A Physio’s Guide to Staying Injury-Free During Marathon Training


Welcome to Resync Physiotherapy Clinic Dublin! Congratulations on taking the first step towards training for your first marathon. As a physiotherapist, I understand the importance of staying injury-free during the training process. In this blog, we will explore different types of marathon training and share valuable tips on how to optimize your recovery between training sessions. Let’s dive in!

Types of Marathon Training:

Base Building during marathon training: 

The base building phase involves gradually increasing your mileage and building a strong foundation for marathon training. This phase focuses on developing aerobic fitness and endurance. Begin with shorter, easier runs and slowly increase your distance over time. It is crucial to listen to your body and avoid excessive training loads to prevent overuse injuries such as runners knee or Achilles tendon pain. During the base building phase of marathon training, several physiological changes occur in your body as it adapts to increased mileage and prepares for the demands of long-distance running. Let’s explore these changes in more detail:

Aerobic Capacity Improvement during marathon training 

As you gradually increase your mileage, your body becomes more efficient at utilizing oxygen to generate energy for sustained exercise. This improvement is primarily attributed to adaptations in your cardiovascular system, such as increased blood volume, improved capillary density in muscles, and enhanced oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells. These changes enable better delivery of oxygen to working muscles and enhance your overall endurance.

Muscle Endurance Enhancement: 

As you gradually increase your training volume, your muscles adapt by developing a greater resistance to fatigue. This adaptation occurs by increased mitochondrial density (which supports energy production within muscle cells), improved utilization of fat as a fuel source. These changes help delay the onset of fatigue during the marathon.

Connective Tissue Strengthening: 

The stress placed upon your body during training stimulates the production of collagen which is essential to strengthen and repair damage tissue as a result of marathon training. This adaptation is crucial for injury prevention, as trained tissues can handle the repetitive impact and load associated with long-distance running.

Neurological Adaptations:

 The repetitive nature of running at a steady pace during this phase helps refine your neuromuscular patterns and enhances the communication between your brain, spinal cord, and muscles. As a result, your movement becomes more coordinated, and your running form improves and leads to an improvement in running economy and energy expenditure.

Mental Strength Development during marathon training

While not solely a physiological change, base building also plays a crucial role in developing mental strength. Enduring longer runs and gradually increasing your mileage builds mental resilience and helps you overcome the mental barriers associated with running a marathon. 

Long Runs Marathon Training: 

Long runs are a cornerstone of marathon training. They improve your endurance, mental toughness, and help you adapt to longer distances. Start with a comfortable distance and gradually increase it each week. Allow ample time for recovery after long runs to avoid overtraining.

Tempo/Speed Run for Marathon Training: 

Speed workouts involve incorporating intervals, tempo runs, and hill repeats into your training plan. These sessions enhance your cardiovascular fitness, running economy, and speed. However, it’s important to introduce speed work gradually to minimize the risk of injuries. Always warm up properly, maintain good form, and listen to your body to avoid overexertion. The physiological adaptation that occur with tempo training that differ to Base building include

  • Increase lactate clearance.
  • Enhanced Running economy
  • Type IIa Muscular Fiber adaptation 


Cross-training activities like cycling, swimming, or strength training can be beneficial for marathon runners. They provide a break from repetitive impact, strengthen different muscle groups, and help prevent overuse injuries. Include cross-training sessions in your training plan to improve overall fitness and give your running muscles a chance to recover.

Recovery Tips for Marathon Training:

Rest and Active Recovery: 

Incorporate rest days into your training schedule to allow your body to recover and adapt to the training load. Active recovery activities like gentle stretching, yoga, or light cross-training can help improve circulation and reduce muscle soreness.

Sleep and Nutrition: 

Adequate sleep and proper nutrition are essential for recovery. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to facilitate muscle repair and optimize performance. Fuel your body with a balanced diet, including a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats to support your training and recovery.

Foam Rolling and Stretching: 

Foam rolling and regular stretching can help alleviate muscle tension, improve flexibility, and enhance recovery. Target major muscle groups like calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. Perform static stretches after your workouts and foam roll when necessary.

Injury Prevention Exercises: 

Include specific strength and mobility exercises in your training plan to prevent common running injuries. Focus on exercises that strengthen your core, hips, and lower limbs. Strengthening these areas can improve your running mechanics and reduce the risk of imbalances or compensatory movements.

How To Prevent Running Injuries


Training for a marathon is a rewarding but challenging endeavour. By following a well-rounded training plan, including base building, long runs, speed workouts, and cross-training, you can enhance your performance while reducing the risk of injuries. Prioritize recovery through rest, sleep, nutrition, foam rolling, stretching, and injury prevention exercises. Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body, make adjustments when needed, and seek professional help if you experience persistent pain or discomfort. Wishing you a successful and injury-free marathon training journey!

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult a physiotherapist or healthcare professional for personalized guidance regarding your marathon training.

One Final piece of advise from our Clinical Director Diarmuid on your Marathon Training.

In the exhilarating journey towards the Dublin Marathon, you’re not alone. Physiotherapy is your steadfast companion, guiding you towards your dreams, fueling your determination, and propelling you to greatness. It’s not just about treating injuries or preventing setbacks; it’s about unlocking the immense potential within you and transforming it into awe-inspiring achievement.

Picture yourself standing at the starting line, the energy coursing through your veins, your heart pounding with anticipation ( Que eye of the tiger music). Physiotherapy has been there every step of the way, nurturing your body, fine-tuning your movements, and instilling resilience within you. Through their expert care, you’ve overcome obstacles, shattered limitations, and built an unbreakable foundation.

As you charge forward, muscles engaged, mind focused, you feel the impact of each step reverberate through your being. But fear not, for physiotherapy has equipped you with the tools to conquer the marathon’s demands. Your body, finely tuned and primed for this event, propels you forward with unwavering determination.

Physiotherapy isn’t just about the physical; it’s a transformative experience that touches the depths of your soul.

Imagine crossing that finish line, the culmination of countless hours of sweat, sacrifice, and unwavering dedication. Physiotherapy has been your steadfast ally, a beacon of strength in the face of adversity ( I am very dramatic). As you revel in the euphoria of achievement, you realize that it was the trust you placed in your physiotherapist that made this moment possible.

Physiotherapy has not only helped you conquer the Dublin Marathon but has unlocked a realm of limitless possibilities. It has taught you the importance of self-care, the value of nurturing your body, and the resilience that lies within. Armed with this newfound knowledge, you’re ready to take on any challenge that comes your way, knowing that with the guidance of your physiotherapist, there are no limits to what you can achieve.

So, my fellow dream chasers, embrace the power of physiotherapy. Let it be the driving force behind your aspirations, the catalyst that propels you towards your goals. Trust in its transformative capabilities, and witness the extraordinary heights you can reach. The Dublin Marathon awaits, and with physiotherapy by your side, there’s no doubt you’ll conquer it with unwavering strength and unrelenting passion. Believe in yourself, embrace the journey, and let the power of physiotherapy guide you to greatness.

Kula Health