London Marathon Training Prospects Fading - Help!

Hi. I have been training hard for this years London marathon and prior to the new year, all was on track (It's my first marathon). I had built up to running around 11 miles on my long runs and was covering 30 odd miles a week. Then injury struck. A very localised pain on the inside of my shin bone, a few inches above the ankle. I continued to run for a while, but it just got worse (go figure) and, worried that I may have a stress fracture - I finally visited a Physiotherapist. She ruled out a SF thankfully, and suggested that I cut down my running to no more than 3 days a week and limited my long runs to an hour max. She also gave me some strengthening exercises to do. I have followed this advise, except I've run even less then she suggested, as frankly it's too painful to do more. It's not improved. The strengthening work in the gym has just left me with sore knees. I am starting to get really depressed about it all. I haven't done a 'proper' long run for a few weeks now and I'm worried that I may end up having to drop out of the marathon in April. Anyone got any advice?


  • you may be able to defer your marathon place until next year, if you do so soon. it doesn't sound like you're going to be marathon fit any time soon, and unless you want your memory of the marathon to be hobbling round with stiff legs in agony, then perhaps the wise choice would be to defer, give yourself time to recover, then gradually build up the miles, whilst addressing the cause of your injury (you don't state what it is, but whatever, it sounds like it'll need correcting before you're able to continue with running the sort of mileage required of marathon training).

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Do you "need" to run this year?  One of the features of the London marathon is that you can defer your entry until next year.

    I was in a similar situation last year as my running was hampered by a knee injury.  I tried to get back into training etc as I really wanted to participate.  However, I eventually realised in Feb that it wasn't improving and went to see my GP, and at the same time deferred my entry until this year.  I can't adequately express the amazing sense of relief I felt when I completed the deferral - a huge burden was taken from my shoulders and all the stress just disapated away.  

    I've been back in training since the summer and I'm deep into my training schedule for this year's marathon with no issues and my focus on completing the marathon in a PB time, whilst remaining injury free.  With hindsight, if I'd attempted to run it last year it would have been a miserable experience as I wouldn't have been able to train properly and would have probably ended up with other injuries as I tried to compensate for my weakened knee.


  • .....did your Physio actually look at you running and then relate your injury to your running stylee?
  • A similar thing happened to me ahead of my first marathon. I took the decision to defer my place for a year, got the injury cleared up and then spent the year training for next years race - probably the best thing I could have done.

  • Six Physio wrote (see)
    .....did your Physio actually look at you running and then relate your injury to your running stylee?

    She didn't. I was asked to do some exercises (single leg squats, single leg bridges etc) and was told that I have an 'imbalance', in that my right leg is weaker than my left. I believe the soleus (?) muscle was specifically identified. Have been advised to do several exercises to strenthen / balance the muscles including those mentioned above + calf raises and leg presses, as well as decreasing my running and adding more cross training.

    Thanks for your replies. I'll give it another week and see where I am. I'm hoping that I may still be able to recover and pick things up, although I recognise this is probably wishful thinking at this stage - but I'm not quite ready to give up on my 2013 aspirations just yet.

  • Stuart I am a very positive person but I would think about deferring if you are interested in anything more than getting round. From my own experience, it will be rubbish and you will feel as if you've squandered your opportunity if you go in massivey undertrained as I think you will if you still can't run properly.

    Just remember you can defer right up till the last minute so you have plenty of time to decide if you are where you want to be.

  • As 6physio hinted - IF running is the cause of your pain you could have had your running style checked to see if that could be connected to the shin pain.  Also moblity of the joints in your foot and ankle should have been checked.

    Too much dorsiflexion - toes pointing up when you foot first strikes the ground could cause shin pain.  Try running with shorter stride and less heel striking - relax your feet - could be the first thing to try.   But don't run if its painful.  Cycling and swimming is good non-impact alternative

  • Although the Physio didn't check my running style, I have had an analysis done before Christmas and was told that I do heel strike in front of my centre of gravity. I've been trying to shorten my stride and increase my cadence on the treadmill (using a metronome app on my phone). Been doing some cross training (cycling and eliptical thingy) in addition to the strength exercises. I think deep down I know that I should defer, but as I don't have to do so right now, I will give it a bit longer and see how things go. I still feel like my general fitness is pretty good and that if I could get past this injury, it would be possible to get back on track with my training plan (which I was ahead of before this all happened). But if not, I'll defer and maybe look for an event later in the year (if anyone wants to recommend a good one around September as a plan B, that would be great).

    Thanks so much for the responses.

  • If you can keep your ftness up with bike or swmming then you maybe ok for marathon - but again you can't rush it and no point running with an injury - also make sure you're stretching all leg/calf and foot mucles and also muscles down front of shin by sitting back on to your heels...

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    If you've changed your running style, then your shoes may no longer be the best fit for you.  I don't expect it to be the panacea, as it sounds like you need to work on your strength & flexibility, but it may be worth getting another gait analysis to see if the old shoes are a contributing factor.

  • On what grounds did your physio rule out a SF? I had a physio (*cough* a Six Physio) insist that what was very much a SF was just a tight flexor.

  • Weeble ahhhaa

    ....always err on the side of caution until you've got really good evidence to support otherwise. You wind up a potential SF and you're knackered - wind up up a potential tight muscle and you're not so...
  • The Physio massaged the area with what I guess was some sort of ultrasound device. It wasn't attached to a monitor, so wasn't a scan, but she said that if I had had a SF I would have 'been on the ceiling' (i.e. it would have hurt a lot).

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