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Benjamin Parkes |

My inbox is getting very full with questions from runners who have had various issues during their training and are now worried they won’t hit their goal time for the race. Injuries, missed runs, motivation, lack of time.. there’s lots of reasons why.. but it doesn't have to be doom and gloom and you can still have a great race! So if you feel you're training hasn't quite gone to plan, here’s my take on what to do between now and race day. 

- Firstly you are not alone! I guarantee there won't be a single person in the club, or on the start line who will have followed their training plan perfectly, done every run well and not had any niggles or injuries. Running is SO hard at times.. and as it’s usually a solo sport, it can feel very lonely when it’s not going right. I always say, hit 75% of your training plan and you’ll be ok to get round the marathon and have a good race! 

- If you are worried about not finishing the race, just to put it in perspective, around 99% of people who start the London Marathon end up crossing the finishing line at The Mall, a lot of whom will be first time marathoners. When I ran my first marathon, the goal was just to complete it and I was about 50% certain I would.. but it was fine. 4 hours of ‘fun’ and we got the job done. The odds are in your favour about getting round! 

- A lot of people have been saying they haven't managed to get their long runs in, or the longest they have run is around XX miles. If you are running Brighton or London and you fall in this category, try and go out for a longer run this weekend. Go out for around 3 hours, take water and gels with you and just try and get that time on your feet, even if you need to walk a few bits. Get up early, cancel your plans and try to fit it in. You will feel so much more confident on race day if you have covered 3+ hours in training. Then give yourself some decent rest afterwards. 

- With that being said, don't try and make up for lost time and do lots of the runs that you have missed. For example, if you have been running 20 miles per week for the past few weeks, don't go out and try and run a 50 mile week in attempt to play catch up, it doesn't work that way in running and you will likely cause yourself an injury. 

- Of course if training hasn't quite gone the way you'd hoped then adjust your goals accordingly. If you had a particular time in mind, think about giving yourself a bit of extra leeway. Be realistic about what you can achieve on the day. On the flip side, maybe your training has gone amazingly well and now you’re looking at potentially going quicker. Amazing! Why not have a read of my article on predicting race times from a few weeks ago? 

Here’s some other quick fire areas that should be at the front of everyones mind over for the two weeks in the build up to race day. 

- Getting a sports massage can be great to breathe new life into your legs! 
- If you have an injury or niggle.. book in to see a physio, they are the experts who can help you sort it. 
- Avoid getting a cold!! A few vitamin C tablets are good.. or adopt whatever method you choose to help a cold at bay. 
- Sleep - As much as you possibly can! 
- Reduce your strength work and focus on rolling and some light stretching. 
- Practice everything - breakfast, gels, drinking, kit. 

Plus during these two weeks you can’t really add any fitness. So run mostly easy, add some strides into your runs and practice with some stints at your goal marathon pace.  

So there we go. A few things that will hopefully help calm any nerves if you're worried that you've not done enough training. At the end of the day, it is a learning curve for us all so make notes of what has gone well and the things which have caused you to miss runs so that you can avoid it in future if you train for another marathon. It took me 52 marathons to reach my 2:25 PB! And I’m sure you will want to do more! 

As always, let us know down in the comments below if you're worried about anything now that we are getting into the final few weeks and I will try and cover it.