Over the past several months we have seen hundreds of marathon runners in the clinic with aches and pains that threatened their marathon training. If you are running the London Marathon this Sunday or any other marathon this year, here are our Complete Physio top 10 tips for the week before the big race and some considerations for race day itself!

TIP 1: ‘Nothing new”! It is essential the week before the marathon not to start anything ‘new’. Keep to your routines – if you normally go to bed at 10pm then don’t change it now. The week before the race is not the time to try new shoes, a new hydration drink, energy gel or a new racing shirt purchased at the expo. If it hasn’t been tested through the rigours of your training don’t do it!

TIP 2: Relax – there is no physiological benefit the week before the race to do any significant training and you won’t lose your fitness if you don’t run much! All the hard work is done and you need to rest your legs but keep mentally stimulated (to help avoid getting anxious!). Go about your normal routine, but get off your feet whenever possible. Run according to your training plan taper and relax.

TIP 3: Sleep! To run the marathon you need to have slept well the week before. Have a bath 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep and stay off your laptop (unless you are reading this of course!!) You may struggle to sleep much the night before the marathon especially if it is your first one, but don’t worry this is normal. Make sure you get some good nights sleep 2-3 days before race day!

TIP 4: Consider your race strategy. You have more chance of achieving your time if you have a clear strategy and a time goal. If you feel great on the day and feel like pushing your self harder – beware – if you haven’t trained at that pace you will may hit the ‘wall’! Stick to the plan, follow your watch and discipline yourself. Most marathons have a ‘pacer’ for your time so stick with one of them if thats the plan!

TIP 5: Study the course: Maybe run, bike, or drive (difficult in London!) a portion of the course. This will help familiarise yourself with the course and will help you psychologically on the day. It’s always good to know where you’ll hit some hills and how frequent the water stops and porta-potties are!

TIP 6: On the Saturday put all your race kit on and go for a short 10-20 minute jog. Put your race bib (number) on with safety pins. On the race day don’t forget your suncream and a product to prevent chafing (Vaseline for your nipples!!)

TIP 7: Stay hydrated – Urine too yellow? Drink more. Crystal clear? Back off. You’re looking for a lemonade shade. Don’t drink alcohol the week before as it will dehydrate you.

TIP 8: Food! You should be eating about 65-70% of your calories from carbs in the days leading up to your race. Don’t stuff yourself at dinner the night before. People say, “Too much ‘loading’ can lead to ‘unloading’ during the race.” Poor choices for carbo-loading tend to be high-fat foods such as french fries, crisps, doughnuts, buttery croissants, creamy pasta meals and cheesy pizzas. Good choices are oats, basmati rice, pasta with tomato-based sauces, English muffins, wholemeal toast and plenty of fruit and vegetables. But again…’nothing new’ make sure you go with what you have trained with and your body is use to.

TIP 9: DONT WALK AROUND THE EXPO FOR HOURS – wear your running shoes and don’t get tempted to buy a new pair of trainers, socks or orthotics for the race day!

TIP 10 (and the most important): Enjoy your day! Smile at the crowd, feed of there energy and go for or it!!! Crossing the line is one of the best feelings in the world – I have done it, so I know it!

Here’s a link to the official Virgin London Marathon final instructions designed to provide you with all the information you need so you don’t have any unwanted race day surprises. Have a read, make sure you know where your starting area, bag drop etc are:

London Marathon Online Final Instructions (PDF)

If you have found this useful please tweet us @CompletePhysio. We wish everyone running the London Marathon this Sunday or other marathons this year the best of luck! If you have any burning questions about your preparation then please don’t hesitate to email me on chris@complete-physio.co.uk

Best of luck!