The big day is almost here.
And if you’ve spent the last six months training for the Virgin Money London Marathon the last thing you want is to quit before you reach the finish line on April 23.
If you are a first time runner here is some advice from the experts in Canary Wharf about how to get through those tough last few miles when your legs are screaming at you to stop.
The last 6.2 miles are thought to be the toughest of the marathon but this varies – it may be the last 8-10, the first couple, or even the first of the 26.2 for an unlucky few. Pushing through is mainly a mental exercise. It’s going to feel tough, you’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on yourself but, unless you’re a professional athlete, try and remind yourself you’re doing this for fun. Even if you have the added pressure of sponsorship, keep that internal dialogue light and positive – studies have shown this can boost endurance by as much as 18% so it’s not to be overlooked. Stay focused and try to enjoy that last mile, especially those last 200m. Give that last bit your all – you can afford to.
Chef and founder of Tom’s Kitchen in Westerry Circus and keen marathon runner
Make sure that you always get a good night’s sleep before, get to bed at 9-10pm if you can so you get a good eight hours.
Have a good meal the night before that fits in with your training and what your body requires, mine has been before, some brown rice, sweet potato mash and grilled chicken breast, protein and carbs for the next day.
In the morning I always go for a large bowl of porridge that has toasted walnuts through it, dried fruit like prunes, apricots, cranberries and a whole banana sliced on the top.
The main part of the marathon is always the end as the body is aching and telling you to stop all the time, the legs are starting to get tired, but you just have to remain focused and concentrate on what you have been training for the last four months for.
If you are getting super weary and fatigued and you have to slow down, keep the strides long.
As soon as you shorten the steps the muscles start to retract and tighten, which can start to cause cramping.
Make sure you are taking regular fluids and keep hydrated all the way round.
Fitness and wellbeing advisor and PT at The Canary Wharf Heath Club, Cabot Square
Running any endurance race takes its toll on your body, but if you are a competitor that fully prepares you will make sure to never miss a training session
You will be willing to endure pain for the sake of progression.
Hitting the wall causes a loss of cognitive functioning, including your courage and capability to think straight— helping you work your way past the pain.
During your race when your legs feel like mud, your breathing grows strenuous; your strides turn into a scuffle and negative thoughts flood your mind and the urge to quit becomes overwhelming, that’s the wall.
Unfortunately, if you run long enough, you’re bound to experience this someday. The important thing is to remember why you started and draw strength and inspiration from others.
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