4 Ways Physiotherapy Can Help with Marathon Training

Posted on: 20 April 2023

For most people, completing a full marathon will be one of the toughest physical challenges they ever face. Whether running for charity or simply through the desire to tick 'run a marathon' off a bucket list, covering those 26.2 miles can be incredibly fulfilling.

Every marathon runner needs to commit to a training regimen, but relatively few will think of seeing a physiotherapist. You might assume this is only something you need to do if you get injured, but physiotherapy can help any runner achieve their goals and ultimately enjoy the marathon experience more.

With that in mind, here are just four ways physiotherapy can help with your marathon training.

1. Gait Analysis

Your gait simply refers to the way your limbs move. Unfortunately, many people have slightly misaligned gaits. This can become a problem during marathon training since muscles can become overburdened and joints can be put under additional stress. By performing gait analysis, a physiotherapist can help align your body to reduce the chance of injury and improve your technique.

2. Physical Assessment

You might think you are perfectly healthy, but even minor issues can become a problem when you're covering just over 26 miles. A physiotherapist can assess your current strength and flexibility to identify any risk factors and help you overcome them. For example, many runners have tight quad muscles, which can lead to knee injuries. A physiotherapist can spot that problem and help you correct it.

3. Sports Massages

Having a sports massage can feel very relaxing, and it will also help with your training. During a sports massage, your physiotherapist will work to release muscle tension and increase blood circulation, which will help prevent injuries, improve performance, and speed up recovery times between training sessions. They can also show you how to self-massage using a foam roller. By self-massaging after each training run, you'll find yourself experiencing less discomfort, especially the day after a rigorous session.

4. Strength and Flexibility Exercises

A physiotherapist can complement your current training plan by showing you how to strengthen your muscles, ligaments, and joints. They can also show you exercises that will prevent your body from becoming tight and inflexible, which tends to be a common problem among new long-distance runners. Even though the exercises they suggest may seem minor compared to a 15-mile tempo run or 5-mile sprint, following the advice of a physiotherapist can noticeably optimize your performance.