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Physio advice for pain free London Marathon training

CSP press release published on 4 December 2007

The CSP issues top tips for runners as survey reveals most common injuries and training mistakes

As thousands of runners find out if they have got their ballot place for the 2008 Flora London Marathon this week, a new survey from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has revealed the most common injuries and mistakes associated with training for a marathon.

Last year 49,000 places were allocated for the London marathon, with 36,000 starters and 35,647 finishers on the day. The CSP’s online survey of chartered physiotherapists shows that knee problems, shin splints and Achilles tendon problems are the three most common injuries that can hamper marathon attempts .

Over ninety per cent of the physiotherapists surveyed said that the most common mistake made by those who are training for a marathon is to over train. This can include increasing mileage too quickly and not listening to their body when it comes to taking rest days or time out to recover from an injury.

Forty per cent of the physiotherapists said that wearing the wrong trainers was also a common mistake.

In response to these findings, the CSP has issued top tips for those who are training for the marathon. These will help runners to stay fit and healthy and achieve their goal – whether it is to finish in less than four hours or to simply finish the course.

Chartered physiotherapist Susie Jones manages the team of eighty physiotherapists who treat and support London Marathon runners on the day. She says: “Small things can make a big difference when you are training for a marathon, especially if you’ve never done one before. This CSP advice will encourage runners to get the most out of their training and to make it as pain free and enjoyable as possible.


“To increase your chances of making it across the finishing line on Sunday 13 April, just follow the simple advice in the top tips below. These will help you to make the most of this fantastic opportunity to get fit and to have fun along the way! If you have any problems at all, get in touch with your local physiotherapist as soon as possible for further help and support.”

The CSP’s top tips for marathon runners are:


Wearing suitable kit will keep you warm, dry, comfortable and pain free when you are training through the winter. Good trainers are essential. They will wear down quickly with the distance you’re covering so choose a pair now and replace them at the end of February – to give the new pair a chance to wear in before race day. Most running shops can offer gait analysis to help you choose trainers that give you the right support and they don’t need to be expensive. Also get good running socks and invest in layers of clothing to keep you warm, especially gloves and a hat.


Carefully structured training plans for runners of all levels are available from running magazines and websites. These will help you to build your training gradually over time at the right level for you. Set yourself a goal and work hard to achieve it, but stay realistic and don’t be too hard on yourself if you have to miss a session or two. Listen to your body and take rest days. It’s very important not to run if you have a virus – look after yourself until you are completely better.


Shin splints are a common injury for runners. The right kit and technique will help to avoid them, but if you do suffer from this problem stop running, use ice to ease the pain and rest up for three or four days before trying to run again. If the pain persists go to your local physiotherapist for further advice and treatment.

Knees and ankles can be problematic for runners too. Take a sensible approach to your training plan, listen to your body and rest up if you need to. Injuries can be avoided and treated through strength programming for key muscles like your quads – speak to your physiotherapist for more information on the right exercises for you.


This is the area where very small adjustments really will lead to a big gain, improving performance and preventing injury. Common mistakes include running with your body sloping forward or putting your toes rather than your heels down first. Run with a buddy or your local club so that someone can keep an eye on your technique or, if you are a member of a gym, ask one of the trainers there to watch you run.



Completing the London Marathon is a real achievement. It’s also important to recognise the smaller achievements you make as you reach your training milestones. The training will be hard but it should be enjoyable too. Whether you want to run a personal best or will just be happy to complete the course, strive to achieve your goals, keep positive and make the most it!

To find a physiotherapist in your area use the CSP’s online search facility


Notes to Editor:

1. For more information, please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 6616/6628/6163. Out of hours please call Louise Fitzsimons on 07786 332197, Becky Darke on 07900 160349 or Prabh Salaman on 07795 564240.


2. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 49,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants. For previous releases visit


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