Don’t Train Through the Pain
Marathon training and running is inherently stressful as the human body is challenged to the limits of endurance, but it does not have to be painful. Certain areas of the body are more prone to stress, and therefore more likely to break down due to endurance running. It is important to monitor muscle soreness, joint pain and pain in other areas during training to avoid injuries that might make it impossible to continue training and eventually running a marathon.
Soreness throughout the length of a muscle that subsides within a couple of days and responds well to a warm-up prior to running is normal. Soreness that does not go away and worsens over the course of days or weeks is not normal. Pain in joints that lasts more than 48 hours is also not normal and should be checked out immediately before continuing with training. Pain in certain areas such as the mid-shaft of the lower leg bone, deep in the hip joint and in the middle of the lower portion of the spine should be checked out immediately as these are common sites of stress fractures in endurance runners.
Andrew Arthur, PT, DPT, OCS, STC, CSCS, director of clinical services and human performance at St. Luke’s Performance Medicine, recommends that anyone training for a marathon undergo initial and regular assessments by a sports physical therapist to work on injury prevention and improve performance. Problems with joint alignment, muscle imbalances, restrictions and weakness are common in endurance runners and if identified early may be corrected so training time is not lost. At St. Luke’s Performance Medicine, we have state-of-the-art assessment equipment for endurance runners including biomechanical motion analysis, which gives us a more accurate assessment of potential problems.