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Top tips for April marathon training from SV's Sophie Vowden

In celebration of the London Marathon this month, Sophie wanted to reflect and share some information with you.

Hello all! I hope you are having a fantastic start to the month and everyone is ready for the 23 April!

Well done to you - all the hard work has been done and now is the time to let that come into play and execute your best running experience in one of the best cities in the world! Feel blessed, feel excited and get motivated!

I remember back in 2011 when I ran my first marathon in Yorkshire. It was tough, no question about that, but it was equally an amazing and unforgettable experience for all the right reasons.

Yes I hit the 'wall' at mile 22. What did it feel like? A bit of a depressive state to be honest, a feeling of incapability and upset. But it passed - I concentrated on the positives and spoke to myself and reminded myself why I was running the marathon in the first place.

Some runners are fortunate enough not to experience the 'wall' when they run. But if you face it on race day, acknowledge it, SMILE at it, embrace it, then tell it to 'get lost!' How dare it ruin your marathon experience!

Say to yourself, or say out loud, five positive reasons why you are running the London Marathon and keep these positives on a loop over and over again in your head until you bulldoze your way through that 'wall'.


My top tips for the marathon

  1. Be selfish! The week leading up to the marathon, be selfish with your time - get to bed earlier than usual, rest more, eat and drink well but don't over eat and over carb, this will make you feel too sluggish, especially as you are not running your usual mileage because you are in tapering week. Have some quality time to yourself, walk, read and don't try to take on too much. Surely it can wait a few more days. This is YOUR marathon, you have control over what you do in the days leading up to it, so get organised.

  2. Make sure you have all your running attire ready for all types of weather. Have you worn all the items before? If not, why not? Do not wear anything new for race day - we see this mistake year after year.

  3. If your loved ones are coming to support to you - which I highly recommend - plan whereabouts on the course they are going to stand and cheer you on. For spectators on race day it can be quite overwhelming, using the Tube is extremely crowded. I would recommend for your loved ones to pick 2-3 locations on the route where they either stand on the left hand side or the right hand side of the running route so you know which side to run near otherwise you are wasting time and energy trying to look out for them all the time and it can be demoralising when you miss them.

  4. Get there early. Have you planned how you are getting to the race? Don't show up one hour before it begins; get there with plenty of time for you to adjust to your surroundings, drop off your bag, queue for the toilet, eat and drink, warm up and soak up the atmosphere. I would recommend getting there two hours before.

  5. SMILE! Enjoy it! For many of you, you will only run the London Marathon once in your lifetime, so why not actually enjoy the experience? Do you realise how lucky you are for your body to allow you to experience this amazing opportunity. Embrace it!

John Hanlon at the London Marathon

My top tips post-marathon

  1. Eat and hydrate well! It may sound silly but often a lot of runners, especially first time marathon runners, feel sick after the race, especially if it is a warm day and they forget to eat and drink well. There are copious restaurants and cafes to choose from. If not, give your loved ones some of your favourite snacks/ food to bring with them so you can start grazing on this post marathon.

  2. Pack a pair of flip flops in your race bag! After the marathon, take your trainers and socks off and let your feet air - they will most likely be swollen, you may have some blisters, some blood and maybe the odd black toe nail! Trying to put your trainers back on after you have taken them off is a no-no! Wearing flip flops post race is bliss. Even if it is raining, your feet will thank you!

  3. Post marathon blues. Often once the marathon hype has passed, runners sometimes feel quite depressed. You have been training for this event for the past six months or so and pretty much every day you have thought about the London Marathon. It has engulfed you, but now it's over. What's next? It's a great idea to have another goal in place, whether it be working on your 5km parkrun time, training for a cycling event, learning a new technique in the gym... Anything that makes you happy.

Life is better in Flip Flops

All that is left to say is have an AMAZING experience, soak up the atmosphere and be PROUD of yourself for getting this far! If you are currently resting from running because a body part is injured and sore, PLEASE go and get some professional help, either with Chris and Jessica or another local sports therapist or physiotherapist. Don't just hope for the best that the pain will go away in time for race day. Take control and go and get some help.

Wishing you all the best of luck. Go and smash it!

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