April 10, 2020 News

You’ve been following a training plan for months now and with 4 weeks remaining before race day you should be planning your final long run. This is your last chance to get some big miles under your belt before you start to taper.

If you’ve been sticking to a training plan, great, keep it up. This blog is designed to help you approach your taper period in the right mind-set.


Tapering improves performance

Tapering is an essential part of marathon training preparation, but why do we do it? If you’ve been building towards marathon distance, why would you want to reduce your training load as the event approaches?

The simple answer is that science show us tapering strategies can improve performance by up to 6%! It’s a proven strategy to ensure peak performance by reducing training fatigue.

The taper is all about transitioning from the preparation phase of training to being physically and psychologically ready for competition.


Getting the load just right

Reducing your training load during a taper is a great way to reduce accumulated fatigue, however, reduce the load too much or in the wrong way and you risk undoing some of your hard work!

There are 3 main components to training load that need to be considered:

  • Intensity (how hard you’re working)
  • Volume (the length of your sessions)
  • Frequency (number of sessions per week)

Research shows that intensity is the key element to maintaining your training induced adaptions and preventing negative effects of a taper. This means you should still be running hard during your taper. You should maintain a similar ‘rate of perceived exertion’ during your runs to what you were aiming for during the pre-taper phase. If you’ve been doing interval training or stairs sessions too, these can remain high intensity.

When it comes to training volume it has been shown that this component can be markedly reduced without negatively affecting performance. By reducing total training volume by 41-60% you can maximise your performance gains. This should be the focus of your taper. In other words, make your runs shorter.

Frequency is the final variable of training load and it represents how many runs you are completing in a week. Most of the research in this area shows that reducing frequency during a taper neither improves nor decreases performance. However, maintaining routine is important so it’s usually recommended to uphold a similar number of runs each week.

Basically, to get the most out of your taper you should maintain the frequency and intensity of your runs, but you should reduce the distance by about half over the taper period.


Duration of the taper

Most taper periods are between 1-4 weeks long. The perfect taper period is individual and depends on how hard you’ve been pushing yourself in the weeks before tapering. If you’ve pushed your limits and you’re feeling exhausted, perhaps a 4-week taper would be best for you. On the contrary if your training has been a bit patchy you may only need a couple of weeks.

Perfecting the duration takes experience and a good ability to listen to your body. For most of us however, around 3 weeks seems to be the sweet spot between optimising performance and avoiding the negative effects of de-training. For now, it’s probably best to stick with what’s in your training plan.

marathon training

Enhancing your recovery

Some of the finer details you should consider during your taper:

1. Reducing muscular fatigue

Massage and compression garments are the two main modalities that come to mind here. There’s little evidence that massage and compression garments can improve performance for marathon runners, but there is some to suggest they may help with recovery. My advice is that if you’re not keen on using either I wouldn’t bother. If, however, you are someone who swears by either massage or compression garments then that’s a great reason to continue doing the things that work for you.

Massage can help reduce soreness after exercise, so Guernsey Therapy Group will be at the finish line providing post-race recovery massages. Come and see one of our physios after the race for massage and advice.

2. Sleep

This is where most of your rejuvenation will come from. If you struggle to sleep at times a warm shower before bed or meditation could help you to get those important extra hours.

3. Nutrition and hydration

It goes without saying that nutrition and hydration are critical for successful preparation. Starting a race with poor hydration or low glycogen stores will have significant consequences for your ability to perform or even finish the race.

Match your macro-nutrient intake to your training load and keep your urine light yellow to clear.


Managing injuries

“Patch it up, fix it later”, is how the saying goes. Many runners run with pain and can carry on just fine. The taper period gives you a little extra time to get some symptomatic relief from your injuries while you wait until after the race to get them addressed properly.

If you have any concerns, Guernsey Therapy Group are your go-to physios for all running related pain. Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose and treat your pain and get you back on your feet again in no time. Give us a call on 232 900.

Disclaimer: The advice in this blog is general in nature and may not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Always consult your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.


