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How strength training can improve your marathon preparation

Published: 28/03/2018

With the London Marathon fast approaching and the weather slowly improving, it is that time of year again where people are grabbing their trainers and hitting their local roads, parks and tracks to prepare themselves for the ultimate physical challenge.  Tracey, one of The Lister Hospital’s Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists at The Chelsea Physiotherapy and Sports clinic, has been providing some insight into how physiotherapy can strengthen your marathon training this season:

It is well known that running offers many great health benefits, such as increasing strength and fitness, however like most sporting activities it can also pose risks. The Lister Hospital’s Chelsea Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic treat many clients preparing themselves for a marathon, whether total beginners or experienced long distance runners.

As the marathon season gets into full flow, we are seeing more and more people increasing their weekly training. We have many clients come to see us, normally following an increase in training volume. This happens most frequently when they are increasing their mileage to 15-20 miles, or have started to vary their running patterns, such as increased tempo runs. A variety of different running related injuries present themselves, with the two most common that we see around this time being Anterior Knee pain and Achilles tendinopathies.

There is more incentive nowadays for people to get active. The internet provides a whole host of information regarding marathon training plans. These online plans normally involve a gradual increase in mileage over several weeks, however very few of them include any strength and conditioning elements. Increasing the load we put through our tendons and muscles, whether this is increase in mileage or increase in frequency of sessions throughout the week, can cause an overload. This results in tissue breakdown which then exceeds the rate at which tissue building occurs, leading to injury as the tissue becomes less efficient at dealing with the increase in load.

Recent research has suggested that by practising strength training, the chance of sports injuries can reduce to less than a third, with injuries as a result of overuse being halved.  Strength training with one of our physiotherapists is tailored to the individual needs of the client. At the clinic, we assess personal goals, strengths and weaknesses to offer individual strength and conditioning training advice, as well as running gait analysis that can work alongside your current training plan.

A program that is bespoke and individual to the client’s needs can be created to ensure you achieve better results. We support runners through their training from the beginning, during and after their events. Strengthening your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles are the common areas we target with training marathon runners.

In the event that injury does occur, we also provide a range of treatment options for a number of sport related injuries, including:

  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Anterior knee pain
  • ITB Syndrome
  • Shin splints
  • Glute tendinopathy
  • Hamstring injury
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Lower back pain

If you are suffering from a running related injury or have any lower limb injuries, we assign a dedicated physiotherapist who will facilitate your recuperation, ensuring it follows the best course possible. Whether you require manipulation, massage, rehabilitation or just expert guidance, please do not hesitate to get in contact with The Chelsea Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic, within Chelsea Medical Centre on 0207 824 8041.

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