Preventing 'last minute' running injuries

Lots of you are anxious about doing all this training ahead of the London Marathon only to fall short at the final hurdle through injury. Here is some basic advice for avoiding last minute injuries.

Stretch a couple of times a day, ideally after or in-between training (more about stretching and what it really achieves coming soon!). Make sure that you are adequately fuelled and hydrated prior to every training session. Beware of training on hard surfaces- try to mix it up a bit and add some off-road elements to your running. Do not be a slave to your training log! Substitute a session with a swim, cycle or row if your body is telling you it needs a break from the compression forces that running creates then pick up your schedule again. Everyone will experience niggles, particularly in the early stages of training and then as you make it to your long runs, as the body adapts to the increasing load. These normally disappear. However, if you feel that you have a persistent problem developing, rest and seek advice immediately. Again, use the pool, bike or rowing machine to maintain your fitness as best you can whilst the injury heals, then return gradually to your running. You may have to change your expectations regarding your time goals if you’ve had to take a significant break.

Consider getting a biomechanical screening from a sport based physiotherapist or osteopath; it could be the very best present you give your body in return for carrying you all those miles! A bit like an MOT for the body; screening is a useful tool for runners to identify risk factors. Asymmetries in posture and spinal alignment and anomalies such as leg length, ‘knock knees’ and bowlegs can be addressed, and training techniques implemented to reduce the extra load that these may cause. It’s not too late to implement some ‘physio training’ and gain in injury protection and performance.  It’s always good to mix up training and we have a saying in our clinics that ‘no runner should just run’. If you haven’t before, think about joining a Pilates or Yoga class but make sure that the class size is small (less than 10) as both of these disciplines require proper monitoring and correction. There are also various running based classes around- there is one in the pool where our Richmond clinic is based at Cedars! Finally, think positively and try not to anticipate injury. Enjoy your running!