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How to run a marathon successfully

Guy's and St Thomas' private physiotherapy

With less than a month to go till the London Marathon on Sunday 13 April, the Guy's and St Thomas' private physiotherapy service offers some top tips for success.

Avoid injuries

The cause of injury can generally be split into two groups: intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are linked to your Biomechanics. This can be static i.e. the way your anatomy is, or dynamic, which refers to how you move, the muscle imbalances you may have acquired and how this affects your joints.

Extrinsic factors are linked to training and equipment. This could be too rapid an increase in activity (e.g. mileage, speed, gradient), sudden return from lay off, a decrease in recovery time between training sessions, changes in raining surface, inadequate footwear or change of footwear.

Running holds a moderate to high risk of injury primarily related to the following factors:
• Impact forces of more than two times body weight.
• Forces involved with propelling body weight forwards.
• High repetition rate.
• Limited range of motion.

Running can highlight problems in your muscles and joints very quickly!

Don't forget you may still be able to cross train when recovering from an injury – we can advise you.

Get the kit

Good trainers are essential. They will wear down quickly with the distance you're covering in a good training schedule. You may need to replace them before you run a marathon but leave enough time to give the new pair a chance to wear in before race day.

Running shops can offer gait analysis to help you choose trainers with the right support for your individual foot biomechanics. Ask us for recommendations on the type of shoe and motion control to look for.

Good running socks and investing in specialist clothing to keep you warm/cool is also a good idea.

Improve your technique

Small adjustments really will lead to big gains, improving performance and preventing injury. Common mistakes include running with your body sloping forward or putting your toes rather than your heels down first. Run with a buddy so that someone can keep an eye on your technique or ideally book a professional physiotherapy assessment with us today.

Prevention is better than cure

At Guy's and St Thomas' Private Physiotherapy we offer one-hour assessments to screen for any problem areas. From this we tailor specific exercise programs to correct individual problems and give you appropriate training advice. This is particularly useful at the start of your marathon training as early intervention helps prevent injury that may otherwise delay your training.

Give us a call now on 020 7188 5097 to prevent those marathon-busting injuries!

How can physiotherapy help you?

If you do have an injury, stop running, use ice to ease the pain and rest up for a couple of days before trying to run again. If the pain persists you may need to book an appointment at our clinic for a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist opinion.

Physios can use for example manual therapy and manipulation, soft tissue techniques, ultrasound, acupuncture etc to speed recovery.

• Watch the London Marathon cross Tower Bridge on Sunday 13 April from 10am. See here [PDF] for details of marathon day road closures around Tooley Street.

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