Marathon Training Tips

The London Marathon 2017 | Race Day Tips and Nervous Energy

Tomorrow, at 10am, I’m running the London Marathon. I genuinely thought at this point I’d be casually soaking myself in a nice hot bath and stuffing my face with a bag of spuds. Instead I woke up after 4 hours sleep, feeling overwhelming tired (naturally), nervous and teary.

London Marathon 2017 adidas

I've had recurring bad dreams where I am not allowed to run because I've lost my race number. That no one’s there to cheer me on and that Banana Man tripped me up! I'm asking myself how will I cope with massive highs and crashing lows, how will I tell myself to carry on when the voice on my shoulder is telling me to stop and why on Earth did I ever volunteer to do such a thing?! If you are feeling the same, it’s time to block out the negative voices, trust in the training you have done and realise that Banana Man doesn’t actually exist.

London Marathon 2017 Training

My friend James advised me “don’t let your head undo all your hard work”, Adrienne tells me “relax and put one foot in front of the other, the same way we always have”, Hayley says “see it as another long training run” and Alice says, “I’ll see you on the finish line with a big bottle of gin!” Even though my friends pearls of wisdom hasn’t completely stopped the butterflies, thankfully, they are calming me down.

AJ Odudu London Marathon

All in all, training for my first marathon has definitely been a mixed bag.  Though I’m sure once I cross that finish line and stop to reflect on the hard work I’ve put in, holding a champagne flute in one hand and my medal in the other, I’ll look at that same bag as nothing but a bag of goodies. So for the rest of the day I vow to only be concerned about the things I can take full control of. Let’s do this together!

London Marathon Race Day Tips

Plan Your Race Day Travel To Start

Get to the race in good time to drop your bag off, have multiple nervous trips to the loo and find your race pen.

  • Red numbers start at Greenwich or Maze Hill

  • Green at Maze Hill

  • Blue at Blackheath

Bag drop closes at 9:30am sharp and the only bag you're able to leave is the clear bag you were given your race number in.

Greenwich Park London Marathon 2017

Race Day Outfit

Tomorrow is not the day to try new things that may cause discomfort. Wear what you've been training in or that you have ran in comfortably before.

Take a layer of outerwear that you're happy to dispose of just before you race. This will be collected and given to charity.

white adidas boost

What To Eat

Hydrate by drinking 350-500ml of liquid 3- 4 hours before race time and then 250ml 45 mins before.

Eat a high carb breakfast 3-4 hours before. This could be porridge with milk and a banana or toast, honey and yoghurt or eggs on toast. Whatever you're used to eating before a long run.

1 hour before start have a carb rich snack such as a banana, or a bar or gel. As long as you're used to eating it.

RUN!

In the wise words of my friend Adrienne, move forward and do what we’ve been doing for yonks. Let’s go!

Millennium Wheel London Marathon 2017

Tell yourself you are ready you can do this and that the nervous energy you feel really is excitement...in disguise.

If you want to track my run download the official 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon app or cheer me on from the side lines. My race number is 56471. You can also follow my Instagram Story along the way @AJOdudu


Good luck to everyone running tomorrow and see you there!

XOXO

Dame Kelly Holme's Marathon Race Day Tips

So this is it, one week to go before the (insert expletive here) London Marathon.  Physically, I’ve pushed my body as far as it can go.  I’ve trained as regularly as humanly possible, four times a week since Christmas (not including the weeks I’ve had off).  I’ve taken care of my body so that I remain injury free (even though my knees creak like a deserted pirate ship).  I’ve been completely tee-total (apart from weekends and Friday nights).  And I’ve even been sleeping more than usual (alarm set to multi-snooze).

Dame Kelly Holmes

So at this late stage all that lies left is the mental preparation.  Which ironically is driving me, well, mental.  On a scale of 1 to bricking it I’m well into double figures.  Sometimes I can’t even visualise myself making it to the finish line, let alone in a good time. 

For inspiration I’ve been watching films such as Usain Bolt’s ‘I Am Bolt’ and Mo Farah’s 'No Easy Mile’.  This has helped somewhat.  My knees don’t creak curled up on the sofa.

Double Olympic Gold Dame Kelly Holmes

Fortunately I once met Dame Kelly Holmes too and she gave me some great little bits of advice fit for complete marathon novices. She said;

1. Pace YOURSELF

Every marathon runner lives in fear of hitting the proverbial wall but Holmes says there’s no such thing as a wall! “If you don’t over-exert yourself by starting too fast, I promise that you will not hit a wall”. She promised… so that makes it AOK. I’m going to run with an activity tracker to ensure that I am running as slow as I think I am to begin with.

Apple Watch

2. Run efficiently

When running uphill or on an incline, shorten your strides to reserve energy for when you hit the flat roads again to lengthen them. Use your arms to help propel you forward too. The better your running form the more energy you save.

Dame Kelly Holmes and AJ Odudu

3. Flex your temperament

Your body for all it's strength answers to the small squidgy ball between your ears, you need to harness the power of your mentality to crack the whip on your physicality. Holmes advises to "think of trigger words to give you a boost (i.e. You can, believe, fierce) and run with your name printed on your vest so that you can hear words of encouragement from the crowd too". 

26.2 miles is a long way no matter how trained you are and you’re going to feel sore and tired even before the moment you finish. Stretch, foam roll, ice bath and sports massages are all part of recovery.

Leg Stretch Dame Kelly Holmes

4. Eat Smart

"The night before the marathon I ate lots of small meals to fuel my muscles. I ate rice as I prefer it over pasta. On race day I ate porridge: a sustainable energy source that is also light". Lots of water is also important including electrolytes in water. And sleep. Of course you'll feel nervous but try to relax so that you feel fresh on race day. No multi-snooze button allowed.

5. Run With Pride

Remember that thousands of people across the globe would love to do the London Marathon and haven't been able to get a spot. We are lucky to have the opportunity to try. Holmes told me that "it's an incredible event that brings people together no matter their nationality, age, gender, interests, abilities and disabilities. The long, demanding run is worth it"!

Dame Kelly

I am so delighted to have met not only a running legend but a great, strong woman who reminded me that I must find the strength within. I still feel nervous but I hope on race day that I really can achieve and so can you!

Please share this blog post if you think it could help others and let me know if you have any other tips to avoid marathon induced panic attacks. Good luck!

xoxo