Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon
Flying Pig Wellness Team

It’s Time to Start Training

There’s a great t-shirt sold at a lot of the running expos that says, “Six months ago, this seemed like a great idea.” Well, it’s six months out from the 13th annual Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, and whether you’re planning the half or the full, (or as we like to call it, the ‘whole hog’), it’s time to start thinking about your training. Dr. Matt Busam from Cincinnati SportsMedicine and a member of the Flying Pig Wellness Team, has some tips on making your training fun, and safe.

I’ve decided I’m going to start training for the Pig! But the first couple of times I’ve been out running, I’m really sore. Is this something to worry about? And how do I treat it?
First of all, congratulations! Remember that one reason finishing a marathon is such a great accomplishment is that you worked so hard in training. Some soreness is to be expected, especially if you have never been a regular runner or have taken an extended break from running. Most soreness sets in 24-48 hours after running and can be treated with gentle stretching, ice (twenty minutes at a time) and limited use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or naprosyn. Be sure to follow the instuctions on the bottle and don’t exceed the recommended dosage. Cross-training in between running sessions can help as well; activities like swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical trainer are good choices.

Everyone says I need to push through the pain to keep training. But when is that dangerous?
“Everyone” is wrong! Rather than “pushing through pain”, it’s better to “nip pain in the bud!” All kidding aside, the most important thing is determining what kind of pain one is talking about. The marathon is a hard race and marathon training will undoubtedly have some (perhaps many) hard moments. Yes, you need to push through the desire to quit, the little voice in your head saying “walk” and that desire to get back in bed.

On the other hand, pushing through pain can sometimes be dangerous. Acute or sudden onset pain from an accident or misstep requires some time off. Swelling that does not resolve quickly, and any injury that makes you limp should not be “pushed through.”

When do I need to go see a doctor if the pain continues?
Swelling and limping are big ones. Trying to continue to train with these symptoms will often lead to worse injuries. Another bad sign is pain severe enough to require medication for more than a day or two, or pain that wakes you from sleep. Also, chest pain, or trouble breathing should be checked by your primary care doctor as soon as possible.

If I get hurt, am I done training?
Not necessarily, most running injuries don’t require surgery, but rather active rest and often time some physical therarpy. Cross-training often times allows runners to maintain fitness while recovering before getting back into full training.

Unfortunately, some injuries will require more extended time off. Listen to you doctor and don’t “push though” these or your running days might be over forever! Also, the Flying Pig offers a variety of distances over the course of the weekend, so even if your injury means you’re not ready for the marathon, a 5K or Half-marathon might still be possible.

Anything else I should know about training and injuries?
Don’t be too discouraged about an injury. Up to 2/3 of regular runners will have an injury in a given year. Being smart about your injury will often times allow you to return to running more quickly than “pushing through”. If you are a first- time marathon runner, be sure to have a training plan and set realistic goals. Cincinnati has lots of local training groups and the web can be a great resource for training plans as well. Good luck!