Got a spring marathon or half marathon coming up, getting nervous, and scrabbling for some last minute training tips?! Having trained for the last three years for a marathon (yes I only ended up completing one, but that's neither here nor there...;-)) and with three half marathons under my belt I feel like I'm at least semi qualified to give this advice!
Here we go:
- Respect your training run distance and the time you've put aside to train. If you have a 16 mile run lined up on a Saturday morning, probably not a great idea to go out on the lash the night before #justsaying.
- Make time for your training runs. One training year I was forever squeezing something in after a few hours of running, like a friend's birthday all you can drink brunch. I'm not saying that you should miss out on boozy brunches or completely forego your social life during your training season, but you will be knackered and need a bit of time at home before rushing back out again as if you haven't just been running for the last three hours. Give yourself that time to rest, stretch and refuel properly.
- On that note, boozing straight after a long run can lead to trouble. Trust me.
- Eat properly the night before! Anything more than six miles deserves a proper carby meal. Many a time I've had a big lunch, followed by something pathetic for dinner like apple dipped in a baked camembert. Queue a terrible, drained long run the next day with weak and heavy legs. Funnily enough, cheese isn't gonna fuel a half marathon.
- Don't put off your training run if it's raining/snowing/hailing. I truly believe the hard runs make you stronger, and of course (this is England!) there's always the potential for shi**y weather on race day.
- Get Apple Pay. Now you don't need to carry your travel or bank cards on your long run.
- RUNNING WITH FRIENDS IS ALWAYS BETTER. End of.
- Every bad run is always followed by a good run, Promise.
- When it's time to taper (usually two or so weeks before race day), do it. However weird it feels, listen to your training plan and stay confident. You've done the miles and you need to start pulling back to let your body recover and turn up fresh on race day.
- Stretching and strength training are really boring and time consuming but, as someone prone to injury, I can vouch for their necessity. Ditto for foam rolling. Definitely worth making the time for them in the same way you do your training runs.