About the author:

Mitch Hamer – Specialist MSK physiotherapist

Mitch is a runner and a physio. He’s the lead MSK physiotherapist for Guernsey Therapy Group, Team Physio for the St Jacques Vikings rugby team and has represented Guernsey internationally for Touch Rugby.

April 10, 2020 News

Guernsey Therapy Group Ltd, in conjunction with, are pleased to be hosting leading endurance physio Mike James and his renowned course for Endurance Athletes and therapists:

“Optimising Endurance Performance”

Optimising Endurance Performance is an evidence-based course with a strong practical element aimed at helping therapists, athletes and coaches manage the endurance athlete. The course is designed and led by endurance specialist Physiotherapist Mike James, widely known as “The Endurance Physio”. Mike has over 20 years’ experience as an ultra-endurance athlete and therapist, competing and treating worldwide. He has a growing reputation in the sports medicine, rehabilitation and conditioning world. He has worked with novice to elite athletes in triathlon, running, swimming and ultra-running, coupled with 16 years’ experience of treating military personnel undertaking strenuous endurance-based exercise including Special Forces based in Afghanistan.

He has had articles published in national endurance-based magazines and has lectured, presented and treated at numerous national exhibitions, competitions and shows.

Mike holds a Masters in Physiotherapy as well as degrees in Sports Rehabilitation and Sports Science. Mike’s passion is helping athletes achieve their potential and reducing injury risk, with an emphasis on strength and conditioning. He is passionate about helping athletes get to the start line and finding practical solutions to their problems.

Course Objectives:

By the end of the course attendees should have a greater understanding of:

  • Potential causes of injury in endurance sports and be able to identify them in athletes.
  • The role of injury risk reduction and the importance of the therapist in achieving this.
  • How to manage training load in endurance athletes, including how to progress load distance safely.
  • The importance of strength and conditioning in endurance sports, and an ability to prescribe strength and conditioning regimes within a training regime.
  • The selection and application of numerous treatment techniques to assist the endurance athlete.
  • The importance and application of a range of recovery strategies to assist the endurance athlete.

Course Ethos:

The course is friendly and informal and encourages discussion and debate. The aim is to provide a relaxed and enjoyable environment in which to learn and develop skills for any therapist working with endurance athletes to use the very next day.

Please click on the following link to book a place:



April 10, 2020 News
If you are heading off island for spinal surgery, GTG are your specialist spinal physiotherapy providers. Call us on 232 900 for more information.

Since late last year, Guernsey residents requiring spinal surgery are being sent to Salford Royal Hospital, the largest spinal tertiary-care centre in the UK.

This week, Guernsey Therapy Group were proud to host a spinal surgery study day delivered by Tom Watt, one of the key physiotherapists at Salford Royal Hospital.

Tom is an Advanced Clinical Practitioner in the Complex Spinal Team at Salford Royal. He has been instrumental in setting up some of the programs in Salford and it was a pleasure to tap in to his expert knowledge.

Physiotherapists from around the island were in attendance, including all 11 of GTGs outpatient musculoskeletal physios who will be responsible for the rehabilitating patients after spinal surgery.

GTG networking with Salford Royal
Some of the surgeries which will be undertaken in Salford include:
  • Lumbar discectomy
  • Lumbar decompression
  • Lumbar laminectomy
  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
  • Cervical disc replacement
  • Cervical decompression
  • Multi-level fixation
  • Single-level fixation
  • Scoliosis correction

April 10, 2020 News

 GTG wish Ellen Morley the very best of luck as a swimmer representing Guernsey in the Island Games 2019.  Ellen has recently completed an 8 week placement in the Neuro team as a physiotherapy student at Sheffield University.


April 10, 2020 News

With Gibraltar unable to host football as part of the upcoming Island Games; Ynys Mon (Anglesey) played host to the Inter Island Football Tournament between 15th and 21st June 2019. Martin Lock and Dawn Thomas of GTG were involved in keeping the footballers at their best throughout the week along with Chris Tardiff (Coach), Mark Romeril (Assistant Coach) and Jason Tardiff (Operations Manager and Safeguarding Officer).

