So you have just watched the London Marathon and have thought…. ‘I would love to do that, it looks like so much fun!’ All those people, the atmosphere, the colours, the race and of course ‘it’s all for charity mate’. So here are a few tips to set you on your way!
1. Go and drive 26.2 miles to see just how far it is so you can appreciate the enormity of the task. It is further than you think!
2. See your doctor to get a check up and the all clear as the training is very stressful on your body.
3. Plan well ahead and have a backup plan if you want to do London. Demand is very high and if you have not run a marathon before, it can be difficult to get an automatic place as it first timers are drawn from a lottery. There are usually lots of other marathons around spring and autumn as these are the optimal times for marathon weather!
4. An alternative is to run for a charity. You will have to raise a certain amount of money to get your London place. The amount can be quite high, and I have seen charity places with a value of £1500 attached to it. A quick Google search for charity places will lead you down the right path.
5. Start training well in advance and plan ahead. You should give yourself at least 6-7 months training time, if not more as a beginner.
6. The right trainers are essential. Don’t run in tennis shoes, gym shoes or the classic Nike cortez. Your feet will in bits and your back won’t be much better. Get a decent pair of running shoes, preferably from a running shop as these guys know what you need, JJB and Sports Direct don’t! You may pay a little more, but they will be worth it. Once you have them, you can buy them online in the future!
7. Go to your local running club and find someone to run with. There may be a beginners group you can join to help you get started and keep you going through the tough long miles of training. If you are not sure where you local running club is, check this site out: www.clubfinder.org.uk
8. Take a look around on running websites and running magazines for training guides for beginners. Search Google for ‘marathon training for beginners’. If you have never trained before start your training off with gentle jogs for 5-10minutes. Don’t be afraid to jog for 30seconds and walk for 30seconds. Just get started whilst looking for a training plan.
9. Look for shorter races throughout your training. Start with a 5km, then a 5mile, then a 10km, then a 10 mile, then a half marathon. They are lots of fun and can help you get used to preparing for an event.
10. Keep well hydrated before and after training. You really don’t need to take a bottle of water on short runs. You won’t die of dehydration and it is just extra weight to carry! Once you get into it, you will probably be able to run up to 10miles without a drink in training.
11. Do lots of stretching after your runs and expect aches and pains along the way. The most common are shin splints which feel like a burning sensation down your shins. Running on grass or softer ground when you first start can help prevent this until your bones are stong enough to cope with the roads.
12. And lastly, enjoy it! Running a marathon is a great achievement. I have run two marathons and they were amazing ……the next day however is not so amazing!
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