With nearly three months to go until the 2014 London Marathon, we pass an important training milestone for participants. We’ve put together a guide to aid your preparation if you’re planning to run the world-famous course.
Plan training and rest
A common mistake made by runners, both beginner and elite, is the lack of rest they allow their bodies to take. Training is important, of course, but it places physical stress on the body and only through rest does the body adapt to the changes. How you rest depends on your level of fitness – an elite runner can make do with just a light jogging session instead of a hard run, but a beginner may require a day off from training. You should assess your own level and plan your training and rest periods accordingly.
In preparing for marathons, runners can sometimes get hung up on the number of miles they run in a week. Of course, it gives an indication of your progress, but it is not the only measuring stick for a would-be marathon runner. Don’t become obsessed with your weekly total, and whatever you do, don’t go the extra distance to make up for any days lost. You’ll end up overexerting yourself and risking injury.
The unique factor in marathon running over other distances is of course fuel economy. During the race itself and at your marathon pace, your body will use most of the aerobic energy in your system and very little anaerobic. In training, run +10 seconds of your marathon pace to become accustomed to how your body reacts, as your body learns to use fuel efficiently.
Simulate race conditions
Try to simulate as many of the race variables as possible. You don’t necessary have to run 26.2 miles each day, but you should practice as many aspects of the race as you can, including water stops, drinking large volumes of water during a run and tempo running to maintain your pace beyond 20 miles. Consider what conditions will be like on race day, in a packed crowd thousands deep. Take time a few weeks in advance to have your pre-race meal worked out. Maybe even run the full distance in training once as a dress rehearsal, but leave enough time to recover and make changes to your routine.
The long runs
Eventually, you’ll have to start running the long runs of 18 miles or more. Here you don’t have to go at marathon pace all the way through; it’s more to acclimatise with the distance rather than the pace. You should however mix tempo running with a slower pace for effective training.
Listen to your body
If you’re constantly fatigued, the way you train should be rethought, with added rest and recovery time. After all, your body will only function as well as it is conditioned. Turning up on marathon day without a body in optimal condition will lead to problems from the start of the race, and there will be 26.2 miles more to come.
Ultimately, the training and preparation you put in will reflect your time at the end. Some will seek to finish in a respectable time, others will run it as a race. Each runner is different, so it is vital that your preparation is adjusted to you.
Good luck to everyone training for this world-famous marathon – don’t forget to let us know how you’re getting on over on Twitter and Facebook. Plus, if you’re not quite happy with you’re current kit, check out our full range of running shoes and clothing on site today.