did not do this until the end of my marathon training in Boston. I started to have a bit of a knee issue on my last long run and blamed it on a really tight calf muscle that wouldn’t stretch itself out. I needed someone to work on it who knew what they were doing. I had two people in Boston work on it that were amazing, Be Well Boston and John Davis.
I went to two different places because I had a therapist cancel on me 4 hours prior to my appointment ten days before the marathon. Frantically, I called both places, left a message with Be Well Boston and booked an online appointment for the following Monday with John to cover my bases. Be Well called me back within the hour and said they could see me right away for 30 minutes.
Jim worked on my right leg exclusively for the entire session which was what I wanted since that was what was causing me discomfort. As I knew, I had a rock hard calf muscle with built up scar tissue. Apparently, I must have injured myself at some point and didn’t realize it. This was an issue during Chicago but I didn’t pay much attention to it so I assume it happened over a year ago.
The next time I went out for a run, it felt like a whole new leg. I could not believe the difference the 30 minutes made. Since I felt better, I decided to keep my appointment with John Davis to even myself out as that appointment was a full hour. John was great as well. He worked on my entire body and was fun to talk to. I really liked both places and since I ran the entire marathon pain free, I am going to say they helped. I just wish I had started seeing someone sooner. I plan to go on a regular basis from here on out!
What’s your secret to staying injury free?
I could have been better about #2-4 so don’t let this list overwhelm you. You do the best you can and fit in as many you want. I certainly did not foam roll every Sunday as my coach suggested but I tried. As long as you incorporate enough of them at key moments, you should be fine.