I spoke with a physio earlier in the week about injury trends around the marathon. He said he sees a definite spike in the 3-4 weeks in the lead up to race day. In most online training plans, this is commonly where you see the big volume increases, people committed to a 17 miler on one weekend with 20-22 miles the following weekend, with a cheeky 10 miler thrown in during the week. I’ve also been seeing people coming into Profeet with small injuries and discomfort wondering if their shoe is the cause of all their ills.
In most cases it isn’t. A failure to address flexibility and strength in conjunction with run training has led to this point. It is the result of a fatigued system breaking down. In my opinion, it isn’t necessary to run those distances prior to a race, particularly for those embarking on it as a one off. Running a marathon is an achievement, it’s hard. If I was running 26 miles, I wouldn’t want to run 90% of that 2 weeks before.
I understand the psychological benefit of getting miles under your belt. But getting miles and miles of poor technical running only reinforces poor movement patterns. I think people would be better served getting some coaching and running shorter milages of good technique. Strength training would also have a massive impact as many don’t have the muscular ability to absorb the landings and maintain good alignment; the amount of people I see with a trendelenburg gait is incredible! Less miles, less chance of cumulative fatigue, better movement patterning, less chance of injury. Leave it to the crowds on race day to get you round and provide the psychological lift.