Running The London Marathon? My Advice for First Timers!

This time last year I was in the final stages of training for the London Marathon. Nervous and excited in equal measure, I was determined not to fail at my first attempt.

On the day, I managed to complete the run in a little over 4 hours. It was hard, I will not lie, however it was also a truly magnificent experience. So, if you are fit enough and there is no medical reason why you should not participate, I say go for it and enjoy!

Obviously, the training is essential! If you’re thinking of doing a marathon you can’t skip the months of winter training which is vital in order to gradually build up endurance and fitness. However, with my personal experience of the event and as an osteopath, what else can I tell you that might help you during the final few weeks of training and for the big day?

  • The value of regular stretching cannot be stressed enough! Hopefully you are already doing this at each training session. However, do not forget that it is also vital on the day. A little jog followed by a short walk should be enough to warm you up before embarking on a few gentle stretches. Focus on the main muscle groups used in running, particularly your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves and also your back.  Try to continue stretching right up to the start of the run.
  • Ensure that you are wearing the correct footwear (light and with good support) and that your socks do not cause blisters. Similarly, ensure you are wearing comfortable, breathable clothing. Do not wear anything new. Wear your entire chosen outfit on at least two or three of your final training runs. You may find that Vaseline becomes your closest friend!
  • Eat a healthy low fat, high carb diet whilst you are training and on the morning of the marathon (approximately 3 hours before the start) have a good carb-filled breakfast to give you lots of energy. Remember to drink throughout the run, staying hydrated will be vital to your performance.
  • Once you start, remember to pace yourself. Start relatively slowly and gradually pick up the pace to your normal running speed. Do not be too influenced by the pace of other runners.
  • Tell yourself you can do it. A positive outlook will take you a long way!
  • Consider regular treatments as a preventative measure and if you get an injury see a professional sooner rather than later. Fortunately, my body held up last year, a testament to my colleagues at the clinic and all their treatment, help and advice.

If you require any further information please contact me or any other member of our team of osteopaths, sports massage and deep tissue therapists on tel: 020 8977 3295. Good luck!

Stuart Walker, Head of Practice, Teddington Osteopaths