Sport and Health Sciences at Brighton

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Top tips for marathon running

Our best marathon training tips before, during and after race day!

For marathon runners, looking after yourself is vital before during and after race day. Our Brighton experts provide top tips to help you run the 26.2 miles.

Whether you’re an experienced marathoner or want to run your first 10k, it’s critical you get the essentials right. From what you put in your mouth to what you put on your feet, there’s an important extra few per cent to be gained from those little changes that make all the difference.

From training plan to marathon race day: the details count

Make no mistake the marathon is a long race and marathon training plans are rightly a complex business, whether this is your first race you’re running or you’re on a training programme to beat your personal best. As well as the weeks of training, there are things to do the night before the race, when you get to the starting line, and things to do when you finish the race.

Staff and students from the University of Brighton’s podiatry courses volunteer each year at the London Marathon to look after runners. To help you with your marathon time goal or simply make sure you run the race with health and comfort in mind, two of our experts, Thanaporn ‘Dao’ Tunprasert and Libertad Rodriguez Burgos, have provided top tips to help in your moving from training programme to the big day.

Marathon training tips before the race

1) Long distance running shoes

As tempting as it might be to use a new pair of shoes for a special event, it is much better to run a marathon in shoes that you have been training in. This is to avoid any expected issues that may come up with the new shoes. Also, remember that you should consider replacing running shoes once its lifespan has run its course. On average, this might be when you have run between 350 to 500 miles in the shoes. However, the lifespan also depends on the conditions that you have run them in and the age of the shoes.

2) Running socks

Socks are more important than you think. It is the only barrier between your feet and the inside of the running shoes. You want to the socks to provide comfort, support, and reduce friction. Where possible, it may be better to use ‘running socks’ for marathon rather than day-to-day socks that you use for work or leisure. It may take some experiments to find the right type of running socks for your feet.

3) Training and rest

The most important factor of all is appropriate training before the event. A marathon is a strenuous activity for your feet and body. Running for a continuous distance of 26.2 miles is not something that your body is designed to do automatically. Any long run challenge requires careful build up as to the volume of training. A good training programme should be regular, build up over a suitable period and, crucially, should also include rest days. Keep it in mind that rest days are as important for your marathon training as running days.

During the marathon – training tips for running

1) Listen to your body

On the day of the marathon, good pacing is one of the keys to a successfully running a healthy race. Maintaining an even pace throughout the course will help manage your energy levels. Be steady and be positive. Don’t worry about other runners passing you at the beginning. It is best to start your race pace slower and ease into it; you can always pick up the pace towards the second part of the course.

If you are running to set a personal best, maintain your focus and check your pace per mile/kilometre. Stick to your training strategy and make sure to maintain appropriate levels of hydration and fuelling throughout the race.

Tips for every runner after the event

1) Food and drinks to end the race day

Eating and drinking might be the last thing you feel like doing after crossing the finish line. However, it is important to re-hydrate yourself and get some calories in to start the recovery process. Carbohydrates, like fruit, crisps and energy bars, are great to replenish glycogen stores. You don’t have to eat a lot, but eating and drinking straight after the race will help you stave off any feelings of sickness and/or light-headedness.

2) Post-event shoes and clothes

After running 26.2 miles your clothes will be probably soaked in sweat. Therefore, it is recommended that you change into clean, dry and comfortable clothes to maintain a stable core temperature.

Your feet might also have swelled and increased in size. Some runners might unfortunately develop blisters or other minor ailments that might make their feet sore. A pair of looser/wider trainers or slides will provide the necessary room for tired feet to get you home comfortably.

3) Professional support

If you have any of the following signs and symptoms, particularly those that are persistent even 1-2 weeks after the event, we strongly recommend that you seek a professional support such as from podiatrists, physiotherapists, and GP as soon as possible. The key signs and symptoms to look out for are excessive swelling and bruising, and discomfort/pain.

Our student podiatrists will be treating injured feet at next week’s London Marathon 

Become one of the healthy runners’ support professionals

Are you a future podiatrist? Could you help runners with their foot related health and foot injuries? Find out more about podiatry and other Allied Health Professions degrees at the University of Brighton.

Our research experts in podiatry also offer supervision for a doctoral research degree in Podiatry, find out more on our PhD Podiatry page.

Kerry Burnett • 14/04/2023


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