Avoiding illness and injury in the final month
Catching a cold or developing an injury in the final weeks before an important race can be an extremely frustrating experience. You’ve worked hard and made many sacrifices to be fully prepared then suddenly you’re in bed with the flu or dealing with a painful injury. May Day! Here are some tips to consider:
Prevent illness by supporting your immune system:
- Don’t over train. If you feel run down, take a day off your training plan.
- Get an extra hour of sleep at night, especially as training load increases.
- Eat right: immunity is support by both protein and carbohydrate. Choose lean proteins, whole grains, brightly colored fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Drink water on a regular basis to stay well hydrated.
- Limit exposure to germs: wash hands frequently, try to avoid touch your face, try to avoid air travel or day care centers especially after a long training run when your immune system is weakened.
Prevent a running injury:
- Don’t increase training load too quickly.
- Do dynamic movements to warm up before a training run.
- Balance your training program with strength and flexibility exercises.
- Have a running coach or running shoe store analyze your running form.
- If you have a history of recurrent injuries work with a physical therapist. Kaiser Permanente members can self-refer to Physical Therapists.
Too late for prevention? If you are sick or injured – rest. Continuing to train through an illness or injury will delay healing and recovery. Seek medical attention for specifics related to your condition.
Jacque Maldonado, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE
Jacque has a B.S. and M.S. in Nutrition and is an avid endurance athlete having finished four full Ironman® Triathlons and over 25 marathons including qualifying for Boston. She is also a USA Triathlon coach Level 1 and a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Jacque currently works in Kaiser Permanente’s Population & Prevention Services department.