It’s a major undertaking…26.2 miles (I’ve been sternly told never to leave out the 0.2…). And it’s on in Dublin in less than 3 weeks!
On average people have put up to 16 weeks of structured preparation into training to run the marathon, running between four and six times a week, with a long run at the weekend. They are asking their bodies to maintain a running motion for up to 4 hours or even more, depending on their fitness levels.
At Total Physio, we’re very busy at the moment treating marathoners, suffering with little niggles and aches. The vast majority of these are due to their bodies adjusting to the long runs and maybe from a bit of overuse from all the training. These will resolve (with the proper TLC) by marathon day and not cause any significant problems.
So what do you do, if you feel something sore, at this late stage in your marathon preparation?
Once you feel that little niggle, stop IMMEDIATELY. Begin icing the area immediately and call us here at Total Physio for help. We have slots available within 24 hours, so call early in the morning to get in that day. At this stage, many runners will try to run through any niggles. They get worried that they will be told to rest from running, and that this could cause them to lose their fitness. This will not happen. Running on an injury is much more likely to affect your marathon prospects than taking some time off to recover from injury. Your fitness has been built up with months of hard training. You will not lose your fitness in the final 2.5 weeks. If you push your training at this stage, you actually risk getting injured.
Note that the majority of running injuries are overuse injuries. An overuse injury is caused by repetitive trauma or overload of tissue. We can help you deload the tissues and get you over the line.
Total Physio’s top tips for the final few weeks:
- Keep following your training programme – resist the temptation to keep doing long runs. Tapering is as much a part of your marathon training as building up your endurance was
- Do not train if you’re unwell
- Dynamic warm up with nice fluid movements through the range of motion to prepare your body for the job ahead
- Good slow cool downs with plenty of static stretches
- Regular Massages, weekly if you can, until the final week
- No deep tissue massage for the 4 days prior to the marathon as it could dehydrate you, as well as leaving your legs feeling bruised and heavy on the day
- Use a foam roller on your quads, calf muscles, and buttocks in particular
- Flexibility work to stretch tight muscles DAILY
- Get an extra hour of sleep every night from now on
- Make sure you get a great night’s sleep 2 nights before the marathon, (you may be awake with nerves the night before)
- Continue to eat appropriately for the training you are doing, and make sure you are used to eating the food making up your pre marathon meals
- Adequate fluids for hydration
- Ice baths are great for recovery
If you’re running the marathon and you have a niggle, please call us on 01 213 7000 and we can chat about what you need to get you over the line.