Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting out some specific tips for the major Spring marathons in the UK.. London, Brighton, Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool. These are race specific.. I'll be posting general race day tips as well shortly..
This week I’m starting with London! I’ve been lucky enough to run it four times, twice for charity and twice by qualifying to run off the Championship start line for my club.
Earlier this week I made a video with all my tips.. so if you’d rather watch and see all the key London Marathon landmarks along the way then you can catch it on YouTube here..
1. Register early at the Excel Centre - It gets incredibly busy, so if you’re near London then try to come on the Wednesday or Thursday as everyone from further afield will be visiting on Friday and Saturday. Everyone MUST visit to collect your number, chip and kit bag. Loads of stands to visit and check out the latest kit. Massages are on offer, talks to listen to and experts to chat with. Bring along your confirmation letter (will be sent out in March) and photo ID!
2. Arrive AT LEAST an hour before the 10am start time in Greenwich Park - Give yourself time to warm up, use the toilets multiple times, bring your own loo paper, take in the atmosphere. Taking the train to Greenwich, Maze Hill or Blackheath is the easiest option!
3. Bring some old clothes or a bin liner to wear during the time between checking in your bag and the race starting.
4. The route is pretty flat, with one big downhill section after around 3 miles in Woolwich, so try not to speed up too much here. There are some slight hills, but nothing to be overly concerned about.
5. Download the PDF map on the website. There are six showers to run through and toilets every two miles!
6. Put your name on your shirt, embrace the support, high 5’s.. it’s a great carnival party atmosphere all the way round.
7. There will be pacing groups to help you achieve your goal time. Runners World will release the exact details shortly.. but there are usually pacers between 3 hours and 5:30. There are markers every mile to check your pace and K markers every 5k.
8. There are water stations every mile between 3 and 25, so should be sufficient for everyone. There’s also Lucozade Sport on offer at miles 7, 11, 15, 19 and 23. Both water and Lucozade come in bottles with sports caps.. apart from 10, 19 and 23, where cups are on offer.
9. GPS watches can struggle through Canary Wharf with the tall buildings, so you might get some dodgy splits. Use GPS as a guide, but don’t rely on it. You can get pacing bands as a back up from the expo.
10. There are Lucozade gels on offer at miles 14 and 21.5. If you want to use those, then try them out beforehand in your training. Practice with whatever gels or nutrition you want to use on the day.
11. Finally enjoy the day.. it’s an unforgettable experience. Whether you win or are the final finisher.. all that matters is that you gave it your all. Smile, have fun, yes it will be tough at times.. but that will make the medal at the end mean that much more.
If you have run the London Marathon before, feel free to comment below with any advice that you think might help other people. I’ll be organising a London Marathon shakeout run shortly, which will be completely free to attend and will be a great chance to meet others in the group who are running. More details to come ASAP!
Have an amazing rest of your week and I’ll be back on Monday with some more race day tips and tricks!