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London Marathon update January 2016

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27 Jan 2016
If you have read my latest blog on our website, you will know that this April I will be running the London Marathon to raise money for Headway Brain Injury in memory of a good friend of mine who unfortunately lost his life after a serious head injury accident in November 2013.

Although I have always taken part in regular sports activities, I have never really been a big runner, so as you can imagine, this is going to be big challenge for me.

When I initially signed up to do the marathon, I wasn’t really fussed about what time I completed it in, however, as the weeks went by, and because of my competitive personality, me and my friend had a bet on who would complete the marathon in the fastest time.

This friend of mine is also extremely very competitive and has been a member of his local running club for the last two years, so I know I needed to do some research in order for me to stand a good chance. After a night spent on the internet, I have come up with what I think, are good starting tips for someone doing a marathon for the first time.

Mix it up
There is a common misconception that when training for a marathon you need to run every day. If this is your first race you only need to run 3-4 times a week and instead add other training methods to your routine. Try cycling, swimming or Pilates to reduce stresses on your joints and increase muscle strength.

Clever runners walk
This is my secret weapon. The jog then walk method for long runs is a great way to reduce your risk of injury and conserve energy. Try a 1 minute walk every mile or 10 minutes, it’s been proven to work, even for runners achieving times of 3:30.

Be prepared
Warming up properly is even more important than post-run stretching. A good dynamic warm up is where you activate the muscles and prepare the body, which massively reduces the risk of injury. Prior to every run spend 5-10 minutes performing a mindful series of leg swings, lunges, squats, bum kicks and hamstring curls, before going for a brisk walk for around 5 minutes.

The right support
When training for a distance race, it is vital that you own a good pair of running trainers. It goes without saying that properly fitted running shoes are crucial, go at least a size up from your regular size to allow space for your toes to spread.

Fuel your training
A healthy balanced diet is really important, so make sure to include plenty of protein for recovery and carbohydrates for fuel. There is nothing worse than trying to run when hungry, so plan and time your meals and snacks to support your training. On a distance run you need around 30g of carbohydrates per hour so experiment with different gels, honey or sweets to find what suits you best. Aim to have a protein shake within 30 minutes of finishing your run to help you recover faster.

Get ready to roll
Okay so it’s going to hurt, but foam rolling your quads and calves and using a massage ball on the glutes is one of the most important things you can do while marathon training. Foam rolling improves your form and keeps injuries at bay, so I recommend having a stretch session a few times a week.

Be positive
Develop a ‘growth mindset’ by looking at any difficulties as challenges to overcome. This is a time to be resilient and resourceful, if training doesn’t go to plan, re-think your goals and try something different, for example work on your strength and conditioning instead of going for a run.

Information about my chosen charity, Headway
Headway is a UK wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury and provides support, services and information to brain injury survivors, their families and carers, as well as to professionals in the health and legal fields. If you would like to donate to this great cause, please follow the link below:

Thanks in advance!
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