Olympic Park London

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;


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!


Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony

It's been four years since London hosted the 2012 Olympic Games and how awesome was that?! The Spice Girls performed whilst riding around on top of black cabs, there were hundreds of hospital beds being pushed around by NHS staff and Emeli Sande wowed everyone.

Sir Paul McCartney graced the stage, J.K Rowling read an extract from Peter Pan and the actual Queen appeared in a scene with James Bond! Not to forget the passing of the torch between David Beckham and Sir Steve Redgrave plus, the athletes parade.  Our Opening Ceremony was absolutely bonkers but undoubtedly brilliant.

Olympic Park London

Practically, London transport links improved, run down areas were given a make over and generally, people in London seemed happy and carefree. To top it all off, Team GB had their most successful Olympics since 1908, receiving a whopping sixty-five medals. *Go us!*


Today, the feeling in Britain is still one of pride which is why this year, there are eleven Olympic Fanzones across the UK, where you can watch the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in a fun and atmospheric environment for free. One of the Fanzones is of course the Olympic Park in London, where I was the official host for Team GB Facebook Live, to celebrate the launch of these areas and the start of Rio 2016.

Fanzone Olympic Park London

Rio showcased a great opening ceremony with scenes of dance and expression throughout, so I'm really excited to not only get behind Team GB but also, to support the Rio Olympics as a whole.

You can show your support too and find your nearest Fanzone by clicking here, remembering to keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram for daily updates. So without further ado, let the games begin.



Denise Lewis & AJ Odudu