The marathon runners’ survival guide to the Dublin race

Physiotherapists offer advice on how to warm up and how to avoid injury next Monday

Ian O'Riordan runs the new route for the Dublin Marathon and gives some tips on things to watch out for along the way. Video: Daniel O'Connor

 

Runners who are wound up about next Monday’s SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon can seek expert advice about how to wind down when they are collecting their race numbers at the Marathon Expo at the RDS on Saturday and Sunday.

Volunteer physiotherapists from the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) will participate in the Running Forum, offering advice on dynamic warm-up as well as how to avoid injury during and after the race. The society will also have a stand at the expo, at which attendees can “Ask the Physio” any questions about injury prevention and post-race recovery.

On race day, chartered physiotherapist Bláithín Brady will lead a team of physiotherapists at the ISCP marquee near the finish line on Merrion Square South, in which volunteers will provide triage, cool down and if necessary, injury massage.

Bláithín has been involved with the Dublin Marathon for the last three years and says that, in her experience, runners can avoid a lot of the acute pain and injury they suffer. She advises:

Ensure you perform an adequate dynamic warm-up before the start: easy jogging, short strides, heel-kicks, high-knee running and trunk twists. Foam rolling can also be beneficial for enhancing performance and preventing injuries. It is a great way to warm up muscles before activity. In order to get the most effective results, use the roller prior to stretching.

Avoid hypothermia and keep warm by wearing the right clothes, at both start and finish lines. Please remember it’s the end of October, so be sure to bring lots of layers for the finish line.

Avoid cramps by drinking enough water and isotonic drinks that will give you a balance of salt and sugar.

Blisters, sprained ankles and joint pain on the outside of the knee and/or in the hip, are three of the most common and avoidable injuries marathon participants sustain. Make sure the runners you wear on the day are well broken in, fit comfortably and that the laces are tied properly so that the runner is not loose against the foot. Also, wear good socks and apply blister plasters on areas prone to blisters before the marathon.

Don’t forget to rub Vaseline on the parts of your body that will rub repeatedly against your clothing and use Second-Skin plasters on your feet to avoid blisters.

After the race, Bláithín recommends:

As uncomfortable as it may be, keep moving after you cross the finish line.

Walk for five to 10 minutes and then come along to our ISCP marquee on Merrion Square South close to the finish line where we will take you through the appropriate cool down, including static stretches. This will reduce the muscle soreness you will experience and kick start the recovery process. Static stretching aims to lengthen muscles and helps prevent muscle soreness and joint stiffness. Soak your body in a cold bath within a few hours of the race to aid decreasing inflammation in the working muscles, thereby easing pain and aiding recovery.

Allow sufficient time for your body to rest before returning to training.

If you sustain a minor injury follow the PRICE protocol: Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. For more serious injuries seek medical attention.

For further information about post-race recovery strategies or for an assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries, visit a chartered physiotherapist. See iscp.ie or findaphysio.ie. The Dublin Marathon Expo runs from 11am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday at the RDS in Dublin. See dublinmarathonexpo.com

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