Running is associated with numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of hypertension, stroke, heart disease and more.

Though seen as an enjoyable and effective method of exercising, running can lead to injuries, especially when training for a long-distance event like a marathon.

Common marathon running injuries include:

  • Shin splints – pain along the shinbone, the large bone in the front of your lower leg.
  • Achilles tendinitis – overuse of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to the heel bone.
  • Runner’s knee – pain behind or around the kneecap, especially where the thighbone and the kneecap meet.
  • Plantar fasciitis –stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot caused by inflammation of a thick band of tissue called the plantar that connects the heel bone to the toes.
  • IT (iliotibial) band syndrome – result of inflammation and irritation of the IT band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin.
  • Stress fractures – a tiny crack in a bone or severe bruising within a bone caused by repetitive stress or force.

Here are 9 steps to prevent injury when training for a marathon:

  • Make a plan. Consult with a trainer to create a plan that will be the most beneficial in taking your current abilities to the next level in order to reach your long-term goals.
  • Give yourself time. Running programs may vary depending on your goals and current physical capabilities. Be sure to start with enough time to get your body ready for race day.
  • Warm up. Add a brisk walk and stretches to your routine before starting your run. Exercising without proper preparation before activity may increase the chances of injury.
  • Hydrate adequately. Waiting until you are thirsty is often too late.
  • Listen to your body. A little bit of discomfort is OK. However, if symptoms do not improve with a decrease in training time and intensity, visit your health care provider.
  • Cross train. Add activities such as swimming or cycling to your program. This will help you improve muscle strength and avoid overuse injuries due to repetitive motions.
  • Find footwear that fits. Your body will reap the rewards when you invest in socks and shoes that are right for your foot and body type.
  • Strength train. Add some ab and weight-training exercises to your routine. Heavy lifting may hinder your running routine, but doing exercises to help prevent joint injuries and strengthen your core muscles will lead you to success!
  • Cool down. Although often overlooked, this step can help tremendously with recovering after a long, hard workout.