You’ve received that coveted ‘you’re in’ magazine for the London Marathon this week, now what?
I have collected a few, very simple pieces of advice for those of you currently looking at the summit of the London Marathon from basecamp and thinking I just can’t do that. It will be a day that will change your life and trust me you can do it. If I can, anyone can.
When my acceptance magazine came I had just completed my first ever half marathon. I was completely unprepared for that race and it actually put my training back a few weeks as I thought I just couldn’t do a marathon. Up until that point I hadn’t asked for any help, after that race I knew I needed it. I’ve now run 8 marathons including London twice and I am still learning so never be afraid to ask for advice. If you follow my seven starting points and be open to listening to other runners you’ll be wearing that medal with pride come April. If you already are a runner comment below with your key advice to marathon newbies.
1. Just start. Put on your trainers after reading this and just go out for a run, it doesn’t have to be fast or long just go. Getting yourself into a rhythm is half the battle to be honest, creating a routine of just lacing up your trainers and heading out the door will make you so much stronger come race day.
2. Stop the excuses. The likes of; “Oh it’s raining”, “it’s cold”, “I just don’t feel like it” have to stop. It is something I am still trying to do but it is by far the best piece of advice as come marathon time it could rain, be cold and lets face it who hasn’t woken up on raceday and not felt like they could be arsed!
3. Allow yourself breaks. A key thing about training for anything is to allow your body time to heal and recover. I tend to give myself two to three days off depending on the intensity of the week. If you are doing longer distances I use the rule that for every hour run, give yourself a day off to recover.
4. Build up slowly. There are plenty of training plans you can find online, I especially recommend the Hal Higdon plans as there are ones to fit any target time and starting fitness. Following these will build your marathon ability.
5. Mix it up. It’s not all about running, now it’s time to find new ways of getting fit too. I discovered I enjoyed playing squash and doing HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Also don’t neglect your core, it will be what keeps you struggling on when mile 21 hits you like a hammer.
6. Enjoy it! Without having fun you simply won’t want to get up and run every week. Find a running buddy, join a running club, create great running playlists, like some running facebook pages (like mine!) or try out podcasts. Keep mixing it up to see what keeps the running boredom at bay!
7. April is your victory lap. Come the marathon all the hard work will have been done. Picture the day when your friends and family will watch you complete a truly immense achievement in an indescribable atmosphere. When that medal is hung around your neck you’ll forever be a marathoner.