Each year, the London Marathon makes headlines across the world, with elite runners using the event to break records and many taking the opportunity to raise millions of pounds for worthy causes.
Whether you’re preparing to don your running shoes and hit the streets for 26.2 miles in April, or are taking part in any of the capital’s other race events held throughout the year, these marathon preparation tips from our expert coaches at AMP will surely support you on your journey.
Stay strong. We know that runners like to run, which is exactly why we recommend a solid gym routine. Strength training will improve your capacity to tolerate running volume by increasing muscular, tendon, ligament and bone strength. Done well, strength training will keep you in the game. For personalised advice and specific marathon preparation tips, jump into a Small Group Personal Training session with our AMP coaches at ESPA Life at Corinthia.
Track your activity. It is important to have a plan for your runs in the build up to the big day so tracking is essential. Sharp increases of running volume is associated with injury. Most runners will use weekly and monthly totals to characterise running volume.
As a rule of thumb, avoid increasing running volume by more than 10% each week and take an occasional week where volume stays the same. This is just one of the things we monitor as part of the Performance Program at AMP to ensure runners are improving while staying injury-free.
BEFORE THE LONDON MARATHON
Get a good breakfast. It’s important to eat right on the day – something carb-focused but that still contains protein and healthy fats. We love the porridge from The Northall, topped with some nuts and seeds, or a protein shake or yoghurt is a perfect choice. Just remember not to change anything on race day!
Do a shake-out run. To stay loose and maintain confidence, one of our favourite marathon preparation tips is to do a short ‘shake-out’ run the day before. It should be no more than 5km at a pace of at least 1 minute/km slower than you plan to start the marathon. St James’ Park, just moments from the hotel, would be a perfect setting for this.
DURING THE LONDON MARATHON
Food = fuel. You will need to refuel during the race and the focus should be on carbohydrates to increase energy. These come in many forms, such as gels, but make sure you’ve tried a few options before the big day to see what works best for you. During your practice runs, try refuelling every 30 minutes to begin with and increase/reduce if needed. Again, this isn’t something you want to experiment with on the day!
Drink enough water. For bouts of exercise that exceed 45 minutes, it is generally recommended that some fluids are consumed during the activity. Most studies land somewhere between 0.4 and 0.8 litres per hour, suggesting that one should avoid loss of fluid amounting to no more than 2% body mass. Losses of more than 2% have shown to be detrimental to performance. Drinking more to account for hotter days – or even particularly dry and cold days – is also important to consider.