Running in the London Marathon this weekend? 26.2 miles is an amazing challenge to take on, and we admire anyone who does it!
We thought we would put together our tips on how to manage the big day, as well as some expert advice from our sporting brand ambassadors!
Tips for success
- A little bit of nervousness is completely normal – but you have trained for this and you know that you have the drive and determination to complete this challenge.
- It is very easy to go faster than normal when starting off because of the adrenaline, and by getting caught up in the pace of the people around you. Stick to your own pace, as this means you won’t tire yourself out in the first few miles.
- Practice in conditions similar to the marathon you will be partaking in. If you know that there are hills in the London Marathon then make sure you have incorporated some hills in your practice runs.
- The night before your run, eat meals that are relatively high in carbohydrates and stay well hydrated.
- On the morning of the marathon itself, try to eat your breakfast three to four hours in advance of running so that you don’t get any digestive issues out on the course.
- Have two goals – your primary goal should be the one that you have been working towards during your training (whether it is to complete the marathon in a certain time, or to go for a personal best etc). Your secondary goal should be the one that keeps you motivated if you are having a bad day (adding a certain amount of time on to your finishing time or even just finishing the race itself!)
- Keep well hydrated! Dehydration can put stress on the heart, increase the risk of muscle cramping, and affect electrolyte balance in cells. Staying hydrated will keep you energised and you will be more likely to maintain your pace.
Here is what our experts had to say:
“Stay in the moment! If you start to focus on how far you have run or how far you still have left to run then the scale of it may be overwhelming. Take each mile as a new challenge and draw on strength and energy from the crowd. You have (hopefully!) put in many hours of training for this day so just enjoy it for the experience it is.”
Dannish Walker-Khan (British Record Holder in Athletics)
“Nutrition wise before a big session, I like something carb rich but not too heavy, so an energy gel works wonders for me as it’s light on the stomach but packed full of the required nutrients! Stretching wise, try to keep everything dynamic, rather than static before the race. Save the static stretches for after you’ve finished. Motivational tip – be a beast! See it as your work, you have worked hard to get where you are right? So treat it the exact same with the same amount of professionalism as you would with your job. If you hit the wall, just keep on going. Mind over matter!!”
Elise Quarrington (pro triathlete)
“I would recommend getting up and eating a main meal 3-4 hours before the event, so you are well fuelled, and then eating something small again an hour before – for example a banana. If possible try and practice this before the event as you don’t want to risk anything on the day! Warm up really well by going for a run and doing some moving stretches, e.g. lunges and squats. Everyone ‘hits a wall’, but for some people its harder than others. Just think of all the work that has gone into competing and the effort to get there – don’t let the pain beat you, make it work for you.”
“When it comes to marathon day its a biggy to most and so it should be. You’ve trained your butt off for 6 months or more and all of that effort is just about to be put into action along with the huge build up of nerves and everything else that comes with the big occasion. You are not on your own, everyone else is in the same boat whether you are experienced or not. It’s all part of the big day. Personally, when it comes to prepping for a marathon I normally change my diet quite a bit in the week leading up to it. I consume about a litre of beetroot juice a day running up to the event as it oxygenates the blood; and believe me it really does work helping you go faster and harder for longer periods. I eat plenty of potatoes or pasta to carb up and drink plenty of water. One BIG reminder…………DO NOT forget to have a “number two” because as soon as you get running the rumble in the jungle is real folks and there is nothing worse, trust me! I tend to go easy for a good 6 miles then pick up my pace and that works for me. At about the 21 mile mark my body starts telling me I’m hurting and that’s where the fight begins. I find laughing at the pain and just getting on with it works, its always going to hurt and don’t think it won’t because it will. This is where it gets fun. The last 3 miles you’ll begin counting them down and looking for the mileage signs. By the time the last mile shows its face you’ll pick up the pace and go for it to cross that line with a big painful grin on your face. Good luck to you all. I’ve done the London marathon twice and still to this day it’s my fave marathon out there due to the sheer support for the whole 26 miles, it gives you goose bumps which in turn pushes you faster.“
Nicholas de Bouillane (half-Ironman British Champion)
“Don’t try anything new in the build up or cram in extra workouts, the work is done, enjoy the taper week. Keep to your plan especially in those first couple of miles where everyone tends to get excited. Your legs may feel amazing but if you set off too hard, it will come back to haunt you. Don’t be afraid of employing a run/walk strategy, it will protect your legs for the last stretch. Again, don’t be afraid of walking through aid stations and getting your nutrition on board, this will help make the last stretch a little more bearable.“