Elite athletes give you their top tips for tackling a marathon
“Marathon training is not about smashing sessions out of the park but ticking the work off consistently,” says 2:12:57 marathon runner
Jonny Mellor. “I’ve been guilty of pushing too hard in build-ups previously and being over-cooked come race day.”
“Make sure you get enough rest. Improvement comes from the body’s adaptation in response to the stimulus of training, so rest is vital,” says Mara Yamauchi, the secondfastest British female marathon runner ever. “Marathon runners tend to over-do things but more is not always better.
Practice race pace
“Practice race pace on your own sometimes – during tempo runs or within long runs – so that you get used to the rhythm of your stride,” says elite marathon runner Emma Stepto. “Listening to your footfall and breathing can help you can relax into the correct pace and get familiar with how it feels.
“Concentrating on maintaining pace, with just your own thoughts as company, is often what you will have
to face in the race, so it’s a great way to be prepared and confident for when the real thing takes place.
Remember your goal
“Remember why you’re doing it, as that makes all the training worthwhile, whatever happens on race day. It also means that you hopefully ignore everyone else’s race and plans and stick to your goals,” says international marathon runner Joasia Zakrzewski.
“Enjoyment,” says eight-time London Marathon champion David Weir. “Enjoy the training. Don’t take it personally, just enjoy it.”
Get good at sleeping
“I looked back at my diary from my first marathon build-up and noted/ remembered I had a lot of sleep issues,” says British international marathon runner and 2010 European 10,000m silver medallist Chris Thompson. “You’d think sleep would be easy after hard sessions but it can be quite the opposite.
“The body can become restless and you struggle for deep sleep. When time is precious and you can’t give yourself extra time in bed that puts more pressure to get to sleep, creating a vicious circle.
“Good sleeping habits are key. It only takes a couple of poor nights sleep and training needs to be altered.
“Pressing on through tiredness is a fine line. When the big sessions come don’t be surprised or stressed by the body fighting against a good night’s sleep. It’s in overdrive and needs to calm down. It will if you let it.”
Jonny Mellor: consistency is key
Chris Thompson: getting enough sleep is vital