These are tips that I’ve found work very well and help you improve – both speeds and distances covered and they help to keep injuries at bay.
One extra one not mentioned – let’s put in as number 0 – so right at the top, get good shoes! So so so important and it makes a huge difference. Go to a specialist running shop – like Sweatshop – and get professional advice. Try the shoes out, test a few pairs and see which suit you best. And the blog post about the good shoes tip is here.
That’s it all over – all those months of training and 26.2 miles around London all done. For charity, for fun, for your own PB, just to say you’ve done it or for a million other great reasons. 5 days on from the big event, the aches and pains just about gone, walking normally, going down stairs freely and back maybe doing a few easy runs!
The first few days are difficult and the legs don’t work as well as they should and stairs are very painful. It’s amazing how different a 23 mile training run is to the actual 26.2 mile race. For all my training runs over 20 miles, just showered and stretched after each and then carried on as normal and no issues the next day. But add just 3 more miles and race conditions and it’s a whole different ball game. When I did the London Marathon first back in 2009 it literally took about 2 weeks to recover. This time 5 days – so something in the training worked.
For the recovery a number of things you need to do:
Move – don’t just sit down and do nothing.
Raise the legs – when you can when you are sitting down.
Massage – to help those muscles, as soon as possible after the run.
Ice packs or ice baths – haven’t tried these myself but people swear by them.
Nutrition – water, carbohydrates and proteins.
Active rest – do some easy exercise soon.
Number 6 is what seemed to be the transition point for me. Legs – just legs nothing else really – very sore, until yesterday when I went for an easy 4 mile run with my gorgeous wife (owner of Snowballs in Summer). Very easy and slow pace. And after that legs pretty much back to normal.
Some great other links for articles on post-marathon recovery are:
How are your legs?
And then once recovered, what do you do next? Training for these babies is full on and gives you a real focus. Running 4+ days a week and doing more and more miles and seeing improvements along the way, really gives you a boost and focuses the mind. So when it’s all over, there’s a gap – at least for a bit. For a lot of people if you don’t enter races that often, what now? Enter another race. This year is London’s year and there are lots of great running events on. One I’d only just heard about is the British 10k London on Sunday 8th July – a week or so before the London Olympics and covering part of the planned Olympic Marathon route. Covers a lot of the great sights you see on the London Marathon and the Royal Parks Foundation 1/2 and “only” 6.25 miles (10km) and 25,000 people – so a great crowd running through normally busy roads in central London. See the route plan below:
Even better as well as the ballot places, there are guaranteed places for a bargain price of £50 – only £18 ish more than the ballot place. What a deal. I couldn’t refuse and got myself a place last night. A very different distance to the longer runs and needs different training. Need to figure that out next and what sort of time I want to try and aim for.
And the event video from 2011…
Don’t forget of course the ballot for the Virgin London Marathon (VLM) 2013 opens on Monday 30th April – next week – and the number of ballot places are expected to fill up very quickly.
Last run was last Thursday – 4 days off over Easter and then back tomorrow. That’s a whole 4 days with no running (or any other exercise). Too many recovery days this close to the marathon? Don’t know. Feels good but not quite right – part of the taper feeling. Feet working nicely and not sore, and blister that I’d had on one big toe has gone, so all good.
Recovery days are definitely a must and I normally have one day of no exercise, between runs when training. Got to let the body get back to it’s best and get ready.
First image that showed up with Google search for “recovery” was Eminem’s album cover – never heard of it before (a quick listen on iTunes and not for me). Never mind it being the first image on the search – it’s like the first page of them. The power of page ranking!
No running today but will do some stretching and strength training later. And get the foam roller out for some torture training. Nice site here with some good hip stretches in – worth a look if you’re not sure how to stretch or need some new ones. Still not got into the habit of daily stretching – rubbish really. Can’t get my head around why it’s so difficult to do.
Do you stretch every day? If yes, how did you get yourself started?
Last long long run done last week – 21 miles – and a grand total last week of 46 miles. With only 18 days left until the big day, it’s all about reducing the number of miles now and letting the body recover slightly.
Aiming to cut back by about 1/3 on miles this week, and then the same over the next 2 weeks. So far this week have done 1 x 12 miles and 1 x 10 miles, both at marathon pace and 10 miles planned today – with 4 x 1 mile intervals – so 32 in total. Next week some speed work (and about 20 miles total) and then the final week a few easy light runs (about 10 miles total).
Nice article here from the BBC on tapering – from 2005 but all valid.
All sorts of theories about how long your longest run should be in your marathon training and 20 miles looks about the normal maximum. Very very few plans suggest running the full 26.2 miles – at least the plans for the non-professional athletes out there. I’ve never quite understood why, and surely it’s more about you knowing what your body can do and how much recovery you need. There’s nothing magical that happens when you cross the 26 miles barrier, and it’s about training your body to cope when you hit the wall and its physiological challenges.
I did a few 20 milers back in my training in 2009 and one 22 miler. This time round, I wanted to go a bit further – in terms of max. distance – and do less of the long long runs. Last time round the difference between the longest training run and the actual marathon was huge – both in terms of doing the run, the physical and mental effort to finish and the recovery period. I’m convinced it was starting off too fast, getting caught up in the buzz at the start, and then hitting the wall at about 18 miles. Not fun.
So the plan was for 23 miles early this last Saturday morning. Up at 7am, breakfast and even a small coffee (something I never do before running normally) and out for 8am, and at planned pace of 8:30 to 9:00 minutes per mile. Good starting pace and managed to hold it for 10 or so miles, before slowing down slightly. Great route as well – up past Hampton Court Bridge and up the tow path – it just goes on and on. A bit of rain on the way and no rainproof gear on so got wet.
This is how far 23 miles is…
Good old Garmin battery warning came up just after starting and then it died completely just 0.6 miles from the finish. Rubbish. Very frustrating as it normally warns you several times that it’s running out. A lesson learnt though – make sure it’s fully charged before the long long runs.
The breakfast coffee shot had an effect and I had to have a little stop on route. But maybe a small coffee could work on marathon day – breakfast normally 2+ hours before, so plenty of time for stops before. And took an energy drink on the run this time and had a drink every couple of miles ish from about 6 miles in.
The results? A good finish – even managed to pick up slightly for the last mile and then a nice strong finish for the last 1/4 mile. Pace about 10% slower than planned marathon pace – which is bang on target. More energy drinks and some bananas when I got in, and stretching. Managed karate training on Sunday morning and legs working fine. Now 2 days after and all good. The training plan looks like it’s working.
More fast runs and interval training this week with one 1/2 marathon somewhere (and looking for sub-100 minutes this time).