Top tips for marathon runners

If you’ve entered to run the London Marathon this year, you may well be be clocking up some serious hours of training right now. Preparing correctly could mean the difference between completing the course in your personal best time and ending up with a painful sports injury.

But good preparation doesn’t just involve pounding the pavement.

According to Tyrone Kon, a physiotherapist at London’s Boost Physio – an official London Marathon Injury Clinic – it’s important to know what to do (and what not to do) when training for a marathon.

“These tips will help you stay on track, keep you confident and give you the guidelines you need to run a successful marathon,” he says. Here’s Tyrone’s advice:

Get the right shoes Before you do anything else, make sure you have a good pair of lightweight trainers that are well fitted and provide any stability you may need. A bad pair of trainers can lead to blisters, knee pain and conditions such as plantar fasciitis. You should run at least 10K in a pair of trainers before the big event. Under no circumstances should you ever wear new trainers for the actual marathon.
* A word about socks: just like trainers, you should never wear new socks for the actual event as it can lead to blisters. Make sure you’ve done at least one or two long runs in the socks you intend to wear for the marathon.
Stretch and stretch again Stretching is an important part to your training schedule for injury prevention. “Don’t stint on the stretching, not only is it essential but it sometimes helps to identify any niggles and potential problems,” says Tyrone.
Take rest seriously Make sure you get enough sleep, as your body needs to repair and those early morning pre-work runs can take their toll if you are not getting enough rest.
Hydrate and stay hydrated Remember to drink lots of fluids throughout each run. Dehydration can lead to muscle injury, because muscles use fluids and electrolytes to function properly during exercise.
Don’t fall off the wagon For best results, follow the London Marathon training programme. If for any reason you fall off the training wagon, or you get injured, the fastest way to get on track is to see a physiotherapist. They will be able to provide you with treatment if you need it and advice on how to get you back on schedule and help you reach your goals.
Avoid running on an empty stomach It’s never a good idea to run without fuel. If you’re not fuelled up you’ll get tired a lot faster and potentially cause damage to your muscles (because you’d be burning muscle). A sensible marathon diet can and will make all the difference to your training.
After the event If you do sustain any injuries, seek advice from a specialist physiotherapist who can provide treatment. Also consider booking a sports massage for after the event – you’ll be very glad you did.
If training for the marathon – or any sporting event or physical activity – is taking its toll on your muscles, your local pharmacist stocks products that can soothe your aches and pains away. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.