Inter-Island Games are most significant for all those involved, and what made this very special was that it included a very well rounded combination of established players from various clubs, players who study/play off island (but still hold residence in Guernsey) and up and coming youth. Top island football has had a 2018/2019 season lasting 332 days and so this tournament was to be the pinnacle of that season for many of the players and the staff. Keeping players fit throughout a week long tournament at the end of a lengthy season and to get players to continually perform at their best was what we hoped for. As Physiotherapists, Martin and Dawn were involved in cool downs and stretches at the end of games and practice sessions, attending to individuals needs to keep their MSK system functionally moving well, and ensuring players had adequate rest and nutrition throughout the week. Being part of the staff Martin and Dawn were also involved in domestic chores, so it was very much more than just being ‘the physio’.

Thankfully the whole team grew stronger throughout the week, performing well on and off the field, and the overall success with a silver lining (silver medal) at the end of the week was down to a combined team effort from staff and players who all worked well together. As a bonus the squad finished the week injury free (a good headache for the Coaches when picking their team!).

‘You get out what you put in and it is personally something I am very grateful that GTG gave me the opportunity to attend these games with this team. As an organisation GTG are very much a part of supporting community and inter island sport. We wish the Guernsey Island Games Team all the best in Gibraltar and GTG looks forward to being an integral part when Guernsey host the games in 2021.’  Martin Lock



April 10, 2020 News

Our Neuro Physio team have joined in the fun to support Hats for Headway day this morning by wearing Christmas themed hats and holding a cake sale to raise funds for Headway Guernsey.

April 10, 2020 News

The start of the year often sparks a health kick for many people, and with demand for health, wellbeing and mindfulness services at an all-time high, there was no better time for GTG to be part of the largest event in Guernsey to help promote this.

Les Beaucamps High School was host to the 2019 Guernsey Health and Wellness Show on Sunday 27th January and GTG were keen to be part of this to showcase everything they have to offer.

GTG’s knowledgeable staff were on hand to provide information, advice and much more to everyone who visited them, allowing an opportunity for people to explore the different therapies and services that GTG offer, which can help enhance your lifestyle and ensure people are living happier and healthier lives.

If you think physiotherapy may be of benefit to you or someone you know, or if you are unsure if physiotherapy can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us to find out more at

April 10, 2020 News

Happy New Year to all of our patients, staff and friends, we hope that 2019 is a wonderful year for you all. While the fireworks were going off around the world, as well as celebrating the start of what we hope will be another great year, the 1st January 2019 also marked GTG’s 21st Birthday.

Not being ones to pass up the opportunity for a party the directors and founders of GTG, Denise Robilliard and Dawn Thomas, hosted a birthday party to celebrate this milestone occasion, welcoming many staff members, service users and health care professionals, all familiar with the great service that GTG offers.

The party was held at GTG’s St Martin’s clinic, which made the perfect venue, and a wonderful time was had by all while everyone was treated to drinks, canapés and a huge personalised birthday cake.  The event provided Dawn and Denise the opportunity to thank many of the people who have supported GTG over the years, in particular their hard working and dedicated staff who have helped GTG go from strength to strength and develop into the largest physiotherapy provider in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Here’s to the next 21 years!





April 10, 2020 News

GTG Physiotherapist Kay Pires and GTG Physiotherapy Assistant Marion Marquis are no strangers to having fun and keeping fit. They both understand the positive benefits of physical activity on good health and wellbeing being regular members of the Guernsey Walking Football club.

Marions says “our ethos is Fun, Fitness and Football. Anyone can come along and have a go. We have people who have had heart surgery, mental health problems, knee and ankle operations. The club encourage doctor’s surgeries and health professionals to recommend people to join us.” The club have taken part in a ‘murrati’ against Jersey and won! We also have English teams come over to Guernsey for a tournament, as well as local corporate team tournaments. The club also supports days like The Bobby Moore Foundation/ Sports Commission. The emphasis is on getting fit in a gentle non-contact way.

They would encourage anyone to come along and join them. Visit the Guernsey Walking Football Club facebook page to see what the club gets up to and spot the GTG physio team members out of uniform! Or e-mail the club for more information or details.

Useful Links:
Guernsey Walking Football Club Facebook page


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