London Marathon – Your first marathon
If you are running your first London Marathon, then congratulations! Not only have you made it through the ballot, or successfully secured a charity place, but by now, you should have your base miles behind you.
If for any reason you haven’t got into your running yet, it is time to re-assess your goal. By all means, take part, but unless you are a very experienced runner, it is very late in the day to get the necessary conditioning to complete the run and stay healthy and injury free.
Hopefully, though your preparations are well underway, and you have many long and easy miles under your belt. If so, you’ll probably be feeling a mix of anticipation and apprehension, in the knowledge that with a little over 13 weeks to go, there is a still a lot of work to be done.
So to help you on your way with your first Marathon, here are a couple of useful tips to help you avoid any pitfalls in the coming months.
The beginner’s London Marathon – Easy does it
Entering your first marathon feels like a huge challenge. With 3 months to go, it is tempting to think that you have to really ramp up the effort to make sure you will successfully complete the event.
The golden rule of training though is slow and steady wins the race. Make sure that however much training you are doing currently, that you only increase the weekly distances in small increments. The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t increase your weekly distance by more than 10%.
Go easy on the long runs too. They are supposed to be long, slow and steady. In the early stages of your long runs it may feel like you are going at a snail’s pace. That’s absolutely fine. Resist the temptation to speed up. The main goals of the longer runs are to teach your body to store glycogen and to get used to spending long periods on your feet. Speed is not the issue here.
Also, lose the obsession with doing a long run every single week. The conventional wisdom for years is that a weekly long run was an absolute must. But for the novice this is not necessarily the case. Once a fortnight may be just as adequate. Err on the side of caution. Overtraining and injury is the single biggest obstacle to completing your first marathon.
The beginner’s London Marathon – Safety first
Of course your progress will depend on regular training. Let’s face it, you have made a commitment to get this thing done. But as sensible as it sounds, staying safe and staying healthy should always come first. If the weather turns nasty in February or March, especially if it is snowy or icy, find ways to cross train indoors. Cross -training allows you to keep your cardio levels up, but also helps you guard against overuse injuries.
And finally, listen to your body. If you start to feel aches and strains back off the training. You don’t have to be a slave to the running programme. And make sure that if you do feel any sharp pains that you get expert advice as quick as possible.