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The London marathon, one month approach to the start line… Feeling uneasy?

The clocks are ticking! Are you feeling a bit nervous in the last months run up to the London Marathon? Unsure if you are training too little, too much or if that niggle in your calf is real or an illusion?

So for those of you who started training for this ages ago, well done, you have made it this far and you’re probably good to go. For those of you who started last week, I wish you luck… Unless you’re a marathon guru, in that case you probably don’t need to be reading this.

In previous retrospective research on marathon runners it shows that one big reason for pulling out due to injury or getting injured during the run is changing something in the last month before a marathon. A common misconception is that you need to push yourself to be running long distances and very often. However, check out our last blog on doing too much training and not enough rest which puts you at a higher risk of injury. When I say change something, I mean anything from running quantity to footwear. Yet things like getting more sleep, keeping hydrated and improving your nutrition in the month run up is a very good idea to decrease your risk of injury.

So how many times should you be training?

Good question and there is no text book answer. If you have been training regularly with 3-5 runs a week and changing up your distances, you’re on the right track. An article has shown that training over 5 days a week with regular long distance runs has a higher incidence of injury in marathon runners, especially those that are fairly new to the marathon world. If you have a good plan going, don’t go changing it due to these statistics, if it feels like it’s working for you, stick to it. Incorporating some strength training, balance training and a good recovery in these training sessions will help your body become stronger and help decrease your risk of injury. That is not to say that now would be the time for you to get your personal best on your squats and deadlifts, but a bit of activation will help.

If you are looking to improve your running technique and minimise the risk of injury, perhaps consider a running assessment. A number of Physio’s at Capital Physio offer this as part of our new RunFit service.

Pain starting to creep up on you?

If you have those niggles, tight muscles and when things start to affect your training and day to day, just get them checked out. I know you’re probably like me and think you are a bit invincible, but admittedly I need to ask for help from time to time from a professional. Tightness and soreness can be natural from the high intensity training but they tend to build into something problematic and a physiotherapist or massage therapist can guide you and give you a push towards the start line (and hopefully finish line).

Heard of warming up?

Most likely, but lets be honest, most people don’t know the meaning of the word. There are lots of questions about  what the best warm up is and if it reduces injury. Well, again, there is no bible when it comes to warming up. There has been a lot of research into the use of different warm ups and if they reduce injury risk but minimal research has been done with runners. Basically, a warm up helps get your muscles ready for exercise and increases blood flow. Routine is key, if you are doing a warm up that works for you then keep it up. I suggest using a combination of dynamic stretching, some exercise to get your heart rate up for a short time and it is useful to use the first mile or two to ease into your run and get comfortable for the road ahead (we all know the ones that sprint off into the start suffer at the end!)

For all of you brave souls tackling the London Marathon this year I wish you the best of luck and most of all, enjoy it! For those of you having to pull out due to injury or other reasons, keep your head up there is always next year.


Article by Elena Jobson, Senior Physiotherapist at Capital Physio’s Cannon Street and St. Paul’s clinics