Common Marathon Training Mistakes

Posted: 5/2/2019

    As we coast into February Marathon Season is in full swing. For those targeting a Spring Marathon training volume will be starting to creep up so at Physio4Me we thought it was about time we wrote a post about how to get the most out of your training, common marathon training mistakes and how to avoid them.


    From first time marathoners to seasoned pro’s this is a prevalent mistake. In order to prepare your body for a marathon you need to incorporate some degree of overload. However, if mileage is increased too quickly or rest is not sufficient overload can quickly lead to injury.

    For those new to running introducing some low impact cross training to your programme is a great way to challenge the heart and lungs whilst giving the musculoskeletal system a bit of a break. If you cycle for 3 hours this will result in similar cardio vascular adaptions as a 3 hour run would, your aerobic system doesn’t know that your are sitting on a bike and not pounding the pavements. Rowing, swimming or cycling are all great options.

    For seasoned long distance runners the body may be more forgiving of high mileage. However it is important not to increase the distance run too rapidly, working up to a 10% increase in mileage per week is advised.

    Chasing Your Tail

    There will be those days when life throws something at you (illness, a last minute client meeting or an unexpected dinner with the in-laws) and you can’t stick to your programme. When this happens it can be tempting to try to slot the missed session in on another day. However, doing this can cause a sudden overload and result in injury. It is better to accept that the session is missed and move on, following your plan as closely as possible.

    Skipping Leg Day

    People who run generally like to run, and run only. However, introducing other forms of exercise into your weekly programme can really benefit your running.

    Strength training has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of injury and improve performance. As with any new form of exercise, it is important to gradually introduce strength training and progressively and consistently increase the difficulty of the exercises. Technique is key in order to get the most out of the training and avoid injury.


    Consistent running allows you to:

    • Run more mileage
    • Get fewer running injuries
    • Feel better on each run
    • Race faster!

    So how can you maintain consistency? Studies have shown that relying on willpower alone or shaming yourself into training just don’t cut it. The three secrets to consistency:

    1. Start Small

    In order to remain consistent training needs to be manageable. Start small, give yourself somewhere to go. Don’t kill yourself in the first week, you need to be able to come back next week and do it all again (and maybe even that 10% more).

    2. Set Yourself Positive Goals

    Set yourself positive goals, and tell people about them.

    How you think about your goal can influence how you feel about it, and whether you achieve it. Negative goals are emotionally unattractive, which makes it harder for us to focus on them. We don’t want to spend too much time thinking about something negative. Reframing negative goals to sound positive can make a big difference.

    For example, many people have a goal to “lose weight.” However, this goal has a negative connotation; it’s focused on what you don’t want – your weight. A positive way to reframe this goal is to say you want to “get healthy.”

    3. Track Your Progress

    If you don’t record your training you can’t celebrate your progress.

    It is important to keep in mind that consistency is never a linear progression. There will be ups and downs throughout the process. The secret to consistency is to track your progress, keep what’s working, and change what isn’t.

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