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Tops Tips For Running Your First Marathon

7 Essential Marathon Training Tips

This is the first of a series of three blogs with practical tips about how achieve your marathon goal.

Keep a training diary

  1. Keep a training log. Whether you sign-up to Strava, Run Keeper or write it in a paper diary, it’s always motivating to keep a record of your running achievements. Record how long or how far you run, how it felt and what shoes you wore. As your runs progress you might want to make a note of what you’ve eaten before and during a long run. When you get closer to race day you’ll appreciate looking back on all the miles you’ve done and see what worked well and what to avoid.

  1. Invest in some good shoes. Your shoes are going to be the single most important piece of equipment you invest in. Many running stores such as Runners Needs and Sweatshop offer a free ‘gait analysis’. A gait analysis uses a video camera and treadmill to look at the

motion of your feet while you run. A staff member will observe and analyse your running style and ensure you are fitted with the best type of shoes for your running style. Many running injuries stem from the feet rolling inwards (pronation) or outwards (Supination) while moving. The right pair of shoes can correct this and prevent a lot of pain and hefty physio fees later down the line.

  1. Build up gradually. It’s tempting to try to catch up on lost time or feel that you can do more than is written on your schedule, but that’s just a recipe for injury! Follow a plan and aim to increase your total distance by no more than 10% a week. If you’ve been ill or injured and missed a week’s training, don’t panic! It’s important you don’t try to make up for lost time, but ease back into your training. Runner’s World has some great advice about how to adapt your training plan after missing a week or two.

  1. Run with other people. Running with other people makes you accountable; it’s a lot harder to

back-out of a run if you’ve promised someone else you’ll be there. Running with others can also make you run faster. ‘Social facilitation’ is the tendency to put in more effort when you’re around other, so get together with other runners and get more out of your workout. Don’t be afraid to join a local running club. Many running clubs are friendly and welcoming and are on the lookout for new runners to join. Or try adding a Park Run into your schedule. Although it’s only 5K it can add a speed workout to your training and it’s completely free. There is a great community amongst runners and they have a lot of knowledge to share.

  1. If you can’t drag other people along with you on your long runs then why not download some podcasts to keep you company. Shows like Marathon Talk and Marathon Training Academy will keep you inspired, entertained and focused on your marathon goal.

  2. Yoga is a great all-round discipline that incorporates all these elements, but training with weights or using your own body weight is equally good. Try to include lunges, squats and calf-raises into your workout. Build-in cross training. Although your main focus will be running it’s important to incorporate other areas of fitness so that you cross the finishing line feeling strong and injury free. Core work, flexibility and strength training are all important aspects of fitness that you should consider.

  1. Enter a tune-up event. As you get closer to race day a tune-up race, ideally a half-marathon, will allow you to practice and tweak your pre-race, race and recovery strategy. Look for a half-marathon in March to get you race ready. Runner’s World has a good event search function. But hurry, many of the popular events such as Reading half marathon sell out quickly.


Thank you for reading my blog! I am lucky enough to have completed 12 marathon with a best time being 3:38:52 at London in 2015. These tips were originally written for all the London Marathon Runners supporting United Response.


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