Inspired to get running after Sunday’s London Marathon? Here’s a few tips to help you stay injury free.


Did you know that people over the age of 40 make up over 50% of all marathon runners, and for good reason? Running is a cheap, convenient and great way of improving our cardiovascular fitness, not to mention the many benefits running outside can have on your mental well-being.

The best thing is, you don’t have to run a marathon to reap the rewards, even a 20 minute jog around the block is enough to boost your immune system and get your heart pumping. Running, however, often gets a bad press when it comes to injuries so we’re here to offer some advice, top tips and bust some myths so you can enjoy your run injury free.

New to running or not run for a while? Then start with a couch to 5K

There’s no getting around the fact that running puts extra pressure on your joints and muscles. This is the same for any new activity so making sure you give your body time to adapt to the new stresses you are putting on it is important.

Our muscles, joints and ligaments take time to adapt to the loads we place on them when running so even if you already have good cardiovascular fitness from other sports such as swimming or cycling you need to take it slowly and give these tissues time to get stronger by doing a couch to 5k type programme. We recommend this to anyone who is new to running or has had a break from running. It really is the best way to ensure you can enjoy your run without picking up an injury on the way.

Strength training is a must

Once we hit 40 we start to lose both muscle volume and strength. While running is great to build our heart muscles we need to work on our other muscles too. Each step we take running puts approximately 3-8x our body weight through the joints of our legs ie ankles, knees and hips. We need our muscles to be able to absorb these loads to keep the impact out of our joints. Strength training is they key here, particularly training our calf muscles and more specifically the Soleus muscle.

The Soleus muscle sits deep to the larger gastrocnemius muscle and is the most important muscle when it comes to distance running. It’s the muscle that absorbs most of the shock when you land each stride and uses that energy to propel you back off again. It is also known as the second heart due to its pumping action on the large vessels in the legs helping blood to return against gravity to the heart.

While Soleus injuries themselves are rare, weakness in the muscle can lead to overuse injuries of the Achilles tendon, the Plantar Fascia and even the knee and hip.

Here are some of our favourite exercises to target the Soles muscle. You can add resistance to all these exercises and increase the weight when the exercise starts to feel easy.

Bent knee calf raise. You can add resistance by holding weights.
Seated Soleus raise. With a weight placed on the knee and the front of the foot on a yoga block raise and lower the heel.
Heels elevated shoulder bridge. With the front of the foot on the yoga block lift and lower the hips using the glutes and hamstrings.
Forward step down with weight. This works both the Soleus and the quadriceps which are also important for running.

But won’t running wear out my knees and hips?

This is one of the most common myths when it comes to running, but research by Alentorn-Geli (JOSPT, 2017) showed that running was actually protective AGAINST osteoarthritis in the main. Recreational runners had a 3.5% risk of developing osteoarthritis in the hip and knee compared to 10.2% in those who are sedentary. That’s means you’re more than twice as likely to get osteoarthritis from sitting on the sofa than your are going for a quick run around the block, not to mention all the other benefits from running. We need to remember though that running technique is important as is a good pair of running shoes suited to your feet and running style.

Fancy giving it a try but don’t like the idea of going it alone? Then find your local Parkrun.

Parkrun is a fantastic, free weekly run that is open to all ages ages and abilities. they are held worldwide every Saturday morning and you can find your local event at You can run, walk or a mix of both and you can run with other like minded people and enjoy a real sense of community. Your run is timed so you can compare your runs each week and watch your improvement as time goes on. The park run in our local Bushy Park was the first and is still the most popular in the country.

We’re here for all your running needs

if you would like any help or advice on getting started running or would like our help recovering from an injury we have lots of treatment options available, so do get in touch or book an appointment via our book now button below.