How to Run a Marathon - just put on your running shoes and keep going
Maybe it’s the sugar rush from all those mince pies. Maybe it’s struggling to do up the button on our jeans after that huge festive meal. Maybe it’s just that feeling that another year has passed and we aren’t getting any younger. Either way, January is often a time for people take on a new challenge. For most of us who run, a Marathon is the ultimate challenge - 26.2m/42 km of running bliss/pain that will require more than just a new pair of trainers and a long Spotify playlist.
With world-famous landmarks as a backdrop, a buzzing race atmosphere with crowds lining the whole route and the opportunity to run along The Thames, it’s no wonder The London Marathon is such a popular choice. And the best bit is that within the first 3 miles you descend approximately 30 meters and after that its almost pancake flat.
While I’m not training for a marathon this year (I’m focusing on Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons for now), I recently took advantage of the beautiful crisp January sunshine, popped on my comfy running shoes, plugged in my headphones and set off for a run from my house in North London into the heart of this wonderful city. Part of my route (from 13.5km to 28.5km) was over similar terrain to sections of the London Marathon and as I ran I started to think about how best to prepare both mentally and physically for such an exciting challenge.
For those of you who have decided to run the London Marathon this year, you will need to plan carefully and include a variety of training techniques: strength & conditioning, flexibility, cross training/injury prevention and recovery. To make it easier, we have put together a simple marathon training plan here.
Unless you are a professional athlete, you are probably going to have to squeeze in your training in between work, study, family, etc. So, over the coming weeks I will be sharing some ideas about how to make the best use of your limited training time – how to train efficiently and effectively:
How best to warm up and cool down
Training techniques to run faster and further
Nutrition: pre/post-run, and how to fuel yourself during the race
Post-run recovery techniques
How to improve your flexibility
How to reduce the chance of picking up an injury, and how to train while you have an injury
As long distance runners usually demonstrate a task-orientated approach to their challenges and are very conscientious I hope this will appeal to you and fit neatly into your already busy training schedule.
Now is the time make sure your running shoes provide you with the right support and are not worn out (you still have roughly 400m/700km of training runs to log); alternatively why not invest in a new pair and take the time to properly break them in.
Good luck with building the miles over the next few weeks and remember it is important both mentally and physically to train on terrain that mimics the race course. During a recovery day why not have a look at the relevant section (from Green park to Blackfriars bridge; 13.5km - 28.5km) of my 40km running route for a little London inspiration!