EP Coach Alex’s thoughts….IT’S NOT A RACE, IT’S A MARATHON

EP Coach Alex shares some GREAT Tips and Thoughts from his London Marathon Training! Following Head Coach Kim running it last year, Alex was inspired to sign up and Go For It! Training is going well, and he has definately learned from my experiences …. go Alex (and Linda, Claire, John, Ruth, Debbie, Alex and many other EP’s in training for London & Brighton!!). To find out more you can also log onto our YOUTube chat between Alex & Kim on the London Marathon….

What does The London Marathon mean to you? T o me it certainly represents more than a race. Every year The London Marathon unquestionably captures the interest of a vast cross section of the population. This is not just a huge spectrum of people whom enjoy or participate in exercise but also those who for example dedicate themselves to raising money for charity or simply those people who like to watch it as a yearly tradition.

Some of you reading this blog will be aware that I am currently training for this year’s London Marathon so I thought I would share with you some of the learning points I have encountered so far and a few tips heading towards the big day. Although this is focused on the London Marathon a lot of the points can be applied to those for example, doing the Bath half marathon or even those contemplating entering their first race.

(1)    As my title states this is not a race it’s a marathon. As you continue to increase your  mileage do it steadily, we recommend you do not increase your long run by anymore than 10% each time assuming you are probably doing one every 7 to 10 days.  There is still plenty of time to reach your target distances before the big day. If you increase your mileage too quickly you will greatly increase your chances of injury and possibly de motivation if you struggle to finish your goal distance.

(2)    Plan the route you are going to run at least in your head if not on paper. I have learnt that 15 or so miles into a run the last thing you want to be doing is planning where you are going to run for another 2 miles so you end up near your home or car. This uncertainty is also likely to cause your pace to significantly decrease and have the effect of making the last minutes of your run harder than they need be.

(3)    Ensure your training runs are treated with the necessary respect. By this I mean that although it is a “training run” if you are approaching runs in the range of 15 to 20 miles remember this is a hugely demanding session. Some people may be tempted to take more rest days before a timed half marathon event than a 17 mile training run. Make sure you are taking the adequate rest and providing your body with the appropriate nutrition before these training sessions, although nobody is watching you the preparation is just as important.

(4)    Plan your race day food and hydration schedule and implement it on as many training runs as possible as the event approaches. By having tested what breakfast you will eat, what gels, fluids etc you will take on board whilst running in training you will set a pattern in your mind which will help put you at ease on the day itself. If you are staying in a hotel the night before make sure they can either give you the food you want on the race day morning and if not take it with you. This also applies to your fluids/drinks which you don’t want to be trying to gather in the final hour.

(5)    Buy yourself some go faster running shoes/kit. It can be a positive  psychological boost to have some nice new shoes or clothing to run in  however make sure that you have run in them again at least on a few occasions before the race so you know that is comfortable and fits. Trainers need a ‘running in’ period for you to adapt to them and you don’t want  the go faster stripe on your running shorts engraved into your leg over 26 miles as you realise it rubs. The same applies to your charity running vest if you have one, run in it to make sure it’s comfortable.

(6)    Plan your race pace and ensure you train at the necessary intensity.  It may be tempting to start the race quickly on the day once the crowd dies down, don’t get carried away and check your pace on your HR monitor/watch. If you have been going too quickly overtaking various mascots and comically dressed people then re adjust yourself. You should take comfort in sticking to the race pace you have trained at and know that you can finish as planned. Much like your nutrition your body has become accustomed to this level and you don’t want to undo all your hard work by running out of steam at the end.

(7)    Remember why you are running! Everyone will have their own reason for running the event, many will be personal and may be linked to helping those close to people’s hearts or dedicated to the memories of loved ones. Savour the occasion and take from it lasting memories and pride, remember it’s not just a race it’s a lot more than that!!

I hope that these tips help you in whichever event you may be competing in and that you have your best race to date, feel confident in your training and know that it will get you to the success that you so richly deserve.  Please feel free to post any other tips you may wish to share at the bottom of this blog and likewise if you have any questions that we can help you with then please ask away!

Happy running


If you wish to visit my charity page you can find the link below. I am running for Children with Cancer, please visit my page to see my reasons for supporting this amazing charity. I give huge thanks in advance to anyone who may sponsor me, it is truly appreciated.


For Mental Strength Coaching, Core Strength & Sports Massage for the London Marathon just contact us.