The London Marathon is a month away. One month. If that doesn’t scare you, we’re going to assume you’re not running it.
If you are running it, you’re probably thinking two things: “ONE MONTH!” and “How long before I get to taper?” The good news is that the tapering can commence soon, but there’s still some tough work to be done to get you ready for race day.
For advice on what you should be doing in the month before the marathon, here’s running coach Nick Anderson from Running With Us, Polar’s official training partner.
Four Weeks To Go
“This is when you get the voices in your head, making you think, ‘Have I done enough training to successfully finish this marathon?’” says Anderson. “This is a common worry in the final weeks, but it is important to remember that less becomes more. It’s time to let the body start to recover and build its strength for race day.”
“You should start focusing now on protecting your fitness and feeling great on race day. You can use the final weeks to sharpen up slightly with a couple of shorter, faster sessions.”
That doesn’t mean skipping your Sunday long runs, however. Anderson recommends scaling down the final few.
“Your longest marathon training run should take place three or four weeks out from race day. Aim for a three-hour run, with the last 60 minutes at your target marathon pace.
“Two weekends before the marathon, reduce the long run to about two hours with the last 45 minutes at target marathon pace.
“One week before, it’s time to shorten your runs and enjoy tapering. I would recommend not going over a 60-minute run.”
One Week To Go
Tapering is in full swing at the point, but that doesn’t mean you should be sitting on the sofa all week.
“Don’t taper too much – you don’t want to have too many rest days and then feel sluggish by race day. Your body loves routine, so aim for short and easy runs that are no longer than 60 minutes long.
Aside from running, don’t go too hard in the gym and get some early nights.
“Avoid heavy strength and conditioning or gym work this week to let your muscles recover,” says Anderson.
“Sleep and rest – you always need to respect this key element as a runner if you want to improve. Try to get a few early nights in race week and protect your immune system – late nights and picking up a cold will wreck race day.”
The Final 24 Hours
Your “maranoia” will peak at this point, especially if you’re a first-timer, but follow these three tips from Anderson and your nerves should settle a little.
“We often advise runners to jog for around 20 minutes the day before the race and stretch. It helps you to feel loose on race day and can calm the nerves a little.
“Snack on small meals throughout the day and stay well hydrated. Eat your last main meal at 6-7pm and snack on easily digested carbohydrate snacks afterwards if needed.
“Get to bed early! If you find it hard to sleep don’t worry, this is normal, but stay in bed and rest, read and relax.”
Nick Anderson is co-founder of Running With Us and head coach for Polar