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20 Top Tips for a Great Marathon

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Over the course of four different Facebook Live sessions this spring, we discussed and took questions around four different aspects of a marathon; Training, Nutrition, Pacing and Race Day. We learnt a lot ourselves!

Throughout the series, we scribbled down 5 tips from each session, with all 20 listed below:

5 MARATHON TRAINING TIPS

• There are broadly 2 types of training; mileage-based or time-based.
• Set yourself A, B and C goals. Train for A but still be happy to achieve C.
• Try not to drop too many of your long runs, these are the 'bread and butter' of your marathon training.
• Listen to your body. If you feel good, go for it! If you feel a twinge then it's ok to back off or miss a session.
• Run with a club! It's fun, you meet great people and 20 miles is a lot more interesting with a group!

5 MARATHON NUTRITION TIPS

• Try different forms of nutrition whilst training, nothing new on race day!
• Try taking a gel 5-10 minutes before race start - this'll kick in 20 minutes later.
• Plan and practice how you take your race nutrition mid-race. You don't want to be fiddling with gel wrappers whilst running!
• Your body can process roughly 200 calories per hour so aim to take this in, whether through gels, bars or other portable snacks.
• If you're running a large marathon such as London, never rely on someone in the crowd to pass you nutrition - it's busy!

5 MARATHON PACING TIPS

• Decide on a goal finish time, so that you can work out the pace required.
• On race day don't start off too fast. Adrenaline doesn't last for 26.2 miles!
• Decide whether you're going to run an even pace throughout, or if you intend to speed up/slow down at certain places.
• Ensure some of your training includes running at your goal pace. For example if you're aiming for 3 hours, run some session at 6:50/mi.
• Be flexible. Sometimes it doesn't all go to plan with injuries, or being hot or windy on the day. Adjust your pace to suit...

5 RACE DAY MARATHON TIPS

• Think your marathon day through beforehand. Use Google Maps to find the start area, know how and where you're getting dropped off and arrange a meeting point with friends or family.
• Pack some nice warm tracksuit bottoms and a jumper in your kit bag. Even if it's a warm day, you'll want to lose that sweaty vest ASAP!
• As mentioned previously, don't ever try anything new on race day. Your stomach might not thank you for it!
• Use a marathon kit checklist to ensure you don't forget to pack anything. Check it twice and then check it again.
• Pack a banana and isotonic drink in you back for after. Eat the banana (or other carb rich snack) as soon as you can after finishing.

BONUS TIP: wrap your trainers in plastic bags before the race start to keep your feet dry.

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