In around 6 weeks on 13th April 2014 over 35,000 sweaty bodies will traveling at various speeds, by foot, through the street of London for 26.2 miles.  This is of course the London Marathon – or should we technically say the Virgin Money London Marathon!  You may well be one of those 35,000 odd that have managed to secure a place in the marathon.   Training may have started last year for some, for others a few weeks ago.  As such, we have split our advice below for those who have a good base of training and for those who may have started a little later!  Many of the tips are transferrable between the 2…

For those looking to put the finishing touches:

6 weeks left.  That hopefully means that by now you are in pretty good shape.  You should have approximately 3-4 long runs scheduled, with the maximum distance you have attempted thus far in either 2 or 3 weeks’ time.  There are diminishing returns when you start straying over the 2 hour mark for longer runs so do not be tempted to run further than 21 miles.

If you have a specific time that you are looking to achieve then the name of the game over the coming weeks is speed endurance.  Aerobic base building runs should now be a thing of the past, from now on it is race pace or above in almost every single training session.  You probably have a number of run routes that you take on a regular basis.  Work out what pace you need to be running to hit your target time and what times that translates to on your run routes.  It is incredibly important to get used to running at race pace for an extended period of time so that you can keep it up for the whole marathon and thus hit your time.

Developing speed endurance and pacing yourself go hand in hand.  Both are just as important as each other.   Not having enough speed endurance is just as detrimental as not pacing yourself correctly and either going out too fast and fading, or starting too slow and leaving yourself too much to time to catch up on later in the race.  As such, running at race pace for the next 6 weeks will not only develop speed endurance but also mean that you will become much better at pacing yourself.

For those who feel they have left it too late!

The good news is that although it will be a tight squeeze, you still have some time to make pretty drastic improvements.

Your main concern should be keeping your training as consistent as possible over the next 4 weeks.  There is a very thin line between not training enough and over training.  It is absolutely vital that you identify this line quickly and even more important that you do not step over this line.  This is actually more of a lesson in controlling your enthusiasm – which although vital in getting you out of the door, can also be responsible for over training.  Run sessions should be long enough to give benefit but not so demanding that it takes you a week to recover.  You should really be running again within 2 days.  Obviously distances and speeds are fully dependant on your fitness level, but the fact remains that you should be running regularly.  Adjust your training schedule accordingly!

For Both

Nutrition is a key factor in success.  Over the next 6 weeks all potential marathon runners should be eating healthily and avoiding junk food and too much sugar.  Keep your hydration levels at an optimum – which is not an excuse to be drinking fizzy drinks in the office!  Make sure you eat a recovery meal as soon as possible after your training sessions and keep your meals regular.

Last but definitely not least……injury prevention.   There is nothing more frustrating than training hard only to pick up an injury just before the race.  This can either lead to you missing out on crucial training time or missing race altogether and as such avoiding injury should be a priority.

–          Stretch before and after your runs.

–          Don’t be tempted into making a last minute appearance on the rugby pitch when you haven’t played for years.

–          If you feel a little niggle, take the day off rather than forcing it.

 

Now get out there and enjoy your last few weeks of training and good luck!

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