It’s London Marathon day! One of my favourite days of the year! I’ve never managed to run it – I quite never secured a place in the ballot and those charity places are way too expensive for me but I would love to one year.
I have a special London Marathon set up, I like to get up early, make a pot of tea and some pancakes (or something else tasty) and watch the BBC coverage on my large TV and track anybody that I know is running it on my iPad. I lie there for hours on my sofa while thousands of others do the hard work!
I find the London marathon so inspiring, it makes me want to run far and long even though I’ve actually given up running for the time being.
I used to love running, I would run 4-5 times a week and I was fairly consistent for a few years. I even ran a few half marathons! I stopped after the Cardiff half marathon in 2017 when I discovered weight training. I absolutely fell in love with weight training but I didn’t have time to train for the half marathon and go to the gym and lift weights four times a week too. This left me resenting running and I don’t believe that you should be doing exercise that you don’t like so I decided that after the race I would stop running and only do it if I fancied it. I think I’ve only been on about three runs since then. That said, I wouldn’t rule out getting back into running and I would love to run London one day.
How Do I get into London Marathon?
One of the ways that you can try to get into London marathon is to enter the ballot. This opens after the race and it is open for about a week. Beware: last year 414,168 people entered this way and there are only about 17,500 places! It’s a randomly assigned ballot and not first come, first served.
You could also try for a charity place. These themselves are fairly competitive and not only do you need to raise a lot of money (most charities say that you must raise at least £2,000) but you also have to apply to the charities and they pick you!
Another option open to you if you live in the UK is to join a British Athletics Club affiliated running club. Most of these clubs get assigned a certain number of places and the probability of getting one of these places is usually better than the ballot.
The final way to get a place in this marathon isn’t a way for first time marathoners. It is to run a good for age time i.e. run under a certain time in a marathon within a certain time period. These are really competitive time but if you’re serious about running then they would make a great target to focus your training on.
So how would I train for a Marathon?
Well in PT school we’re taught about the importance of the specificity principle. In other words, if you want to train to run long distances then you have to run long distances. However, with endurance training (and any training actually) you have to make sure that you are not doing more than you can recover from, so it is important to build up slowly.
I would start by finding a training plan appropriate to your needs, there are loads of free ones on the internet. These do all the hard thinking work for you (looking at safely building your milage, deload weeks, tapering) and leave the hard running work to you! I would also incorporate two strength training sessions per week to make sure that you are strong enough to run and to help prevent injury (28 % of London Marathon entrants don’t actually make it to the start line) and I would also make sure that I am doing some flexibility work. I would also think about what I am eating as my sessions get longer to make sure that I am getting enough fuel and the right kind of fuel to run long distances.
Would you ever run a marathon? What marathon would you like to run?