Can Anyone Run A Marathon?
June 29, 2021
Yes, of course, all you need is to train, and if you are ready to TRAIN.
😥For many people, it’s the toughest physical challenge they’ll tackle in their lifetime.
🤕A drawback of running is the relatively high risk of injury, with an incidence varying between 19-79%.
⚖️80% of running disorders are overuse injuries, resulting from a mismatch between the resilience of the connective and supporting tissue and running.
Poorly perfused tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, are particularly at risk because they adapt more slowly than muscles to increased mechanical load
😮However, 35% of first-time marathoners are unable to complete the race due to injury.
It is a running event with a distance of 42.195 km.
🤓How then is the distance of the marathon derived?
The distance between the two cities i.e., Greece and Athens is approximately 40.8km along the longest southern route. And this was also the route used during the first Olympic Games back in 1896.
✍🏼Intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can contribute to overuse injuries include:
  • Dynamic biomechanics: Hip and core weakness can lead to biomechanical changes that may contribute to injury as above.
  • Personal factors: Sex, age, genetics, static biomechanics, etc.
  • Training patterns and volume: Some studies have found mileage greater than 40 miles per week to be a risk factor for lower extremity overuse injuries in long-distance runners.
  • Health and lifestyle: This includes, nutrition, sleep, smoking habits, comorbidities, BMI, and bone mineral density.
  • History of prior overuse injury: Consistently found to be one of the greatest risk factors for recurrent injury.
🏃🏼‍♀️First-time marathon runners found that half experienced an injury that interfered with their training in some capacity.
🏃🏼About 10% in each group experienced major injuries that prevented them from completing the marathon.
👟The risk of injury during training is somewhat associated with a lack of half marathon experience and averaging ≥4 training runs per week. Longer training runs were associated with a lower incidence of race-day injuries. 
🤕The most common injured sites in men and women are the same, however, the proportions for each site differ.
🚺The main difference is that women have a larger proportion of knee injuries (40% of all injuries), relative to men, who experience a similar proportion of knee (31%) and ankle-foot (26%) injuries.
This difference may be due to structural differences between males and females, or functional differences in running biomechanics
🔍Based on scientific literature, running-related injuries per 1000 h of running ranged from a minimum of 2.5 in long-distance track and field athletes to a maximum of 33.0 in novice runners
  • Increase your volume at an appropriate pace (rule of thumb: do not increase by more than 10% of your total volume per week)
  • Address any strength deficits that may be contributed to fatigue-induced changes in biomechanics (pay particular attention to hip/butt/core strength)
  • Mix in softer surfaces and cross-training days to give your body a break
  • Ensure that your nutrition is aligned with what you are expending in your training
  • Biomechanics and running efficiency (running economy)
  • Avoid continuing to train in shoes that have seen more than 300 miles
  • Know your limits and listen to your body
  • Resting and cross-training are as important as running
  • Proper training plan and time: how long you should train depends on your fitness level and goal
  • Work on individual aspects, such as avoiding recurrence of previous injuries
1. Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Syndrome): associated with muscle imbalances and poor ergonomics.
2. Achilles Tendinitis: associated with improper training, rehab consist of muscle stretching, strengthening, foot orthotics, etc
3. Hamstrings Pull: poor balance of the hamstring and other leg muscles (as seen in my previous post). Associated as well with improper training and warm-up.
4. Plantar Fasciitis: poor foot biomechanics (as seen in my previous post)
5. Shin Splints: also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (as seen in my previous post). Mostly occurs at the beginning of an exercise program and proper training is needed to prevent a recurrence.
6. Iliotibial Band Syndrome: associated with repeated stress and overuse. one of the most common causes of ‘Runner’s Knee’ and can account for up to 22% of overuse injuries in runners. It is essential to evaluate and correct imbalances in the lower limb muscle.
7. Stress Fracture: occur when tired muscles can no longer absorb the shock from the repeated impact of running. Most often occur when there is a sudden change in the circumstances of running. Stress fractures most commonly occur in weight-bearing bones of the foot, shin, and ankle.
Yes, you can train and run a marathon. However, it is important to cover all of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors which involved running such as distance and training loads.
A lot of athletes start running after they finish their sports careers. This is possible, however, certain training needs to be followed, in order to tolerate the stress provoked.
Francis, P., Whatman, C., Sheerin, K., Hume, P., & Johnson, M. I. (2019). The Proportion of Lower Limb Running Injuries by Gender, Anatomical Location and Specific Pathology: A Systematic Review. Journal of sports science & medicine18(1), 21–31.
Toresdahl, B., McElheny, K., Metzl, J., Kinderknecht, J., Quijano, B., Ammerman, B., & Fontana, M. A. (2021). Factors associated with injuries in first-time marathon runners from the New York City marathon. The Physician and sportsmedicine, 1–6. Advance online publication.
van der Worp, M. P., ten Haaf, D. S., van Cingel, R., de Wijer, A., Nijhuis-van der Sanden, M. W., & Staal, J. B. (2015). Injuries in runners; a systematic review on risk factors and sex differences. PloS one10(2), e0114937.
Videbæk, S., Bueno, A. M., Nielsen, R. O., & Rasmussen, S. (2015). Incidence of Running-Related Injuries Per 1000 h of running in Different Types of Runners: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.)45(7), 1017–1026.