Elite ath­letes give you their top tips for tack­ling a marathon

Athletics Weekly - - Contents -

Be con­sis­tent

“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.

En­joy it

“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

Joa­sia Zakrzewski

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