With the Brighton marathon in ten days time and the London marathon coming up on 23rd April I have already heard this several times in my clinic. Words of doom? They don’t have to be. Here’s a short summary on what to do if you pick up a running injury at the last minute.

To help get you to the marathon start line …..

1.   Don’t panic. The mind is a powerful tool and it’s important to deal with a pre marathon injury calmly. Try and maintain positivity, it probably isn’t as bad as you think if you take action at once.

2.     Make an appointment to see your sports injury specialist and get expert advice straight away. With an assessment and a treatment plan you can go forward. The treatment is the most important thing right now so stick to the rehab. The last thing you want is an injury that returns later.

3.     Depending upon what your injury is it’s likely you will be able to cross train. Maintaining cardiovascular fitness is key and this can usually be achieved by doing something that doesn’t aggravate the injury. Choose aerobic workouts like swimming, cycling or spinning which are non weight bearing. Cross training is also good for the mind because you are doing something productive.

Don’t fall into these marathon madness traps

1.     Continue training and hope the pain will go away. This type of major miracle is as rare as a dragon’s tooth.

2.     Try to run short distances to see if you can; this will likely just keep your injury from healing.

3.     Go so crazy with the cross training that you end up with another injury because you are not used to these activities. Or get incredibly stiff because your muscles don’t often swim or cycle.

4.     You missed your last long run. Now that your injury seems to be much better you decide to fit one in a week before the marathon. Sounds mad? I know people who have done this and really wished they hadn’t!

If all else fails and you don’t run another step until marathon day, remember that all of the solid training you have done is in the bank. It is difficult to get our heads around this and we all think we will suddenly lose all our hard won fitness – THIS IS A MYTH. Consider these last 3 weeks as an extreme taper. OK, so you won’t hit the start line in as good a shape as you might have done, times and goals may need a review. But the chances are that if you follow the above now you will complete your marathon.