Jody’s Advice for Marathon Preparation, Running and Recovery
Tape up Trouble Areas
It’s very common for people to become injured or for old injuries to flare up when training for a marathon. Usually, we would recommend limiting or avoiding long distance running if you’re injured, but we understand that a lot of people with injuries are going to run regardless, as missing out on the marathon just isn’t an option for them.
That’s why we’ll be running a taping clinic in the lead up to the marathon to show you how to tape up trouble areas. Taping is a simple method that can offload irritated tissue immediately, provide additional support and significantly reduce symptoms for a wide variety of injuries. If you’re determined to run despite your pain, I highly recommend that you come and see us.
Eat Slow-Release Carbohydrates for Breakfast
Long distance running will rapidly burn through energy, so you want to prepare with a breakfast of slow release carbohydrates, such as wholegrain cereals, which will keep your energy levels consistent through the marathon. If your body depletes its glycogen too early, it’ll start eating away at your muscles for energy, leading rapidly to exhaustion (the dreaded “wall”) and a very sore recovery period.
Even the heartiest breakfast will still leave you needing top ups during a marathon, so some sugary drinks or gels consistently spaced throughout the run should give you the boost you need to keep going.
Don’t Eat or Drink Anything You’re Not Used To
Few events test your body more than a marathon, so it’s important not to throw any surprises at it. If you’ve been happily consuming a certain food or drink when you train, you’re better off sticking to that same routine on the big day than trying some new super breakfast which you heard will increase your performance. It’s more likely to slosh uncomfortably in your stomach and leave you feeling a bit sick.
This includes the week leading up to the marathon. I know runners who have treated that final week as an excuse to eat anything they like, but don’t underestimate how quickly you can pack on a few pounds and how sluggish a week of gluttony can make you feel on marathon day.
Get to the Start Line
This one may seem obvious, but I do have a point. The vast majority of people who start a marathon will finish it, with finishing rates for the London marathon at over 98%.
This doesn’t mean that you should show up to the start line without any training (though some people have managed that) but it does mean that even if you haven’t quite managed to hit your training goals and you’re otherwise healthy, you should still give it a go.
Running in groups is far easier than running solo, helping you to keep pace and stay motivated, while sheer willpower, determination and adrenaline will push you to achieve feats of endurance that would otherwise be impossible.
Book a Post-Marathon Massage
A post-marathon sports massage can significantly reduce the pain of recovery. You do have to be quick though: while a massage can still help with soreness in the following days, its effectiveness drops significantly after the first four or five hours after finishing the marathon.
Of course, this means that appointments for good sports massage therapists fill up fast, so make sure that you book yours well in advance.
If you need help preparing for the marathon, whether you want a one-off check-up or a detailed training programme, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7093 3499 and we’ll get you ready for the finish line.
Jody Chappell, MSc BSc MCSP HCPC