Thursday, 9 February 2012

Marathon running tips from Lisa Kent, Personal Fitness trainer

Kimberly, who is also running for Merlin, went along to the recent 'Meet the trainer’ get together last Sunday (run by the Virgin 2012 London Marathon). Bless her, she took some notes, and has very kindly passed these on to Merlin. When I got them by email, they were so good I just had to put them on here for everyone else.

Lisa Kent, Personal Fitness trainer notes

Excel Centre Expo
·         If you can go to the Expo before Saturday 21st April, do. It can be extremely busy on the day before, and will mean you will be on your feet for longer than you would like to be before race day
·         The Expo will be open from Wednesday 18 April
·         You MUST go to the Expo to get your race number, timing chip and kit bag

On the day

·         Make sure you choose the right starting pen – don’t go for one which will be too fast for you
·         Enjoy the day and the atmosphere even if you want to get a good race time
·         Don’t forget your timing chip. You won’t get an official time without it
·         Remember that you will be running the same course as the Olympic champions –this is a great thought to spur you on!
·         Don’t get ultra competitive and don’t worry about someone in a costume over taking you. Run your own race!
·         If you are worried that you are running too slowly, you are probably running too fast, hold some energy back for the last few miles
·         Tell your friends and family to cheer you on at a set point along the way –this way you don’t have to worry about not seeing them. Merlin will have a cheer point, so tell them to come and cheer with us!
·         The toilets won’t be nice, if you can find a pub to go to with toilets, use them if you can


·         If you have completed a 10 mile run by this stage, you are on track. If you have run further then this is just a bonus!
·         Don’t peak too soon. You should look to have a 10% increase in either your total mileage or your longer weekly run
·         Be careful if you choose to run over 18 – 20 miles before the run. You don’t really need to go over this prior to the marathon
·         Last long run should be planned for 3-4 weeks before the marathon. Taper your runs from the end of March
·         Stick to short 2- 3 mile runs the week before the run (only do this a couple of times)
·         When you are tapering, slowly reduce your runs down to 10 miles, 7, miles, 5 miles, 2-3 miles
·         Sports massages are nice to have and can soothe aching muscles

Cross training
·         Keeps you mentally involved if you try something new
·         Go swimming, cycle, play tennis...

·         Treat injuries with care
·         Remember: RICE. Rest. Ice. Compress. Elevate
·         Don’t run on an injury it will only get worse

·         Hold each stretch for 45 seconds to a minute
·         Better to stretch after a run than before

Hitting the Wall
·         If you are feeling out of energy, and your legs feel heavy, you have hit ‘the wall’
·         The ‘wall’ happens when your muscles run out of glycogen, and your body starts to try and burn fat. You will need mental strength to get through this
·         Remember that pain is only temporary and you will push through
·         If you feel bad, walk, don’t run. Never stop unless you really need to

·         Do not run in anything which you haven’t worn before
·         Wear everything ahead of time and do a few trial runs before the big day
·         Put your name on your running vest ( I will send a new vest in March and lettering)
·         Replace shoes every 400 – 500 miles (don’t get new shoes just before the race)

Food and drink
·         Carbohydrates are good and will help to get you through
·         Experiment with energy gels before the day – they may not agree with you
·         Eat jacket potatoes, porridge, slow release foods
·         Don’t eat much (or anything) during the run
·         Drink regularly but remember you can run for at least 3 miles without needing a drink
·         Have a proper dress rehearsal the week before the run –eat what you will on the day for breakfast, and for dinner the night before

Cramp and chafing
·         If you get a stitch, slow to a walk, and stretch it out. Pushing the area where the stitch is can sometimes relieve pain
·         Rub Vaseline onto any areas you think will rub (under arm pits, on nipples and thighs)

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