London Marathon Tips1

6 London Marathon Blunders to Avoid

With only a few days to go until the London Marathon, the training is complete and the wait is almost over. Its a nervous time. During which its easy to make a boob that could cost you on the day. With that in mind, we've been casting around for some good no-nonsense advice. From someone who will tell it straight. Someone like runner and journalist Lorna North. Here are her 6 classic blunders to avoid on race day.

Hello London Marathon 2016 friends.

This is the week where we all freak out and embrace a fun time of butterflies, excitement and abject terror all moulded into one. We’re fidgeting about in the throes of restless taper as we await the day our training is put to the test on the streets of London.

This is my second London Marathon and whilst far from being the oracle on all matters to do with the cruel but glorious mistress that is the 26.2, I thought I would share a few tips gleaned from my last attempt and some I have stolen off Claudi and James from Advent Running.

1. Don’t change your shoes

I doubt anyone would do anything as ill-fated as changing your shoes ONE WEEK before the big day. Unless your name is Lorna North and marathon fever has caused you to lose control of your entire brain. Inevitably at mile 20, aside from hitting the wall with every cell in my body, my toes popped and blood seeped through the top (yes, the top) of my shoes. Try not to let nerves rob you of your rationale and make any hasty decisions this week.

2. Don’t get too experimental with your kit

I thought chaff was reserved for men and their undercarriages. I was wrong. Getting slightly over-excited by the turn in warm weather on marathon morning three years ago, I opted to wear some new lycra running shorts for the special day. Actually, they were more like hot pants and wouldn’t have looked out of place in Magaluf. I was breaking marathon code and committing crimes against fashion in one double effort. Don’t do this.

London Marathon Tips


3. Don’t take it too seriously

If you are running for a time, be generous with your expectations. I set only one goal for myself that was near on impossible for me to achieve and left no margin for error. For the next few days after the marathon, having not met my ridiculous goal, I moped around like a total fun sponge when I should have been celebrating for even finishing it. Just enjoy a day out in the city and revel in having people you don’t know shouting your name and willing you forwards.

4. Don’t be late

I was late for my first marathon. Can you believe it? I’d been preparing for months and then I had to tag onto the end, miles away from my pace group. This meant that I spent the first seven miles ducking and diving through the crowds and probably ran closer to 30 miles from all the traversing in and out. My tardiness disrupted my frame of mind and set a panicky tone for the rest of the event. The only way to summarise this is, don’t dick around. Sort your life out the night before and be on your way to the start line at the call of the first sparrow.

5. Don’t run more than a marathon

I had a good tip from the very wise Claudi and James at Advent Running who told us to look out for the blue line on the floor which marks the exact 26.2 mile distance. In those wide London streets, it’s very easy, like I did in the point above, to run all over the course and therefore do a lot more than you need to. Just chill at the beginning, don’t be tempted to hoon past superman and the bloke in a tutu. Let the crowds peter out and follow that line if you can.

London Marathon Tips 2


6. Look out for the red phone box

When you spot a red phone box on the Embankment near Westminster, you are literally on the home strait. Not only is this one of London’s icons it also marks exactly one mile until the end! Pull out whatever you have left and fire up the cylinders for the last push to the finish line. Beer is but a mile from your lips.


Words Lorna North

Images © Adidas UK

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