Seven tips for resuming marathon training after illness or injury
Dealing with an illness or an injury in the middle of your marathon build may temporarily halt your training, and it can suck the joy out of being a runner. Getting back to training may be very challenging, but as someone who has had to take time off for illness and injury, I’m here to share some tips that will help you get back to training after a hiatus.
1.- Take it one day at a time
The main thing is to be as consistent as possible. Don’t overwhelm yourself with thoughts of how you are going to complete a marathon–focus instead on your daily training runs, and try to enjoy them as much as you can.
2.- Know your limits
Recognize when you need to take it easy. If you are training for a marathon after an illness or injury, it’s important to be kind to yourself. If you start to feel like your runs are not enjoyable or you don’t feel good running, take it easy for a few days. You may need to regroup and take a few days off, so you can come back stronger.
3.- Don’t worry about your pace
When you first start running after taking time off for illness or injury, you will not be as fast as you used to be. Without a doubt, getting your pre-injury or pre-illness speed back will take time. Therefore, it’s best not to be too concerned about your pace. You must realize that your speed will come back. Until then just focus on getting yourself to the start line of your marathon in the best possible shape, given the circumstances.
4.- Build mileage and intensity gradually
Of cousre you will want to do as much as you can, once you feel better or your injury heals. However, you must take a gradual approach to increasing your intensity and duration so that you don’t end up right back where you started. Therefore, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get marathon-ready and don’t schedule your race too soon (assuming you’re not already registered–and if you are, review the previous points).
5.- Stay in touch with your health care practitioner
Whether it’s your physiotherapist or your doctor, you must be open with them about your training schedule and race plans. Be sure to follow their advice so that you have the highest chance of getting to the start line healthy. (Hopefully they are experienced in dealing with running injuries and are supportive of getting you back to training as soon as possible.)
6.- Work with a knowledgeable coach
Ideally, you want to pick a coach who has dealt with similar challenges as you are facing. This will allow you to relate to them better, and they to you. Your coach should have an understanding of what you are going through, so they can develop an effective training program for you.
7.- Revise your race goal
You’ve been through a lot. Be proud of making it to the start line, and when you finish, remember to be grateful for making it to the finish line. Make sure your goal for the race is realistic, based on what you’ve overcome and how much training you’ve been able to do. You probably won’t achieve the goal you had originally set for this race, but keeping track of your progress will allow you to set an attainable race goal.
Dealing with an illness or an injury is not fun. However, with the right approach to your training and recovery, you will find yourself at the next start line and finish line healthy again.
posted Monday March 13th
by Yana Hempler