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Currently thousands of amateur runners are training for the longest, most difficult and gruelling twenty-six miles of their life: the London Marathon. Many will have already started their training and others will be kicking off soon. To help you reach the finish line, Rod Gillingham (Osteopath at Freedom Clinics) and Pete Hopson (Personal trainer and running coach at Pure Gym, Leeds) have outlined a detailed training plan, highlighting common injuries and top tips for avoiding pain.

For the vast majority of people, running will give a variety of health benefits such as weight loss, reduced risk of disease and improved mood. On the cold, dark nights at this time of year it can be difficult to drag yourself out for a run but you will almost certainly feel better for it.

Whether you are an experienced runner, someone who has done a few 10ks or a complete novice, if you hope to progress you should have a structured approach to training. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of doing too much or too little training; finding the right balance is key. You should always respect the challenge, don’t plan to do a few runs a couple of weeks before your race and expect to complete a marathon or half marathon. On the other hand, try not to increase your running mileage too quickly as this can lead to some of the injuries listed in the Common Injuries section of this article.

The sports massage therapists at Freedom Clinics offer advice, help you prepare and get you back on your feet if you do pick an injury. Click to book a 10, 30 or 60 minute sports massage appointment with:

Steve McCann – Canary Wharf London
Marta Nunez – Canary Wharf & Moorgate
Matthew Hirst – Leeds

If you suffer from any cardiac or respiratory conditions or are concerned that distance running may adversely affect your health, you should consult your doctor before beginning a training programme.

This training plan is designed for someone who has done some running before and is stepping up to marathon distance for the first time.

Marathon training plan


Week Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun Total mileage
 1 Rest 4 miles easy Rest 5 miles normal Rest Rest 5 miles easy 14
 2 Rest 4 miles easy Rest 6 miles normal Rest Rest 7 miles easy 17
 3 Rest 4 miles easy Rest 7 miles normal Rest Rest 8 miles easy 19
 4 Rest 4 miles hard Rest 8 miles easy Rest Rest 10 miles easy 22
 5 Rest 4 miles normal Rest 8 miles normal Rest Rest 12 miles easy 24
 6 Rest 5 miles hard Rest 9 miles normal Rest Rest 12 miles easy 26
 7 Rest 6 miles easy Rest 6 miles normal 4 miles easy Rest 12 miles easy 28
 8 Rest 6 miles hard Rest 10 miles easy Rest Rest 14 miles easy 30
 9 Rest 6 miles easy Rest 8 miles easy Rest 3 miles very easy Half marathon or 13 milesmarathon pace 30
 10 Rest 4 miles very easy Rest 6 miles easy Rest Rest 10 miles easy 20
 11 Rest 7 miles normal Rest 6 miles easy 6 miles normal Rest 10 miles easy 29
 12 Rest 8 miles normal Rest 6 miles hard Rest Rest 18 miles easy 32
 13 Rest 6 miles normal Rest 8 miles easy Rest Rest 20 miles easy 34
 14 Rest 3 miles very easy Rest 10 miles normal Rest Rest 12 miles easy 25
 15 Rest 6 miles hard Rest 4miles hard Rest Rest 5 miles normal 15
 16 Rest 4 miles easy Rest Rest 3 miles very easy Rest marathon 35

Common Injuries

Research shows that up to 79% of runners suffer from running related injuries at some point. The vast majority of these injuries are considered ‘overuse’ injuries, which are often the result of biomechanical imbalances and strain.

The most common sites for injury are the foot and ankle, knee, hip and pelvis.

Common injuries include:

  • Foot and ankle: Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, plantar fasciitis.
  • Knee: ITB and runners knee, patella tendonitis, patellofemoral pain syndrome.
  • Hip and pelvis: bursitis, hip flexor tightness, sacroiliac joint pain.

 Top tips for avoiding running injuries

  • Invest in good quality running shoes based on an accurate gait analysis (assessment of your running style).
  • Do gentle stretches before you run, stretch further and for longer AFTER you run.
  • Don’t run through pain – you will probably make it worse. If you do begin to experience discomfort or pain, make an appointment for a free consultation at Freedom Clinics.
  • Post exercise recovery aids such as compression garments, ice baths and sports drinks may help you to recover after your long sessions sooner.

If you are concerned about an injury and would like a free consultation, contact Freedom Clinics (0113 380 0999).





*Covered by AXA PPP, BUPA and other health insurers, please telephone you health insurer for authorisation