Last Minute Tips For Running The Marathon

The London Marathon is coming, gulp

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If you are one of those brave folk set to take on the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, we will forgive you for suffering from some slight pre-race jitters this week. To make sure that you have prepared in every way that you need for the big day, we spoke to personal trainer and experienced marathon runner Emily Ackner, founder of Fit For That. Here is her best advice to get you round on the day.

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Fuel up ­

Keep next week simple and revolve it around care for your body. Eat more carbs (sweet potato, rice, whole wheat pasta) yes, but don’t stuff yourself to bloating. Small and often is key, homemade is best... Try to avoid sugary, processed foods to keep nutrient content high.

Water water everywhere ­

Increased water consumption shouldn’t just be saved for Saturday night, unless you fancy facing loo queues more than once. Providing you’ve been regimented with increased water intake during the week, sipping and not glugging should suffice on race day morning.

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Sleep easy ­

Stock up on your zzzs all week so even if nerves prevent a good 8 hours before race day, you’ll run on reserves, no stress.

Body check ­

Spend time before you leave the house in the morning to apply vaseline/body glide to all potentially sensitive spots and do so liberally. Clip your toenails. Remember the nip­plasters chaps, seriously.

Do what you know ­

Stick to what you’ve trained with: The breakfast your body’s used to, the socks that you’ve already run in, the gels you may or may not have tried. Don’t risk any upsets, even for a seemingly harmless jelly baby.

Keep warm ­

Pre-race, there’ll be lots of hanging around between bag drop and start line. Take an old jumper or long­sleeved top that you’re okay to say goodbye to, keeping goosebumps at bay and muscles warm.

Run tall ­

Holding your head up isn’t just about hanging in there! Keeping a strong posture (with your shoulders back and hips forward) will help to avoid slouching as fatigue increases. Cue more efficient breathing, muscle oxygenation and energy.

Visualisation ­

Know your happy place and go there when you need to... Take the mind off the muscles and put it on a beach/with people you love/crossing the finish line/whatever brings a smile to your face. Repeating a positive mantra is a great tactic too, ‘you’ve got it!’.

Cheer squad ­

London is famous for its crowd support. Come prepped with name on vest and be ready to feel the love. An extra special wave of support awaits around mile 21 in the collective form of Run Dem Crew. If anyone can help you climb that ‘wall’, they can.

Stay comfy ­

Pre-empt post-race fatigue and discomfort by packing another pair of socks, squishy shoes or sandals (to let those champion­feet expand and breath) and extra clothes. Gals, remember a spare sports bra. Baby wipes are also your friend.

Stretching ­

Hopefully this is post-­long run routine by now, but it’s very easy to neglect a good stretch in all the excitement of finishing. Take a quiet five minutes to get on the ground if don’t want to be confined to the lift for a week. Quads, hips, hamstrings. Do it. 

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