Recovery/Mobility for Marathon Running

With the London Marathon fast approaching on the horizon, some of you may be getting nervous and wondering how to put the finishing touches to your training.

Now is the time to ensure you are injury-free and in the best possible condition for the race so here are some tips from Matt Sims (Personal Trainer)

And even if you are not running the marathon, the following will still help you get the most out of your exercise.

Having put in the miles over the past few months, you will be starting to wind down your training and with more time on your hands, you will able to give your muscles the attention they need to recover.

The best time to do this is after a run, but if you have no time, make sure you are warmed up first.

Foam Rolling:

The foam roller is a great tool to loosen tired and tight muscles and keep your legs moving as they should. There are a few general rules that should be followed, no matter what muscle you are targeting:

  • Go slow! To get the full benefit, foam rolling should be done at a slow pace, one second per inch is a good starting point.
  • Don’t cross a joint. For example, if you are targeting the hamstrings, rolling should begin above the knee, not below.
  • Roll towards the heart. foam rolling is not only great for loosening up the muscles, it can help with the fluid dynamics of the body and returning waste products, caused by exercise, to the organs to be processed and expelled from the body.

So, continuing with the hamstring as an example, rest the back of your leg on the foam roller above the knee. Put as much pressure through your leg as possible by lifting yourself off the floor using your hands and other leg. Slowly start to move your body so the roller moves up your leg. When you reach the top of your leg, remove the pressure by lifting your leg off the roller, return to the starting position and repeat.

For running, the main muscles to focus on are hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and ITB (runs down the outside of the thigh).


Stretching should be an integral part of any training regime. It keeps the muscles long and flexible and reduces the risk of injury. It doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming, but it does need to be done.
When stretching:

  • Keep the stretch consistent – don’t bounce.
  • Keep it comfortable – you can overstretch a muscle.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds.

The muscles you have just foam rolled are the same ones to stretch. The power plates can be used to enhance a stretch, but if you are not a fan, don’t worry.

Now is the time to ease those tired muscles… Spend some time in the sauna/steam room or jacuzzi can get some heat into the muscles to increase blood flow and bring fresh nutrients to the muscles. Don’t spend too long though and drink plenty of water!

If you feel like treating yourself (and why not, you deserve it) have a massage. A good sports massage will identify the muscles that have worked really hard during the months of training and help them recover and be in top form come race day. Don’t leave it too long though. Give it plenty of time before the race day to allow all the benefits of the massage to take place.

There is still time to get the benefits of personal training with partner-assisted stretching and muscle release techniques being just some of the things your trainer can do for you.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy the day!

For any questions or to discuss personal training with Matt Sims contact him directly at or find him in the gym.

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