How to prepare for the London Marathon

December 12 2018

Over the next few months, we will help you every step of the way to achieve marathon success! With a little planning, the odd word of encouragement and some expert advice, we’ll help you make the big day in April one to remember.

Where and when to start

First things first - relax. There’s no hurry at the moment.

If you’re one of the lucky 414,000 who applied for the London Marathon and have just found out you’ve been accepted, we know you’ll be keen to get going. But at this stage, it’s more about getting everything in place. The right kit, a training schedule, a goal - this is the perfect time to get everything in order. Which is where we come in.

Break it down

Running 26.2 miles around the capital may seem daunting at first, but if you get your training right, you’ll be able to run the distance.

Make sure you plan your week with one regular length run, one long run and one faster run and you’re 90 per cent of the way there. It may sound simplistic, but that is the formula even the amazing Mo uses … and we all know how fast he runs.

Learn to drink effectively

Take some time in this pre-Christmas part of the training to learn how to drink efficiently on your long run. You’ll be amazed at how useful that skill will be on the big day.

We all know that running uses up vital energy and refuelling is important, but what isn’t so obvious is that it’s a very individual process, and what works for you might not work for anyone else.

Marathon success is all about finding out what works for you. Some people can run the whole way without a problem, some need to refuel early on. Use these early months to find out what works for you.

Set a goal

Setting the right kind of goals is the beginning is the difference between a smooth marathon journey and a difficult one.

We’ll set one for you right now - up until Christmas, your running should be all about developing a weekly routine that works for you, of at least three sessions every seven days.

Now that’s out of the way, it’s over to you. Do you have a time in mind, or do you just want to complete it? Maybe you want to raise thousands for charity?

The key to success is to write your goals down, set a few intermediate checkpoints, and away you go.

For instance, if 4 hours is your marathon goal, a handy checkpoint would be a 1hr 45min half marathon in February and perhaps a 45min 10km in late January.

Your checklist

  • Get a pair of shoes that are comfortable and fit well.
  • Find training partners or a group
  • Eat hearty homemade food
  • Drink regularly, snack rarely – ask yourself are you really hungry?
  • Make up a training plan and try to stick to it as much as possible
  • Buy a GPS watch and heart rate monitor
  • Be sensible – if you need to skip a day, skip a day. If you’re training hard it doesn’t make too big a difference, sometimes you might even need it!

The schedules

Use this formula to best work out what works for you.

Mondays: This all about recovering from Sunday’s long run. Don’t be frightened to miss this day if you’re tired.

Wednesdays: This isn’t a race, but a sustained hard effort. Imagine you could run on for at least another 4 or 5 miles when this workout is over

Saturdays: Interval training is a great way of developing endurance, but feel free to mix and match it with regular running if you feel more comfortable with that

Sunday: Long run

So your first fortnight might look something like this…

Week 1

Monday: Easy 20-30min

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 45min mostly easy, but run 15min of it a bit quicker in the middle

Thursday: Rest or easy 40min

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Warm up 12x45sec at 10km pace with 90sec rest

Sunday: Long run 75-90min

 

Week 2

Monday: Easy 20-30min

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 45min mostly easy, but run 15min of it a bit quicker in the middle

Thursday: Rest or easy 40min

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 40min, picking up pace to 10km speed for the last 15min

Sunday: Long run 75-90min

Good luck and make sure you join us again next month for the next stage of your marathon success!

Visit the England Athletics website for more help and advice on running and keeping fit.