Whether you’re a running newbie or a seasoned vet, every athlete must practice safe training techniques to improve your race time and perform at an optimal level. We’ve gathered an experience team of PTs, athletic trainers, and runners to share everything you need to know about training this fall!

We're joined today by Emily Rimler, a physical therapist and avid runner, Tony Cukierski, a certified athletic trainer who has competed in both triathlons and Ironman competitions, and Lynette Carlson, ATI Sports Medicine supervisor.

“One of the most important things marathon runners can do it let their bodies rest, especially if they feel a pain coming on,” says Emily. “Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is not working right and needs attention for proper healing.  Overuse injuries are very common during the training process, and skipping one or two long runs will not inhibit one’s ability to finish the marathon.”

Before even hitting the pavement, Emily suggests that each runner undergo a gait analysis.

“Gait analysis can help stop a problem before it even begins or becomes chronic, which will result in a much smoother training process,” Emily says.

After analyzing your gait, a physical therapist can provide suggestions on how to improve your gait and reduce the risk of injury. Often times, suggestions include learning and incorporating new stretches and exercises into your training routine to help you ward off future injuries. (We offer free gait analysis service at any our 160+ clinics, so if you’re ready to race this fall, be sure to stop by and get your gait analyzed!)

In addition to resting and undergoing gait analysis, our ATI Injury Analyst team provides these tips:

- Do not alter your lifestyle (eating, fluid intake, sleeping) routine too drastically on race week.

- Do not incorporate supplements, shoes, or gear that you have not trained with prior to race day.

- Find what works for you. Everyone’s training will be different and just because “Mr. Smith” is doing it doesn’t mean it will work for you.

- Research training programs online: Find one that fits your timeline and personal needs.

- Start slow and increase mileage slowly.

- Have a goal finish time to establish training pace. Consider GPS or watches that track your pace.

- Cross-train with swimming, biking and yoga – these will all contribute to overall performance.

- Incorporate strength training with resistance and weights to strengthen your body, especially your core.

- Choose proper footwear. Many running stores specialize in marathon footwear, so take advantage of their expertise. Shoes need to be replaced every six months if used weekly, or every 500 miles. Moisture-wicking socks will help prevent blistering.

- Go into each run well-hydrated. Besides water, replacing electrolytes is also important. Add salt, electrolyte chews or gel packs and/or sports drinks to your diet. Water belts can be very useful along your run to keep you hydrated.

- Prevent chaffing with moisture-wicking apparel and with body lubricants found at most sports retailers.  Be aware of weather conditions throughout your training to prevent over-exposure to sun, heat and cold.

- Consider a monthly massage to soothe overused muscles. You deserve it!