For the final blog in our 'marathon corner' series we have a guest blog from Ruth Bennett, giving some top tips specifically for anyone taking on their very first London Marathon. Ruth, a real ambassador for the enjoyment of running, has completed the London Marathon several times and almost always has a smile on her face - she loves London!
As a first timer the London Marathon, one of the largest in the world, can be quite a daunting prospect, and that's not just the 26.2miles to be run. Ruth's tips aim to ensure you get the absolute most from your London Marathon experience so enjoy the read and good luck in your marathon!
Save Energy in the build-up
If you have to go and register, and drop off your finish line kit bag, on the Friday or Saturday, as tempting as it might be, don’t spend hours standing up looking at the stands! Make sure you take a drink, either water or perhaps even electrolyte drink and some food with you. Avoid standing for any longer than is necessary and remember that rest is more important at this stage – you can buy new trainers another day!
Getting to the start of the London Marathon
Work out how to get to the start in advance. Runners have free transport which helps loads, but make sure you plan your journey and know where you’re going. Also give yourself LOADS of time as it’s quite a walk from the train stations! Runners will be given staggered arrival times (based on predicted race time) for the start so sticking to these should help with the flow of people on race morning.
Don’t start too fast
An obvious one but the start is SO exciting and it’s so easy to set off too quickly. Greenwich is quite fast and again it’s can be easy to forget how far you still have to run! Take it steady, stay relaxed and enjoy the atmosphere. Remember your goal pace and start easier than you feel you can, you’ll thank me by mile 18!
Finding your supporters during London Marathon
Don’t worry about your supporters during the event. It’s amazing to see family and friends on the day but it can be so hard to get around the city as spectators. I wasted energy looking for my family; they actually saw me but it was so loud I missed them! If you see them it’s a fantastic boost but don’t worry if you miss them, they will be tracking you anyway.
Have some ‘reasons why’ ready
The last few miles are tough - they are meant to be! What helps me is having something to think about for each mile 19-26. Some people write them down on their arm for example. Have a strategy to get you to that finish line - practice it on your tough training runs. Those thoughts will get you home! When you start to question why you’re doing it and why you should keep running you’ll be prepared with strong thoughts to keep you going!
You’re running in the best marathon in the world. Some people never even get that chance so enjoy it and remember how hard you’ve worked to get there. Running with a smile on your face can even make it feel that bit easier.