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Date: 20 April 2018

Ahead of Sunday's London Marathon, we have five last-minute tips from one of our physiotherapists, Ruth Ashton.

  1. Stick to your planned pace: Don’t change plans at the last minute and try to run at a faster pace as you may end up getting injured or blowing up. Also consider the weather, it looks to be much warmer this weekend so you may need to adjust your pace and go a little slower to avoid over-heating.
  2. Be consistent: Plan to wear the same clothes and trainers that you have used in your training.  Eat the same breakfast and take the same race day gels, snacks and drinks that you have tried and tested.  
  3. Be organised: Make sure you have everything planned the night before including planning your journey to the start and attaching your race number to your running top.  Minimise any last minute stresses so that you are in the best possible head-space to have a good run.
  4. Have a mantra: Running a marathon is a mental as well as a physical challenge.  Mantras can help to distract from the pain and sometimes boredom of 26.2 miles.  One of my favourites is: “Stronger and stronger by the mile”.
  5. Enjoy yourself: The crowd support and views during The London Marathon make this run a very special day out.  Good luck and don’t forget to smile for the photographer as you run over Tower Bridge.

Picture of two runners, taken from ground level

You may also be interested in the following marathon related article from 6 April 2018

The London Marathon is fast approaching and despite the cold and wet weather, most of you are probably still trying to add miles to your runs. The last thing that you need right now is to pick up a running related injury. Whilst there is no absolute guarantee of this, our senior physiotherapists, Federico Febbraro and Daniel Bainton, have tips on how to reduce your risk of injuries in the weeks approaching the ‘big day’.

Follow these simple rules and you’ll reduce the risk of picking up a last minute injury.

  1. Don’t change your training plan: Make sure that you stick to your running plan and avoid doing too much to compensate for any lack of training or commitment. However, do take it easy if you’re consistently feeling run down and ache all over, specifically during runs.  If so you should reduce the volume and intensity of your workouts to get you charged up again.
  2. Stretch every day: Muscle and joint flexibility recovers after running via increasing lymphatic drainage and blood flow in the muscles. Stretch your lower limb muscles once a day for one minute each.
  3. Warm up: Prepare yourself for your runs. Move your body and limbs in a way that’s required to run. Start slowly and progress. Do form drills (strides, skips, shuffles and backward running).
  4. Eat and drink well: Your body needs nutrients and electrolytes before, during and after your training. Long runs are particularly demanding, make sure that you eat carbohydrates and good fats for fast and slow release of energy, and replenish electrolytes and proteins in the first 30 minutes post-exercise. Avoid ready meals which are full of preservatives and vegetable oils as they increase the risk of joint and muscle inflammation. Drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day to facilitate the cell metabolism and muscle growth.   
  5. Sleep your 7-8 hours a day: During sleep our central and peripheral nervous system recharges the batteries. Hormones are released to help your body repair itself and ease aches and pains.
  6. Do not change your trainers: Now is not the time to change your trainers, as your feet will need time to adapt and this may increase the risk of injury.
  7. Maintain strong legs: To improve your time and speed you’ll have to hit the road hard. However, research consistently shows that overall strengthening exercises, particularly for gluteal muscles and thighs can improve your performance and help to minimise your risk of injury.
  8. Vary your running surfaces and routes: This will prepare you for the big day but be careful when running in the wet or dark to avoid the risk of falling. Consider using a treadmill if it’s raining outside.
  9. What to do if you have pain: Every runner will get aches and pains. Most are minor and go away on their own. If you feel a minor ache then you can watch and wait for 3 days to see if it resolves without changing your running (but don’t run through severe pain). If it still persists after 3 days, then take 1-2 days off and reduce your mileage 50% for 3-5 days.
    Still there? Then come and see a physiotherapist at The London Clinic where we can keep you on track with your training on our state of the art Alter-G (anti-gravity) Treadmill or in our Aquatic Therapy pool. These are especially useful for people with joint pain. 
  10. Stress fractures: Some injuries should not be run through. Injuries that are around bone and don’t respond to typical treatment may be stress fractures. Some resolve but others can progress to full fractures e.g. femoral neck (hip) stress fractures can lead to full fractures. You should not run for a while if you have one of these.

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