Having worked at the London Marathon 2016 I wanted to share the experience and the runners I encountered at the pre and post race massage and offer some advice to anyone wanting to take part in a marathon.
Before the event I was helping people get taped up with Rocktape and provide sports massage to the competitors. I was AMAZED at the state of people coming in for massage before the race. Some had shin splints, some had a long term injuries and some just had the classic overzealous training regime.
The list of injures included:
Knowing what I know, the risks I feel don't outweigh the desire to finish 26.5 miles of road running with any sort of niggle. Everything gets exaggerated with a race of such high demand. However, if you've done minimal training or have some niggles then I would suggest running a few miles with and walking 1 and flipflop these. .
The best advice can I give you for your first race is to see someone who knows about the stress of training. Even if you have done some running previously and think you're fine, that injury from the past will come out of the cupboards and cause you trouble.
If you've already started training and you have some pain GO AND SEE SOMEONE! Chances are it will get worse and leaving it for a day before is too late.
Common warning signs through your training are:
Starting a run with some pain
After your run, your pain doesn't go away after 3-7 days resr
30 minutes into your training run you have pain
Following the race, it was a totally different story. The individuals who came in the first 2 hours weren't in bad shape, however after this came those with physical and emotional stress on another level.
Some where physically exhausted, could barley walk and an undignified shuffle was all their legs would let them do. Some were so emotionally drained that they just lay down and didn't say a word.
I have much admiration for those that finished, however there wasn't enough training, stretching or looking after themselves before the marathon for about 80%. On the other than hand, they managed to do something when the odds were very much stacked against them and massive credit goes to them.
The biggest take home message from seeing all of the runners was that you need to look after your body if you want to do an event. Plan your training before the marathon. THink about it logically
Week 1-4, get a body health check and get in at least 8-10 runs
Week 5-9, start regular running and treat yourself to a massage
Week 10+, keeping the motivation high will be tricky, use your friends for runs!
I will write another blog post with regards to some of the best ways to prepare for a marathon when I get round to doing my first one.