I’m going to share with you tips for running a marathon from London Marathon runners. These tips come from people who have been there, done that and now wear the t-shirt proudly. Every year in April, more than 35,000 people pound the streets of London. Some are elite athletes running the 26+ miles in just over 2 hours. Others will take up to half a day to complete the course. These tips for running a marathon come from all types of participants of the London Marathon.
1 Paula Radcliffe
Can tips for running a marathon from London Marathon runners be provided by anyone more qualified than Paula Radcliffe? British athlete Paula is the current world record holder for the women’s marathon (2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds), set in London in 2005. Paula’s tip is to break down the race into chunks in your mind so you focus on each chunk and not worry about how far you’ve got to run. For her, counting to 100 three times equals a mile. During your training, work out your “count” and then use it during your race.
2 Paul Freedman
At 89 years old, Paul is still running marathons and has only missed one London Marathon since 1991. His foolproof tip? This very cheeky man said he finds a nice bum and follows it!
3 James Cracknell
Double Olympic gold medalist rower Cracknell says that even though a marathon can be a very sociable event, there are times when you need to focus, or deal with some pain, and these are times when you don’t want to talk to fellow competitors. His tip is to have a pair of headphones to slip on – not to listen to music, but to look like you are so no one disturbs you.
4 Chris Finill
Chris is eminently qualified to give us tips on how to run a marathon. He has participated in every London Marathon since the inaugural race in 1981 – that’s over 30 races and he’s done them all in under 3 hours. His advice is about the all-important fluids. Take your fluids, ladies, and if you have to stop for 10-30 seconds to get them down – do it.
5 Tanni Grey-Thompson
Dame Tanni is the most successful paralympic athlete ever and has won the London Wheelchair Marathon six times. The incredible wheelchair athlete has three tips to share. One is to write your name on the front and back of your t-shirt – it is a major lift when the crowd shouts your name. The second is to have a fresh pair of socks and flip-flops at the finish line (your feet will thank you). The last is to have a snack 30 minutes before the race and another at 13-15 miles into the race.
6 Professor Greg Whyte
Whyte has trained and coached 22 British celebrities for some amazing challenges they take on to raise money for Sports Relief. These challenges include swimming the English Channel, cycling and running from Edinburgh to London, and 43 marathons in 51 days! His advice is to not be over-confident, as that can easily become arrogance and ultimately failure. He says the key is to remember your motivation. Everyone who enters a marathon has a reason for doing so – that reason will be enough to carry you through if you believe in it strongly.
7 Iva Barr
At 86 years old, Iva Barr was the oldest female runner to take part in the 2014 London Marathon. She didn’t actually take up running until she was 55. If proving you’re never too old to start isn’t one of the most inspirational tips for running a marathon, I don’t know what is. She has some sound advice too. Enjoy it! Even if you’ve set yourself a target time – still have fun. Don’t beat yourself when you fall behind your time or the pain really bites. Enjoy the occasion, revel in the fact that you’re out there doing it and yes, damned well celebrate at the finish. You earned it!
Professional athletes and so-called fun runners all have their own tips for running a marathon – I’m now wondering what yours are. So come on, marathon runners, tell us your favorite tip. The comments box is waiting!