April is fast approaching, which means you have only a few more months of training until the 2018 London marathon arrives! Last year 40,000 runners crossed the finish line, and this year a record 385,050 people have applied to run the gruelling 26.2-mile run, meaning it could be the biggest one yet. So, before you take your step into the world of Marathon running, make sure you’ve run through this quick list of expert tips and tricks.
Start from the bottom up
A marathon is as much about you as it is about your feet. A huge amount of pressure is put on your feet when you’re pounding the pavement. So, it’s important to take care of them before and after training for a marathon as friction, pressure and even new trainers can cause painful blisters. “One of the most common complaints is blisters, however if you’ve got the right protection then blisters won’t hamper your efforts,” explains Carnation Footcare Podiatrist Dave Wain. Try Carnation’s Anti Blister Stick (www.firstaidfast.co.uk, £3.46) to help the prevention of blisters. The long-lasting, non-greasy formula provides instant relief from rubbing shoes and provides a protective barrier against further damage.
“If a blister does develop, you should treat it as quickly as possible, so you won’t be uncomfortable for too long during training or the marathon. You should use a hydrocolloid dressing like the Carnation Footcare Hydro Blister (www.firstaidfast.co.uk, £1.75), this creates a controlled environment for the healing of blisters by absorbing the fluid to form a soft gel and protects the skin from bacteria and also helps relive any pain caused by friction and pressure,” adds Dave.
Re-fuel with the right foods
“In general, we need protein and carbohydrates for a complete refuel. Protein repairs and restores our muscles and prevents further muscle breakdown. Carbs help with this too, while also replenishing glycogen stores – our muscles’ energy stores – so they’re ready to go again. Green vegetables can be a fantastic way to boost your refuel and recovery, for the reasons I gave above,” explains Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor Cassandra Barns.
“So, a good example for a post-workout meal is a baked sweet potato (carbs) with grilled tuna (protein) and a side salad or a serving of broccoli (greens). If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough protein, I’d suggest adding a protein powder to your smoothies or shakes, or to savory foods such as stews and soups. I’d recommend Natures Plus Almond Protein Powder (£40.50, www.naturesplus.co.uk), which is an organic plant protein without any additives or sweeteners,” adds Cassandra.
Help ease your joints
“To help prevent pain and inflammation in your joints, which can be a common occurrence for runners, it’s important to keep your omega-3 and omega-6 levels high. The omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, are important for tissue elasticity, muscle flexibility, joint motion and regulating inflammatory response. Try Omega 3-6-9 by Quest Nutra Pharma (£5.89, www.qnutrapharma.com) to reduce inflammation and boost antioxidant capacity.
Keep your feet happy
“Runners should make sure to wear appropriate and comfortable footwear while they’re running. If not, feet can get numb in cold weather and too sweaty from the scorching sun. I would also recommend Carnation Footcare’s Silversocks (www.firstaidfast.co.uk, £12). Silversocks are made with pure silver threads, these unique fibres act as a natural heat thermostat, regulating foot temperature and helping to keep toes toasty when the temperature drops and cool when the temperature rises,” explains Carnation Footcare Podiatrist, Michael Ratcliffe.
Give yourself a little boost
If you’re training for your first ever marathon it is easy to feel a little overwhelmed and over worked, especially if you’ve taken a big step up in your exercise regime. To keep your energy levels steady, try taking an energising supplement such as Once A Day Energy B & C by Quest Nutra Pharma (£3.99, www.qnutrapharma.com). This is packed full of vital nutrients including folic acid, iron and magnesium which help to support optimal well-being and reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
Runners should start tapering a few weeks before the marathon, that is, reducing their training to avoid injuries. Dave recommends, “Cut back on the distance and intensity of your training to make sure you do not put yourself at risk of straining muscles. It is important that your body has recovered fully from previous training by the day of the marathon, so if you have been running 35 miles a week, take that down to 30 and then 20 in the couple of weeks leading up to the big day.”
“There is little preparation you can do two weeks before the race that will enhance your performance on the day so REST, especially if you have suffered from any niggles during training,” adds Dave.
It’s no surprise that taking part in a marathon puts a lot of strain on your muscles, so your recovery is just as important as your training. “Expect to be stiff and sore. Running a marathon puts immense pressure on your feet,” explains Dave.
“Aches and pains in the soles of your feet are common after running so, try using a Carnation Footcare PediRoller (£6.99 www.firstaidfast.co.uk), which helps to stretch the muscles in the bottom of the foot and relieve pain. It is particularly helpful for those who suffer from conditions such as plantar fasciitis.”
“Lastly, make sure you rest! Even if your feet feel OK, they will be recovering for at least a week after a marathon. Limit your walks to under an hour for the first week and give yourself at least 4-6 weeks before resuming any intense training. If at any point joints are red, swollen and sharply painful, make sure you rest immediately and if the pain continues, visit your GP,” adds Dave.
Running a marathon may be gruelling at times, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of crossing that finish line after those 26.2 miles.