Three Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Achilles Tendonitis During Marathon Training

Health & Medical Blog

If you've suffered from Achilles tendonitis during marathon training before, the prospect of starting another training program may be daunting. After all, you don't want to put the time and effort into training for another marathon, just to end up sidelined by the same injury again. Achilles tendonitis is quite common among marathon runners, especially those who usually run lower mileage, but increase their mileage drastically during marathon training. Protecting yourself from this injury will take some time and attention to detail, but it is possible if you follow these strategies.

Do exercises to strengthen your hip flexors.

Weak hip flexors can cause your leg to rotate inward as you stride, which puts excessive strain on your Achilles tendon. Incorporate some hip flexor strengthening exercises into your training plan twice per week to avoid this problem. An easy exercise to strengthen your hip flexors is backwards lunges. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then step back with your right foot. Bend your left knee until you're in a lunge position, and then step forward with your right leg to stand up again.

Ice your legs and feet after long runs.

Long runs of 14 - 20 miles put an enormous amount of strain on your legs. After these runs, the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your lower leg often become inflamed, and if you don't do anything to address this inflammation, it may eventually lead to injuries such as Achilles tendonitis. The easiest way to fight inflammation is to ice your legs for about 10 - 15 minutes after each long run. Just stick them in a bucket of ice water, and think happy thoughts or warm beaches until the time is up.

Start hill workouts slowly.

Many marathon training plans include hill repeats. These workouts are great for building fitness, but if you're used to running on the flat and are prone to Achilles problems, suddenly running hard up hills can put excessive strain on your Achilles tendons. Unless you're used to running hills, work your way into hill repeats very slowly and cautiously, performing fewer than the training plan recommends during the first few weeks. Replace your skipped hill repeats with some 800-meter intervals on the flat, instead.

Achilles tendon pain may start off minor, but can quickly progress if left untreated. If your Achilles tendon feels sore at any time during training, take a couple of days off and ice the area several times per day. If the soreness does not subside on its own within a week, seek treatment from a podiatrist or physician before it becomes worse. If you treat it promptly, you may be able to recover in time to resume training.


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