Virgin Money London Marathon 2017

What No One Tells You About Running The London Marathon

Yesterday saw thousands of runners take over London for the day, conquering a huge challenge and raising millions of pounds for charity in the process. I was one of those lucky runners and 24 hours later I'm still in awe of what a spectacular and unique occasion it was.

London Marathon AJ Odudu 2017

I really am bursting with pride. If you watched or are feeling inspired, great! But before you sign up to a marathon, here are just a few things that no one tells you about running your first marathon.

1)  The emotional onslaught you face on race day and the week prior. 

A combination of nerves, anxiety, impatience, excitement and cold hard fear.  If only the armada of butterflies in my stomach were able to propel me across the line.  Instead by mile 20 it felt like they had all turned back to caterpillars.  Which was ironic because it was about that point when a caterpillar overtook me.

London Marathon 2017 Costumes

2)   Boredom

Everyone talks of “hitting that wall” but no warned that I may hit boredom.  Four and a half hours is a long time to be doing one thing, and at times you find yourself being hypnotised by a swinging ponytail. Luckily the boredom passes quickly. Unluckily it's soon followed by pain.

3)  Nothing goes according to plan

The race gels you have been practising with suddenly make you feel sick. Your activity tracker doesn't work and you thought you'd be able to hear your parents scream your name but didn't. These unexpected moments stress you out!

London Marathon Family and Friend support

4)  You run more miles than you signed up for

Weaving in and out is not the one! A slalom of empty water bottles, discarded gel packets and the odd rhinoceros. I think I notched up a half marathon with just my zig-zagging.

5)   The feeling of astonishment when...

...being overtaken by people and objects that should never assume that role.  Mr. Blobby, a Womble and at one point a guy with an actual washing machine on his back.  Apparently Currys closes early on Sundays. I was even shamed back into running by a wonderful OAP called Jeremy. What a legend!

Virgin Money London Marathon 2017

Despite all of the above, the atmosphere of togetherness is incomparable. The strangers that dedicate their entire day to coming out to spur you on;  the runners who are in just as much pain as you but find the strength to reassure you that you'll be ok; your deeper bonding between your family and friends . It's beautiful. It's brilliant. It's the best worst idea I ever had!

London Marathon 2017

I'm sore today but pain is temporary and the memories I created yesterday will last a lifetime. It's definitely too early to say whether I'd ever put myself through that again but I'm proud to say I did and I managed to smile through most of it. 

London Marathon Adrienne LDN

Well done to everyone who completed the marathon, thank you to everyone who supported and if ever you get the opportunity to do it for yourself... well, just think long and hard! 

London Marathon AJ Odudu 2017

XOXO

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