<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

Training tips for running a marathon - The Life Coach

PUBLISHED: 16:37 09 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:38 09 March 2017

Training tips for marathon running (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Pavel19)

Training tips for marathon running (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Pavel19)


Two of the biggest marathons in the south take place in April, so Surrey roads and parks will soon be busy with runners in final training. If you’re one of them, Ben Short has a countdown to help you start the race in peak health and fitness.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2017


So, you’ve signed up for the Brighton Marathon on April 9 or the London Marathon on April 23 and have been steadily putting in the miles over the last few months.

If you are a first timer, there is something you should know... you need to steadily take it easier this month. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to train hard right up to the big day. Then they start the race with tired legs, are more susceptible to injury and struggle to finish.

It seems obvious but you don’t have to run 26.2 miles before the marathon to know that you can do it. Aim for your longest run to be around 19 to 21 miles. Any further and you are likely to put undue strain through your joints and risk injury. So here is a five-week countdown for marathon newbies. Good luck – the one thing I can guarantee is the euphoria at the end is worth it.

Five weeks to go:

Aim to run your peak weekly mileage so far in your training. Enter a local running race so you get the feel for what it is like to run in a crowd of people. Check out the Richmond Half Marathon and 10K on March 19 (richmondhalf.com) or aim to finish one of your training runs at the start of a parkrun (parkrun.com). That way you will run the last three miles surrounded by other runners and it can replicate specific race conditions.

Four weeks to go:

Make this your last week to record your highest weekly miles. From here on you will need to scale down the length of your training runs – known as tapering. Look to run 20 miles at your target marathon pace, wearing the clothes and trainers you plan to wear on the big day. Make this your ‘mock’ marathon, replicating the food you will eat beforehand and choose a course with a gradient and surface similar to the real thing. Book yourself a sports massage straight after a run to iron out any niggles or aches. You should also increase the amount of slow release carbohydrates you eat.

Three weeks to go

Scale down your runs by 20 per cent in terms of distance and intensity, making sure you have a minimum of at least two days rest a week. Increase the amount of protein you consume and go to bed half an hour earlier than you would normally, every night from now on until marathon day.

Two weeks to go

Sleep is important this week so postpone social engagements to celebrate post-marathon, unless you can ensure you are in bed at a decent time. If injury and niggle free, aim for an easy-paced eight to 10 miles maximum at the beginning of the week, then the rest of your training runs should be reduced to half that amount, factoring in three days’ rest. Run a fast-paced parkrun or three miles at the end of the week to boost your confidence, aiming for your personal best this year.

One week to go

It is key that this week has the least total mileage of your training plan – I suggest four miles, two miles and then one mile, with at least four days’ rest. Analyse your best training runs to see what you did effectively that could be replicated on race day (consider nutrition, clothing and pace). I would typically run all my training runs at target marathon pace this week. If you suffer a minor injury… don’t panic! Seek help from a physiotherapist. I pulled a hamstring the month before last year’s London Marathon, but thanks to my brilliant physiotherapist, I recovered well and ran my personal best time on the day.


If you do one thing this month:

Soak up the atmosphere at the Surrey Half Marathon on March 12. It is the county’s largest half marathon and takes place from Woking Park. Visit surreyhalfmarathon.co.uk for more information.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Surrey visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Surrey staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Surrey account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Style

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bored of going to the gym? Make 2018 the year you try one of these alternative ways in Surrey to get fit... even your dog can join in. Surrey Life has pumped iron and sweated buckets to bring you its top 10 zaniest workouts

Read more
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

When the weather begins to get frightful, there’s nothing more delightful than cosying up in a hot steam room or cocooning by a fire at one of Surrey’s spectacular spas. Here, the Good Spa Guide picks its top winter warmers

Read more
Monday, October 23, 2017

Foxhills Club & Resort is in the running for a prestigious national prize, after being shortlisted in two categories for the third consecutive year in the National Fitness Awards

Read more
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nuffield Health Guildford Hospital has received an overall good rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in November 2016.

Read more
Friday, August 18, 2017

Head to The Friary Guildford’s AW17 Fashion Show at The Electric Theatre on 9 September to see professional models parading the catwalk in this season’s styles from some of Guildford’s top fashion brands. Three shows will run throughout the day, starting at 11.30am and running through to 4.15pm.

Read more
Friday, June 2, 2017

With wedding and race season upon us, Farnham milliner Beverley Edmondson shows Rebecca Younger how to complete an outfit with the perfect hat

Read more
Monday, May 15, 2017

Fashionistas across Surrey are in for a treat as a week long fashion installation comes to Woking Shopping.

Read more
Friday, May 12, 2017

As chief executive of The Children’s Trust, a charity providing specialist rehabilitation to children with brain injury, Dalton Leong makes the most of his time away from the office, relaxing in the Surrey countryside

Read more
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hairdresser to the stars, Jamie Stevens will open his salon on the High Street in April

Read more
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Absolute Aesthetics are bringing a touch of Hollywood glamour to their Guildford Clinic on Thursday 8 June.

Read more
Monday, April 10, 2017

Sir Michael Parkinson officially launched the new expanded oncology wing, The Oak Suite, at Nuffield Health Guildford Hospital on Tuesday 4 April.

Read more
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Not everyone wants surgery to delay the signs of ageing and if that includes you then you then come along and join the Simply Glamorous Masterclass at our Reigate Clinic on 8 June 2017.

Read more
Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chap-hop star, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, shares his seasonal recommendations for style-conscious Surrey gents every month in Surrey Life magazine

Read more
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

On Saturday 25 March from 1pm to 4pm, The Friary Guildford will hold their second inaugural VIP Ladies event in celebration of Mother’s Day.

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Surrey Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search