What to do if the worst happens
When you start running on 8 October, you’ll probably be pumping with adrenaline, so the thought of giving up due to injury will be a tough one. Just remember that temporarily letting yourself down on the day is far less demoralising than doing your body some serious damage, so if you experience any pain, no matter how minor, get yourself straight to A&E for a proper check up.
Once you’re at the hospital, the first step is getting scanned to find out exactly what state you’re in. The wonder that is modern technology makes understanding medical imaging a pretty tricky business, but you’ll be far more clued up on your own injury once you get to grips with the three main types of scan. X-Rays are used to detect fractures and breaks, while Ultrasounds monitor sprains, strains and tears, and an MRI scan can check for signs of disease and long-standing joint pain. Don’t fret if you still can’t get your head around this, as a doctor will always be on hand to make sure that you get the right scan for your condition.
How to get a scan
If you don’t have a scan on the day of the race but think you need one at a later date, your GP will have access to X-Rays and Ultrasounds to check that everything is in working order. If you’re in a lot of pain and would like to race through the process, keep calm and contact a local diagnostic unit directly, which might help you beat the NHS waiting list. Think of this as a consolation prize if your marathon target wasn’t achieved this time.
The road to recovery
Usually it’s better not to suffer in silence, so the best option for treating a sporting injury in the long-term is by getting in touch with a reputable physiotherapist. Sometimes self-help is enough though, and taking Paracetamol or Ibuprofen regularly might be all you need to take the pain away. You can also apply the handy PRICE procedure until you’re as good as new: protect, rest, apply ice, compress with a bandage, and elevate the affected area.
Above all, remember this race isn’t a case of life or death. If things don’t go to plan, make sure you heed this advice and next year’s run will get off to a flying start.