So you’ve signed up for the London Marathon — Congratulations!
First things first, don’t panic. You have plenty of time to prepare yourself for the experience, and to make sure you’re in top form.
To celebrate your commitment, why not treat yourself to a brand new kit? Our full range of running gear gives you everything you need to get started with your training, as well as for the big day itself.
Before you start heading out on 10k’s, remember that there’s no hurry.
As any good coach will tell you, your training before Christmas is all about getting yourself fit to actually start your marathon programme. That’s exactly how England’s best go about things.
How To Train
Head to an England Athletics club near you and they’ll confirm that Winter is all about preparation.
Runners spend the early winter building up the strength they’ll need to actually start the serious stuff a few months before their big competition. And the same training rules will apply to you.
This involves everything from getting yourself used to a regular training routine, to strengthening your body for what you’re about to tackle.
But let’s get straight to the point - the marathon is tough.
It requires some serious thought, whether you’re finding the right running shoes or discovering what training works best for you. Yes, it’s hard, but with the right preparation, very achievable.
5 steps to put you on the road to success
Preparation is everything
Plan to start your actual marathon training sometime in January. Whether you’re looking to smash your personal best or just comfortably finish, England Athletics have 14-16 week programmes for you to follow.
Use the time you have now to get yourself ready for that January date and start to set a routine and get yourself used to running. That might mean edging an existing long run up by 15 minutes, or simply planning a week that involves at least three runs.
As a rule of thumb, you need to be comfortable (ish!) with 10 miles by January. Then you’re ready….
Gear yourself up for success
You’ll be amazed at how important the right kit is when it comes to running success.
We have the right shoes for you whether you’re a pronator or a biomechanically efficient machine. Plus, we also have the right breathable, energy enhancing running clothing for you that not only looks good but will help you move easier and faster.
You’ll overheat and chafe if your kit isn’t up to scratch, whereas the right kind of gear gives you the edge you might need!
Mix and match
Running the marathon may appear to be all about one thing: being able to run a long way. And yes, that is true, but to do so you need to learn how to run a little quicker over shorter distances.
So take these pre-training months to learn just that. In your usual run, try surging hard for three or four minutes, perhaps five or six times.
Or if you fancy something a little more uniform, go to the park and run, say, 6x2min with 1min rest. Do this once a fortnight and you’ll start to notice a difference.
Likewise, once every 10 days or so, instead of going out for your usual half hour, go easy for 5min, then hard for 20 before easing in again for the last 5. Your body will start to make the necessary physiological adjustments turning you into a stronger, more efficient runner. It’s that simple!
The perfect pace
Amazingly, we all know our perfect pace - it’s inbuilt; and it’s slow! The best running is done at a speed where you can happily chat to whoever you are with (there’s a tip for you: share the workload and find someone to run with).
If you can settle into that rhythm – with walking or without – you’ve pretty much found the ideal speed for increasing your ability to run further. Heart rate monitors and other expensive bits of kit will also find that pace for you, but it’ll be exactly the speed you’ve found yourself by chatting to your friend.
Save silence for faster efforts.
There are many methods for this, but the most practical approach is simple. Set yourself a few mini-goals on the way to your main goal and things will move along nicely.
If you have that first goal of being able to run 10 miles comfortably by January, getting out on dark nights will be that much easier.
If that’s not strict enough for you, enter a race. Don’t worry about winning or PB’s, it’s about feeling good and relaxed on race day. Book a session at the gym once a week with a friend, arrange to meet once a week for a long run.
It’s the small things that work the best.
Visit the England Athletics website for more help and advice on running and keeping fit.