How to train for an autumn marathon safely and successfully

Training for the 2022 London Marathon this autumn?

Training is well and truly underway for those participating in the 2022 London Marathon on Sunday 2nd October. Unlike the usual winter preparation, training in the summer for an autumn marathon requires a slightly different approach. Our Chartered Physiotherapist Bob Kelly is here to help you on your steps to success.

Avoiding any unwanted injuries

If you’re all set to go and you have a training plan to follow, you need to ensure you’re keeping those injuries at bay, especially as you begin to approach those longer runs. Adding regular Massage treatment and Pilates sessions into your training schedule is not only a great way to apply some essential cross-training; it also reduces the risk of injury which could inevitably lead to you having to pull out.

The benefits of Pilates and Massage for marathon training 

Regular Pilates practice gives you the benefits of good posture, muscle control and optimum movement patterns (biomechanics), which are all key factors in getting the most out of your runs. Seeing a massage therapist can help to reduce muscle tightness and help to ensure you can increase your distance both safely and efficiently.

Staying cool in the summer heat

With the recent heatwave, remember to keep well-hydrated and ensure your running kit consists of lighter colours to reduce heat absorption. Choosing lighter, more free-flowing clothes will help keep you cool and better protect you from the sun. 

Re-conditioning your body in a different climate

Remember, quality over quantity is always best. If you’re a regular spring marathon runner, try not to over-do it when running in the warmer months. Your body has to re-condition to the new climate it is running in, and this can take some time. It’s best to ensure your runs are of a slightly shorter distance than usual, while focussing your efforts on maintaining good biomechanics, hydration and pace. Therefore, we recommend you give yourself more time to train in the summer months than you might do for a spring event. 

School’s out for summer! If you’re escaping the UK for a different climate, remember to adjust your training to suit your new environment. You’re on holiday, so it is okay to adjust your training during your break. Why not take up some cross-training to help keep your stamina and fitness levels up through another medium such as swimming, cycling or kayaking?

Don’t forget the marathon training must-do’s! 

Even though you may be training at a different time of year than usual, don’t forget to apply the regular rules of marathon training! Don’t up your distance too quickly or fail to leave enough time to taper. If you build up your distance too quickly, you run the risk of your body not being able to cope as it will not have had the time to build the required strength and stamina that is needed to allow you to run at a steady pace. Read more from our expert marathon-running physio, John Nugus here.

Tapering and recovery 

‘Tapering’ is the term used to label the final part of your training. Some would say it is the fun part; at this point you’ve completed your longest run and you now get to wind down and take it a little easier before the big day.

It is the process in which you allow your body to recover from all the hard work you’ve put in and is an essential part of your training. You achieve this by decreasing the volume of your weekly training mileage during the final 2-4 weeks of your training. How this is achieved will differ per the individual and training plan you are following. This process enables your body to recover from any potential niggles that may arise and allow them to settle down. Enjoy it! Not only is it a well-deserved reward for your training efforts, but it’s also essential to help you to be able to peak and perform at your best on race day.

Remember our team of Physiotherapists, Massage therapists and Pilates instructors are available if you have any questions or need any advice. 


Article by Bob Kelly, Chartered Physiotherapist. Bob is based at our London City clinic every Tuesday and Thursday. Email or call 020 7236 3334 to book an appointment.

Posted in Exercises, Injury, Marathon, Pilates, Running.