Marathon Man - Week 4: How to train injury-free

Publication: The Jewish Chronicle
Date: March 30, 2007

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How can we shape our training sessions to help us avoid injury?

  • By wearing Sorbothane insoles in our well-cushioned shoes, and by wearing calf and knee supports.
  • By warming up (say, two minutes stepping) then stretching for five minutes (concentrating on the calf muscles) before starting the run. We can assist the warm-up by using a cream such as Deep Heat (which has a strong menthol smell) or Transvasin (which is not strong- smelling).  At the end of the run, again stretch for five minutes.
  • By having a day off between runs, to assist repair of the microtears in muscle fibres that are the cause of muscle soreness. Four runs per week is completely adequate for marathon preparation, if each lasts at least an hour and one is sixteen miles plus.
  • By running on a running track. It provides a well-cushioned surface, and you do not run the risk, as you do on grass, of putting your foot down a pot-hole and twisting your ankle. At a track you also have the advantage of toilet facilities nearby, you can monitor your speed easily, and you can bring along your own fan-club for moral support. If you are running during the local athletics club's training session, keep an ear open for their calls for you to give way as they run past. The UK Running Track Directory can be found at

If you do get injured, don't be despondent, and do allow yourself the time off running to recover. Hopefully you can maintain your fitness through swimming, and you may surprise yourself by how quickly you get back into your running once the injury has healed.

Brian Sacks