Five secret tips to get you to and through a Marathon 👍
Well with the London Marathon only one month away, here at The Reinge Clinic we will rapidly be filling up with last minute injuries, we always do.
So in this blog we are going to highlight some of the common questions and injuries we see at this stage of the approach that lead to either confusion 😕 or injury 😞.
1) This is not the time to change your shoes!
One of the most common queries we get at this time is, "Are these shoes too worn to run the marathon in?" With a month to go, if they are at the end of their life, there is a good chance that are you will more likely create an injury by changing to a new shoe now, than you will by staying in them.
Running shoes have a life span of around three to five hundred miles but by the time they are worn out they will behave completely differently to a new unworn set and the behaviour of the shoe can affect the behaviour of your feet, knees, hips and back. Although it is a little late at this point, a good strategy in the future is to start using a new pair of shoes before your old ones are at full milage, using the older ones for the longer runs and the newer ones for shorter recovery runs, gradually increasing the ratio.
If you feel you really must change, perhaps due t an injury that threatens the race itself, then changing to exactly the same model gives a you a fighting chance, a complete change of make and model at late stage is usually a ticket to pay us a visit! Neutral shoe users stand a better chance of a successful late stage transition than those in motion control or supportive shoes, as the latter are, by definition, influencing how your feet and legs behave.
2) Should I taper?
That depends on were you are with your training. In an ideal world you would actually peak on race day and not taper at all. For many people however this is a scary proposition and they prefer to reassure themselves they can get through a marathon by virtually running the distance before the marathon or near to it ( 20 miles plus).
If this is the case then a taper of two to three weeks is a wise idea. Once you pass the twenty mile mark you are dicing with injury and overtraining and there will be no further significant gains to be had with a month to go and no fitness loss over a few weeks taper. An ideal taper would see you gradually lowering milage and intensity over two weeks, culminating in no runs and just getting good sleep, nutrition and sports massage in the final week before the marathon
As you gain more experience then the idea of peaking on race day becomes more attractive but you really need to be in control of your training as it leaves no wriggle room /recovery times for injury.
3) This is most definitely not the time to be attempting to change your gait. Maybe you have just had a gait analysis, but with one month to go, most suggested changes need to wait until after the run. A change of gait is actually a change of muscle firing patterns and muscle fibre usage. In effect you need to retrain gait gradually and from a new start. Major changes will result in an aerobic system that can run a marathon but muscle fibres that have never even experienced a mile of running, let alone twenty six miles. Here at The Reinge Clinic we can and frequently do guide subtle last minute gait changes if somebody is struggling with pain, but they are extremely carefully thought out with a clinical approach.
4) Get your hydration right!
This is a difficult one unless you have already been practising a system. But there is still time to practise. Water is readily available at drinks stations during most marathons and in the bigger ones isotonic drinks too. You need to consider that your initial glycogen reserves will start to wain within the first hour but it takes forty five minutes for an energy/isotonic drink to take effect. So that's one before you even start running! Really give this some thought with regards to at what time you expect to hit the eighteen mile mark, as sometime around here or shortly after you will hit 'the wall'. Approaching this well hydrated and well stocked on energy can make the difference between 'bumping' into the wall 😳and 'slamming'😵 into the wall, or if you really get it right........sneaking around the wall 🤣
5) Don't change what you wear or carry.
Suddenly deciding to carry a rucksack or a hand held water bottle changes the way you position your body quite significantly when covering a high milage. You can get away with it for a few three or four mile runs but over longer distances subtle weight distribution changes nearly always give rise to injuries occurring. This is one of the most common causes of high milage injury we see in the clinic. The first question we ask is have you changed anything?...........at all?. the answer is nearly always yes, but it something as simple as " I started wearing different leggings so now carry my house key in the front left side not the rear pocket I had in my other pair"......"but that cant make that much difference"...."surely?".
Sorry, it makes all the difference 😬
If you are attempting a Marathon for the first time this year, we wish you the best of luck with it. Enjoy the atmosphere, the crowds and the medal... oh and don't forget to book that Sports Massage in for a few days afterwards. You will feel so much better for it. 😀