How to Avoid Injury When Training for your first marathon

We're approaching that time of year again, the autumn marathons are drawing to a close and everyone is starting to think about post Christmas training plans. If you're running London, Paris, Manchester, Brighton then you'll likely be kicking off with training late December, and we're here to help. The build up to April marathons is our busiest and favourite time of year at Balanced Osteopathy, and so we want to share a few tips for those of you who might be doing this for the first time, to help you get to that start line .

1) Make sure you have a base line - bodys don't like when we go from 0-60 in 2 seconds. Most training plans assume a level of running from week 1, so if you go from nothing to a 20k week, or a 7k week to a 20k week, you're putting yourself at increased risk of injury and starting on a backfoot straight away. Use these next few months to build up nice and slowly so that you're ready for what your training plan is going to ask of you.

2) Follow the 10% rule - most running injuries are a result of biomechanical overload, an 'overuse' injury as opposed to tripping up and spraining your ankle 'acute' injuries. So the best way to mitigate the risk of running injury is to build up your mileage each week by 10% only. Often when a runner comes in to our clinic with an injury, we can look back over their running data and see an accidental spike or jump up in the mileage or number of training sessions. Document your running data, track what you're up to and avoid this pitfall to stay healthy.

3) Make sure your trainers arent off the shelf - off the shelf trainers are a false economy. The ability of a trainer to completely effect your running style is very real, it's not just a clever marketing campaign. Don't wear what everyone else is running, get a gait assessment done and get what works for your body (your whole body, not just your feet)

4) Find out your weak areas and work on them - this is where we come in, see a professional who can tell you which areas of your body could do with benefiting from strength work, what you should focus on with your mobility work and any tweaks you could make in your running gait if you're already having a few niggles.

5) Number 4 links nicely with Number 5 - Cross training - The best thing about running more is that your body gets really good and strong at running. That's good news right? Well, kinda. It's important to cross train e.g. strength training, to make sure the areas of your body that running doesn't work that much, aren't just getting weak and lazy. This can put us at increased risk of injury, so it's really important to mix up your running sessions with something that challenges your body in a different way.

6) Love thy roller - don't have a foam roller? Buy one, do it now. And whilst you're at it, get a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball too.

7) And thy sports massages - sports massages aren't just for elite athletes, they're such a great tool for keeping the body in check (preventing injury) and aiding recovery from your heavier sessions. We recommend booking your sports massages in in advance, around your planned training sessions - you might not need much in the beginning, but they'll be a saviour as your mileage bumps up.

8) Don't panic when things don't go to plan - had a cold one week and had to taper back your training? This happens and it happens to every