By this time you would have - or should have! - been through the basics of getting the right shoes, a good training programme and regular stretching. However, after a few weeks of running we often see injuries start to develop.
There can be a number of underlying problems leading to these injuries but generally there is a common denominator…
Cardiovascular fitness tends to develop fairly quickly, followed by big (mobilising) muscle endurance. The problems start when the distance of the long runs starts to increase. The muscles that are responsible for controlling movement and the running cycle - the stabilising muscles - tend to take longer to develop the same endurance.
It is like having a powerful engine and a full fuel tank but weak supsension that starts to let you down halfway through the journey. Problems such as the first two above therefore tend to only be noticed a few miles into the long runs but progressively worsen as the miles go by.
The muscle strains tend to have a simpler cause: your body is being pushed to do more than it is currently able to cope with (or you have an underlying muscle imbalance). If you dont have a specific race in the diary and time is not an issue, and you could allow more rest time between runs together with the right stretches, the strength of the muscles and tendons will catch up and the problem would go away. In order to prevent this problem in the first place, the general rule of thumb increase your weekly distance by no more than 10%.
Is to act fast! As you rack up the miles, that little niggle is unlikely to get better. Make a pre-emptive strike and come and see a specialised physio first! Each day that goes by is a day closer to the race and a day less to get the problem sorted and you across the finish line. Unfortunatley, every year we have a few runners whose problems were not dealt with soon enough and we have been in the unfortunate position of having to advise them to pull out of their chosen event and set their sites on the following year!