Endurance athletes are “sitting ducks” for these due to the excessive training load required to attain sufficient fitness. Some common injuries are;
- Stress fractures – foot or shin. These are due to repetitive loading on the bone surface (periosteum) causing inflammation, and then deterioration of underlying bone tissue. They are treated with REST, ice, stetching of tight muscles and correction of biomechanics (taping, orthotics, wedges).
- Tendonopathies – Achilles and Patella. These are due to shear and tensile loading of tendon attachments, and cause pain and swelling in the tendon sheath. Treatment involves ice, specific exercise (eccentric loading) and biomechanical correction, but training can often CONTINUE while this treatment occurs.
- Burn out – Those who start ramping up their training kms too long out from their event can actually peak too early, resulting in decreased performance. Usually those with reasonable fitness base only require 8-10 weeks of progressive increase in distance, with some speed sessions interspersed. In the last two weeks prior to the event, total kms should be reduced (tapered) to allow the body to recover for competition/performance.
Many people begin training for these events, only to be plagued by injury. Train smart, hard, and not too long. Any niggle could become a big problem as you increase training load, so get on to them early and have them assessed.