Let’s face it, 2020 hasn’t turned out how any of us expected. One of the many changes to our lives this year has been the replacement of the 40th Virgin Money London Marathon – normally one of the highlights of the running calendar – with a virtual marathon taking place on Sunday 4 October.
London Marathon 2020 style
Up to 45,000 runners from the UK and around the world are expected to take part in this extraordinary event which gives participants 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds to complete 26.2 miles (equivalent to the normal London marathon circuit). Those taking part can either run, jog or walk and, with the event rapidly approaching, many participants are already training hard.
On the same day, some of the best marathon runners of all time – including Eliud Kipchoge and Keninsa Bekele – will be racing in a biosphere environment on a closed loop course around St James’s Park. They will be joined by Sir Mo Farah running as a pacemaker for British hopefuls attempting to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Increased injury risks
It is great that a British institution like the London Marathon has found a way to continue in some form despite the Covid-19 restrictions. However, for participants in The 40th Race Your Way it’s more important than ever to be aware of injury risks and to take precautions as they will be running alone with no officials on hand to monitor them or offer support if problems occur.
Tips to reduce your risk of injury
We regularly see sports-related injuries in the clinic, particularly linked to running, and a marathon often encourages people to push themselves further and faster than they might do otherwise. Here are some things you can do to reduce your injury risk if you’re participating in this week’s Your Way marathon:
Before the marathon
Invest in the right footwear
Whatever else you choose to economise on, don’t cut corners when it comes to running shoes. Wearing the wrong type of footwear can cause stress-related injuries, muscle strains and blisters. For socks, moisture-wicking synthetic materials without seams are ideal.
Build up gradually
When you are planning a training regime, it’s important to build up gradually and not to try and do too much too fast.
Build in other types of exercise
It is important to allow your body some recovery time in between long distance running by doing different types of exercise. Cross training is ideal as it builds muscle strength and swimming and biking can also be very beneficial.
Book a gait analysis
A gait analysis provides a detailed assessment of your running form, analysing your biomechanical movement and identifying any inefficiencies which might slow you down or increase your injury risk. It can be beneficial for both novice and experienced runners as it provides a comprehensive analysis of things like your posture and the way you land on your foot.
During the marathon
Warm up and cool down properly
Five to 10 minutes before you begin, make sure you carry out a proper warm up so your muscles are used to moving and there is less chance of strains and tears. Dynamic stretching is ideal. At the end of your run, an effective cool down routine will help to lower your heart rate and support your body to eliminate lactic acid from your muscles. A foam roller can increase blood flow which also lessens injury risk.
Listen to your body
The pain that comes from working your muscles hard is very different from the pain that tells you you’re doing too much. If you experience a pain that lasts more than a couple of days or that occurs every time you run or that changes the way you run, it’s important to stop. If it is severe or persistent you need to seek medical help as continuing to run with an injury can cause long-term damage.
After marathon – recovering tips
If you’re competing in the 40th Virgin Money London Marathon Your Way (or any long distance endurance run), it’s important to rest afterwards to allow your body time to recover.
Immediately after the run, it is good to lie on your back with the legs raised which helps to reduce fluid build-up in your legs. Drink little and often before, during and after the race and eat healthy food with an increased intake of carbohydrates to give your body a maximum energy store. Don’t plan to do too much after the marathon as your body needs time for rest, relaxation and sleep. If you have aches, strains or injuries try a cold water bath or ice wrapped in a wet towel to reduce any swelling. Gentle exercise such as swimming can help to remove waste products from your muscles and help your legs to recover without putting additional strain on your body.
If you sustain an injury in training or on the day, contact us for expert diagnosis and treatment. It is important not to continue running when you are injured, or you risk more serious long-term damage.
Carrothers Orthopaedics Consultations – Cambridge
Carrothers Orthopaedics is currently open and scheduling clinic appointments, as well as surgery. The safety of patients and staff remains our number one priority at all times. We are happy to discuss fully the risks and benefits of any proposed orthopaedic surgery, in the context of the ongoing UK Covid-19 pandemic.
Our consultation fees are clearly presented here.
For your convenience, we offer appointments at both Nuffield Hospital Cambridge and Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.