With the London marathon imminent, runners sights will be firmly set on Sunday 13 April - and, of course, the finish line.
But the months of training are far from over. The final paces leading up to race day are crucial to your performance on the day and are vital if you want to avoid injury.
Thankfully experts from London Bridge Hospital, one of the registered injury centres for the London Marathon are on hand to bring advice to master the marathon.
Simon Moyes, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at London Bridge hospital: “If you start having persisting pain, get this investigated early. Adjusting your running style to counter pain will just have a damaging effect on other parts of the body so if a persistent pain is affecting your ability to run, get checked out. If pain comes on after finishing the race, and does not get better with rest, get referred to an appropriate specialist as early as possible."
Lucie Noble, senior physiotherapist at London Bridge Hospital, offered the following tips on how to prevent injury.
- Keep it simple and consistent – try and do on race day exactly what you’ve been doing on your long training runs. Wear the same running clothes and trainers, eat the same breakfast and take on the same fluid and snacks throughout the race that you have been in training
- The last supper – your last meal should ideally be a carbohydrate rich meal eaten 3-4 hours before the start time, plus a further snack one hour before. It is also a good idea to try and take on 400-600mls of fluid in the last 60-90 minutes before the race
- Stay practical – pack a blister pack and put a thin layer of Vaseline on your feet and around your toes. Bring an old jumper and tracksuit pants – it’s important that you stay warm at the start. There is likely to be a lot of hanging about waiting to cross the start line; if it is cold your muscles will cease up
- Turn anxiety into energy – today there is no more training that you can do to build endurance and strength. You’ve already spent months preparing yourself physically. Today, the most important thing you need to concern yourself with is your mind. You have to remember that you’ve trained well for this race and that your body is capable of running the full 26.2 miles
- Set smaller challenges – break the race into manageable chunks. 26.2 miles is a very long way so give yourself mini goals and enjoy the feeling of achievement throughout the race
- Remember your game plan – having run at least 20 miles in training you will have a good idea of your pace and predicted finishing time. Try not to let the adrenaline on the day affect this – don’t go off too quickly, and keep your pace steady
- Enjoy it – marathons are fun! The race has crowd support and scenery that you haven’t seen before. You’re the superstar today. Never let your competitive mind overpower your enjoyment. When you’re happy and relaxed, you’re a better runner