Trainers left on the Tube and allergies to orange-flavour gel sweets during aid stops are just some London Marathon horror stories senior physiotherapist Greg Savides has encountered.
The expert from Physio In The City, which has a clinic at Reebok Sports Club on Canary Wharf, shared his top pre-race strategies for those about to take on London’s 26-mile challenge.
■ Ease up
Greg said: “You’ve done the miles, you’ve loaded your body up, now it’s time to let it recover.
“You want to get to the race with 105% energy in the system – anything you take away now, you’re not going to replace by the time race day comes.”
ADVICE: Ease up on the running – with distances of five miles or less ahead of race day.
Greg said: “All the aches and injuries you’ve been waking up with in the morning now need a chance to recover – in the last six weeks your body has taken an absolute hit.
“You don’t want a niggle to become something that affects your brain for 26miles.”
ADVICE: Have an easy sports massage – nothing too intense – and plenty of work in the gym with the foam roller.
■ Sticking to the plan
Greg said: “By now, you should know exactly how race day is going to go. You’ve done the training and know what you’re capable of. Race day is when you go out and execute it – don’t suddenly decide to take 20 minutes off your time.”
ADVICE: Be realistic. If it’s your first marathon, just enjoy it; soak up the atmosphere.
Join a pacing group and chat with a fellow member to spur each other on or adopt a run-walk strategy should you struggle with the distance.
■ Eating and drinking
Greg said: “The most important thing is you don’t do or try anything different – like different gels or juices.
“The day before, have a big lunch and light, mainly protein-based meal in the evening with a little bit of carbohydrate.”
ADVICE: Sip based on thirst around the course, managing your intake of gels and be aware of discarded water bottles.
Greg said: “Be prepared for everything – all eventualities – and make sure you have all the kit. You can just toss it at the side if you don’t need it.”
ADVICE: Keep an eye on the weather forecast, plan your travel routes and organise a post-race meeting point with friends.
■ Tackling the wall
Greg said: “Somewhere on the route your brain gets involved and makes you want to slow down and doubt what you’re doing – it’s purely trying to stop you from dying.”
ADVICE: Break down the course into sections, spot friends and family and use the crowd to spur you on.
Go to physiointhecity.co.uk .