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London Marathon training: time to run the big numbers

Marathon runningYou can't beat putting miles in your feet

The Virgin Money London Marathon is 10 weeks away. It’s not close enough to panic but real enough to encourage you to really put the hard yards in now.

Hopefully you have four to six weeks of a good base behind you. You are now ready to start building those long runs close to the magical 20-mile mark in the next seven weeks.

There is often a discussion about how far your longest run should be with many recommending 18 miles. I always preferred 20, pushing to 22 at times, because I wanted the confidence that would bring.

Interval training, hill repeats, and strength and conditioning are excellent parts of your training plan. The truth is that nothing will prepare you for three to five hours on your feet like, well, like three to five hours on your feet.

As you pass Tower Bridge for the second time at about 22 miles and the London Eye looms into view, all those miles you have in the bank will drive you forwards.

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The best way to organise long runs is to add weekly increments. Work out where you are now and where to you want to be and go from there.

Imagine, for example, your longest run so far is 13 miles and you intend to complete a 20-mile run before the marathon. Then you can build a plan by increasing a mile per week until you hit the magical taper period three weeks before the event (more on that soon).

How can I keep myself on track for the Virgin Money London Marathon?

It’s much easier said than done of course but there are ways to keep yourself on track.

Make it interesting

Running long distances is challenging but it doesn’t have to be boring. Find new places to explore. Alternatively, run some smaller events and fun runs; check out what events are near you using our Events Calendar.

Don’t give yourself a get out

Loops suit some people but the draw of opting out of that last one can be overwhelming. 

Run with friends

If you don’t know anyone currently doing marathon training, can someone join you for the second half of the run? Company is so motivational.

Get it done and dusted

You can’t beat early morning runs. Getting up and getting out before there any other distractions or demands on your time 

Fuel properly

Running out of energy on your run – commonly known as bonking – is a miserable experience. Time to buy some energy gels and get used to taking them regularly on the run. One after an hour and then one every 30 minutes after that will keep you going.

Malcolm Bradbrook
the authorMalcolm Bradbrook
Senior Editor
Malcolm Bradbrook is a fitness journalist who competes, in a very mediocre way, in triathlon and running events. He loves running, hates spending money, and could have been a contender (maybe).

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