Each year around this time, seasoned runners slip on their running shoes and start training for the biggest marathon event in the UK, the London Marathon.
Fitness fanatics from all over the world train long and hard to be able to complete the 42.195km (or 26.2) course around the River Thames. Some take part to raise money for charity, others simply enjoy the challenge.
Even if you’ve never stepped foot in a pair of running trainers before, there’s no reason why you can’t train your mind and body to run a marathon. With some hard work and dedication, you’ll be able to improve your overall fitness and stamina to allow you to cross that finish line at the London Marathon 2018!
Marathon training tips for beginners
One of the most common mistakes people make when starting their training is trying to do too much too quickly. It’s important to not get ahead of yourself when it comes to training and build up your stamina slowly.
In total, you’ll be running 26.2 miles when taking part in the London Marathon 2018, but don’t expect to be running that distance straight off the mark.
Luckily, there are many apps and free training programmes online that can help you go from 0 to 10k in just a few months.
Programmes such as the NHS Couch to 5k are perfect for getting you up and running (literally!), giving you a structured training plan, which helps you to start running longer distances.
From there, you can progress to 10k, then to a half-marathon and finally, onto your marathon training. The general rule is to try and increase the weekly distance you run by 10% a week. This will help to keep you progressing at a steady and safe rate, allowing you to avoid injury.
Common running injuries and how to avoid them
When starting any sport or fitness routine, it’s important to check with your doctor that you are fit and healthy enough to take part.
However, even the best athletes are prone to injury, especially when you are putting your body through a strict exercise routine.
Some of the most common injuries you may find yourself suffering from are:
- Sprains, strains, stress fractures, shin splints
Many of these can be expected at some point, but many of them are only temporary and are just our bodies adjusting to the amount of stress we are putting it under. If you experience any of these symptoms, take a break from your workout schedule to recover, then start again slowly, building up the intensity and frequency of your routines.
Something you can definitely expect, especially if you’re new to exercise, is DOMS. This stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and it is extremely common after a hard workout.
If you are running, you may experience this in your thighs and calves for example, but if you feel very sore in other parts of your body it may be less common and down to poor running posture for example.
To help ease the pain and keep your body moving through your training, make sure to pick up some of our Vitabiotics Jointace Gel. Our Jointace Sport supplement is the perfect way to support your muscles and cartilage when training, as they can both take a beating when running a marathon!
How to fuel your body when training for a marathon
It’s vital that you are also supplying your body with enough energy to carry you through these longer and more intense workouts. Training for a marathon isn’t easy and your body needs as much help as possible to keep performing at maximum effort.
Your diet and nutrition is crucial during your marathon training, so it’s important that you:
- Are eating enough calories to fuel your workouts
- Eating enough carbohydrates to give you that all important slow release energy
- Get plenty of protein in order to keep your muscles in good working order
- Are getting all the essential nutrients your body needs to perform well during your training and marathon
Our Wellman and Wellwoman Energy supplements are the easiest and tastiest way to ensure your body is fully supported. Paired with a balanced diet, our supplements can help keep your legs moving forward and carry you over the finish line!
If you are looking for help with your diet during your training, why not find yourself a dietitian or nutritionist to help you fuel your body for the marathon? Ask a trainer at your local gym or hunt around on the internet to find a reputable and highly qualified nutritionist to help you put a plan together.
Registered dietitian and author of ‘The Runners Cookbook’, Anita Bean told us how you should plan and schedule meals during training and on race day:
“When preparing for a big race, it’s important to practise your fuelling plan during training. Take the same foods and drinks that you plan to use in the race. It may take quite a bit of trial and error so try to do this early in your race preparation programme. Don’t leave it to race day!
On race day, schedule your breakfast 3 – 4 hours before the start time. So, if your race starts at 10 am, have breakfast at 6 – 7 am. Stick with what you’re used to and don’t try anything new. Porridge with bananas, granola with yogurt or eggs on toast are good options and will all give you sustained energy to help you go the distance.”
Marathon tips from the pros
We asked past marathon runners for their top tips, to give you some insider info on running the London Marathon and what you can expect from the training and the event itself.
US track and field athlete Amy Cragg received bronze at the world championship marathon in London in August 2017 and has competed in a number of other worldwide long distance running championships. Amy says that videos are a marathon runner’s best friend, helping her plan her training without having to run the course beforehand.
“Videos are your friend: It’s not always feasible to train on the course ahead of time. In that case, I research the marathon course online and find the course map and elevation guide. I then try to mimic the course in my training.”
Beauty and Lifestyle YouTuber Niomi Smart has a wealth of marathon tips in her marathon training video, helping you to prepare your body for the long-distance running.
Chris Trim from the US ran the 2017 London Marathon as a charity runner for Crimestoppers. Chris says that all runners should:
“Trust your training. You’ve put the time and the miles in, don’t let the emotion of the race, or the desire to keep up with other runners get you out of your game plan.”
Remember to compete with yourself, rather than those around you. Try to beat your own PB and don’t injure or tire yourself out by trying to keep up with others.
London Marathon coaching expert, Martin Yelling recently did a Facebook Live Q&A to answer the public’s questions around training for the marathon. You can watch the recording over on the London Marathon Facebook page!
YouTuber and running fanatic Harry Runs has taken part in a fair few marathons in his time and he has put together a helpful video for anyone looking to take part in a marathon. His top 10 tips video will tell you everything you need to know about running your first marathon.
Make sure to enjoy every second. The London Marathon isn’t just a challenge, it’s an experience. Chris told us how he managed to relax and go with the flow during the race.
“ENJOY THE CITY! It was amazing to see all the bystanders, from all walks of life, supporting the runners. It seemed like the whole city of London came out to cheer on the runners. Each runner was made to feel as special as the elite runners. Even though I set a PR during the race, I still took time to take photos along the way.”
Amy also suggests to plan as much as possible before the big day, but keep in mind that not everything will go to plan!
“Do your research ahead of time. Simulate the course, the weather conditions, the food you will eat and visualize how you will handle inevitable obstacles. A week before you leave – let it all go! It’s a marathon – things rarely go as planned! To be successful at this distance you need to handle one difficulty at a time. Stressing does not help. Just remember no matter what happens within that last week, “nothing can throw me off my game”.
To get even more tips and tricks for running the 2018 London Marathon, you can find plenty of training videos over on the official Virgin London Marathon Twitter feed.
You should also make sure to properly support your body through your intense training and during the marathon! Make sure to check out some of our sport supplements and products!