London Marathon Training
The London marathon is less than 8 weeks away and training should be going well at this point. Distances should be increasing and fitness should be improving, you should be feeling good about your running.
If you are new to distance running you may not be aware of some simple but important strategies and methods which could benefit your progression, reduce the possibility of injury and ultimately increase your race time.
London Marathon Training
General training tips.
At this point of marathon training (8 weeks to go until race day) overall weekly distance is likely to be 40 – 60 miles or more. This volume is necessary to provide the base aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal resilience and mental aptitude to complete the marathon in a decent time.
The main points to remember when completing your aerobic training are:
- Maintain your progressions – keep to the 10% rule. Increase distances by 10% per week to limit overuse injury and maximize fitness improvement
- Complete 1 long run per week (in addition to your other shorter 3 or 4 runs) building up to 20 miles. Aim to hit this around 3 or 4 weeks pre-race, then it’s distance tapering. This is the best way to promote mental aptitude and physical stamina
- Complete speed work and hill repeats. These sessions increase overall race pace by increasing lactate tolerance and cardiac output
- Take at least 1 complete rest day and a recovery training day to promote healing and regeneration
- Maintain a moderate, healthy and varied diet to provide the nutrients for training, growth and repair
- Sleep well, approx. 8 hours per night
- Use strength training and cross training, they are both important components in their own ways
- If you have not already, you may need to make friends with Compeed – they make foot and toe blisters disappear
Whether you are new to distance running or a veteran, you will need a strategy for preventative exercise. This is the type of exercise to release tightness in muscle and maintain joint mobility. Injury is the blight of the distance runner.
Likely overuse injuries are:
- Illiotibial band syndrome
- Patellofemoral syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- General muscular stiffness
There are strategies to reduce these issues, cross-training and strength training will help. Also the use of soft tissue release techniques like foam rolling make a significant difference. You can read more about foam rolling here.. Rollers – an athlete`s secret weapon
Race tips and strategies
What to do on race day.
There are many ideas and it is best to find your own method based on experience. This is the bottom line, do not do anything differently on race day than you have already practiced in training. Many athletes fall on this last hurdle.
Make sure you have rested well during the previous day and slept well overnight. Your loading phase meals should have left you full of muscle and liver glycogen but don’t skip that all important low GI carbohydrate breakfast – porridge is perfect.
- Wear tried and tested shoes, do not run in new shoes or any new item of clothing
- Men: if wearing a loose T or vest, wipe vaseline or tape plasters over your nipples – we kid you not. If you don’t, prepare to find out why you should have! You may have already found out about this on your long training runs though
- Pre-race food intake should be similar to your longest training run, do not eat different foods or gels or take new untested drinks
- Eat a good low GI index carbohydrate breakfast to maintain blood, muscle and liver glycogen
- Do not sprint off at the start, you may maintain it for a few miles but soon fatigue will take over. Sounds obvious but with the buzz of the race, rookies often blast out of the blocks and blow themselves up too early – save it for the latter part of the race when you’ll need it
- Stay with pacers or your own pre-trained mile pace times
- Take fluids early during the race (again only those tried and tested), as weather conditions dictate. The hotter the day, the greater the sweat loss, so the greater the fluid intake
- Small amounts of food from approx. 45 mins into the race, nibbles not snacks! Muscle and liver glycogen stores are not limitless and unless you are an ultra-conditioned distance athlete, you will need to maintain blood sugar with extra intake
Distance race strategy advice: Ultra-Distance Sport – 5 Mental Preparation Methods
The most important part is enjoy your race…