Preparing for the Chicago Marathon: Injury Prevention
Nothing is more frustrating for a dedicated runner than setbacks caused by injury. While, depending on each individual’s skeletal and muscular makeup, some injuries are unavoidable, there are a variety of preventative measures you can and should take before tackling something as big as the Chicago Marathon.
“Throughout your training it is important to properly care for your muscles before and after each workout as preventative maintenance,” says Paul Groshko, owner of Spavia Lincoln Park. “Make sure you include heat and cold therapy, proper stretching, and massages in your training regimen to take care of your body in preparation for the upcoming marathon.”
Stretching is the number one thing every athlete should do both before and after every run to relieve pain and as preventative maintenance. Muscles can become tight and form trigger points, also known as knots, which can be painful and limit normal function of the muscles. The Rad Helix is a great tool (available at our in-spa boutique) to roll back and forth across your muscles to get the fullest stretch.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapies work by either increasing or decreasing blood flow to the area, respectively. Heat therapy is ideal for muscle tightness and soreness, as it will help aid circulation to eliminate lactic acid buildup and provide an influx of oxygen. Try a heating pad for relaxation and calming muscle spasms. Icing sore muscles will calm circulation to reduce inflammation and pain caused by swelling or bruises. Never use heat if there is swelling, and when in doubt, use a cold therapy first. Remember to wrap heating pads or cold packs in a thin towel and place on the area for only 20 minutes at a time.
A tennis ball is a super simple tool you can use to give yourself an at-home massage, applying pressure to problem areas in your neck, back, arms, legs, and feet. Simply place the ball between the muscle and a hard surface, then apply pressure with your body weight while rolling the ball different directions. Doing this daily can help prevent muscle soreness from worsening.
For professional care, both deep tissue and hot stone massages provide cumulative benefits — the more treatment you receive, the better the results. The best time to schedule a massage is three to five days before an actual event or strenuous workout.
A proper injury prevention plan is key to preparing for a successful marathon. Stop in at your spavia Lincoln Park and find the treatment that will help you complete a successful marathon.