Finish that marathon!

If you are training for the Marathon, you hopefully would have started a good few months ago to ensure a safe progression. I want to flag up a few tips to remind you of some important factors to keep track of.

A challenge like the marathon is incredibly rewarding but also very tough on the body. Increasing your exercise capacity to this level pushes the limits of endurance both physically and mentally.

But even though this can feel torturous at times you should not ignore recurrent pain or discomfort that persists after adequate rest. A common mistake is to push through and wait until pain prevents training before seeking care. By then, prolonged time off often is necessary to heal. It is estimated that 50 to 70 percent of first-time marathon runners drop out before their race.

Good marathon training practices.

Start slowly

Training for a marathon is best performed starting from a good fitness base. A gradual mileage increase of about 10 percent per week is what we’re preferably looking at. This means if you currently run 10 miles per week, a gradual increase to 40 miles should really take four months. Training errors such as too much too soon are one of the most common causes of injury.

If you do pick up an injury

First and foremost stop and get it assessed! However after that it is of course also important to maintain your strength and endurance as much as possible while recovering from your injury. If it prevents you from running, low-impact cardio exercise such as swimming, cycling or pool running can continue to improve exercise tolerance.
Don’t be over-anxious to return to running, a good indicator of readiness is once you can walk for 30 minutes without pain during or after, you can begin a slow, careful return to pain-free running.
If you miss more than two weeks, it is probably best restarting at 30 to 50 percent of your previous weekly mileage. If you missed more than six weeks, start with run/walk intervals until you can again run 30 minutes without bringing on pain.
If at any point you feel pain, go back a stage. Do not push through the pain.

Moving forward

As you increase your training and running, consider a biomechanical assessment. Slight problems in gait caused by many issues from footwear to posture to old injuries can cause new injuries (knees are particularly susceptible), or cause you to have to slow your pace or walk during the race.

How an osteopathic assessment can help in the run up to the London marathon.

We can assess and correct your postural symmetry, both running and in general. Most people favour one side of their body and lean a little. This may not cause issues in everyday life (although it often can) but when putting the body through lots of miles, both during the race and in training, a small imbalance can develop into far more painful and debilitating problems.

Even without problems, a good muscular treatment and joint mobility treatment can be very beneficial during training, especially when tightness has started to develop.

All in all listen and respond to your body throughout training and recovery, and that finish line is waiting for you!

by Andrew Doody Shine Holistic Resident Osteopath