Most injuries in a half marathon are related to the use of unreliable training program. When one implements such a program he or she is subjecting himself or herself not only to poor performance but to various injuries. There are also cases where the training program is reliable but one does not follow it correctly thereby leading to injuries as well. So one must design and follow a reliable half marathon training program and must be aware of still possible injuries which may be encountered before, during and after the half marathon event. Below are some of the common injuries and how one can prevent and treat them.
Injuries can result because of poor running equipment such as training shoes. Half marathon is such a demanding exercise that it places one’s body especially the legs through extreme pressure. Good shoes must have the support needed for the hundreds of miles one will be running. Foot blisters is one of the most common injury in a half marathon. Blisters can compromise one’s race when they occur and would upset the usual gait for a longer period of time. To prevent this from happening, during training you should experiment with combination of shoes, socks, drying agents, covering pads and lubricants to know which suits you. But in case you developed a blister the best thing to do is to stop and sterilize the area, drain it and then cover with a bandage.
The next common injury is a black toenail which is blood pooling under the nail. In half marathons this is usually caused by repeated trauma of one’s foot sliding forward in the shoe with each step. The type and the gradient of the running surface likewise can cause injuries. Chafing is also a common injury and this happens when skin rubs against skin. Underarms, nipples, under-breast, groin and thighs are often the areas which chafe. To avoid this from happening, one should always keep these areas dry by putting or rubbing cornstarch or lubricating them with petroleum jelly.
One should also be careful of food intake 48 hours before the half marathon. Stomach and bowel upsets are likewise common during a half marathon. One must not eat spicy food or drink alcohol or any unfamiliar. Caffeine intake must be limited before the half marathon and one must not overeat because this may cause a problem to one’s digestive system. One must use only energy snacks and drink which he or she knows will not have any ill effects. It is essential to know when one’s body needs water to keep from being dehydrated. The signs of dehydration are dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, stomach ache, back pain, headache, irritability and decreased urination. If one experiences any sign of dehydration, he or she should slow down or stop and drink water or a sport drink.
Hypernatremia happens when one drinks too much fluid and the body does not have time to eliminate it. This dilutes the salt concentration in one’s cells which is very dangerous. Nausea, headache, cramps, confusion, slurred speech, bloating and swollen hands are sign of hypernatremia. This is experience by runners who are drinking even if they are not thirsty. One must not drink when he or she is not thirsty. It is also common in competitive half marathon runners to hit the wall meaning completely running out of energy. To prevent this, you should drink full-strength sugared sport drink through the event. A runner can supplement it with energy gel or snacks. Sunburn and windburn is another half marathon injury. To avoid this one should wear a hat with a bill to protect the face and top of head. Lips can be protected by using a lip balm. Sunscreen should be applied to every bit of skin.
When the experiencing dehydration and salt depletion, one should stop and gently stretch and massage the cramped muscles. A runner can also experience classic leg cramps and he or she can have deep muscle massages, sprays such as deep heat/deep freeze and use joint support. The last common injury is a sprain ankle, pulled muscles or a stress fracture. When these happen one should discontinue with the race/event and seek medical attention.