London Marathon #VMLM
Words and Images by Jordan Foster at ProjectMarathonGirl
Undoubtably the London Marathon is one of the biggest running events in the world, and this weekend over 42,000 people crossed the iconic finish line! It was a record breaking year for the marathon in terms of ballot entries, the number of finishers and the fundraising total since the marathon began reached over a billion, which is absolutely amazing.
For me the best thing about the marathon is the inspiration it gives people, and right now there will be hundreds of thousands of people who have now been inspired to start their own marathon journey with the aim to get on that start line next year.
But where do you start? Yes, the marathon is 26.2 miles, but it is so much more than that. It's months of hard work, hundreds of miles, early mornings, potentially blood, sweat & tears... but I can promise you, it is so worth it!
For those of you that are perhaps thinking about taking on the challenge of the marathon next year, I have put together a few tips and tricks that will help you on the start of your journey:
1) Don't panic!
A year is a long time, and is plenty of time to build up to the marathon distance, even if you are a complete beginner. So my first piece of advice is just to enjoy running for now - get yourself along to parkrun uk, run with friends, set yourself mini targets along the way and build up your mileage slowly & steadily.
2) Find a Training Plan
As an experienced marathon runner, and now a coach myself, I really believe in the benefit of following a training plan if you are planning on running a marathon. Following a suitable training plan can help to reduce the risk of injury, it takes the stress away of trying to work out what you need to be running and if you chose to go down the route of having a coach you also get that accountability and also have someone on hand for help and advice. But if you wanted to go it alone, there are a number of fantastic free training plans available on the internet. Again though, there is no rush! Most typical marathon training plans are between 12-16 weeks long, so as long as you have some running experience and mileage behind you, you don't need to start a specific training plan until the New Year.
3) Think about your 'Why'
This is really important and is what will help to keep you motivated during your training & the race itself. Everyone will have their own reasons to run - whether it's to raise money for a charity close to their heart, to set themselves a challenge or perhaps you are motivated by achieving a certain time. Whatever it is, find your reason why and use it to help you when it gets tough!
4) All the gear, and some idea!
If you are going to run a marathon, at some point you may need to invest in some new kit to help you through your training. There are hundreds upon thousands of products out there, but here is my list of what I would say are the essentials to help make running all those miles a little bit easier:
Although not essential, it can certainly make your training a lot easier. A GPS watch allows you to track your mileage & pace, monitor your heart rate & is almost like having a training diary on your wrist! Depending on how 'techy' you want to go, you can pick up a decent watch for under £100.
Now this may seem like an obvious one, but getting the right pair of shoes can make all the difference. If you have never bought running trainers before I would advise popping along to a specialist running shop and getting a 'Gait Analysis' to find out which pair suit you, and your running style best.
The last thing you want when training for a marathon are blisters, and the right pair of socks can help to keep your feet blister free even though you are clocking up hundreds of miles. In my opinion it is worth investing in a few decent pairs of quality running. I discovered Stance socks last year, and haven't looked back since!
London Marathon Recap
This year was my 4th London Marathon, and although it didn't go completely to plan (I got awful stomach cramps from mile 16) it was still a fantastic experience, and it will always be my favourite race, and I am already looking forward to getting back on that start line next year! As with every year, my highlight was the thousands of people that gave up hours of their time to line the streets of London and cheer us all on!
When things get tough it can really make all the difference having people cheering you and encouraging you to keep going. So even if running marathons isn't your thing, I would 100% recommend getting out there and cheering next year, and who knows... it might even inspire you to start running in the future!