I’m currently training for marathon number 11 – the London Marathon. Marathon training can quite be a lonely experience so I’ve found that sharing updates and progress on Instagram has been extremely beneficial. I like to follow other people that are training for the same event as it helps keep me motivated. Everyone trains differently, we all have different plans but are effectively all working towards the same goal – crossing that finish line.
The London Marathon is huge and with a lot of first-time marathoners taking part I have been inundated with questions over the last 4 weeks. I’ve rounded up all the answers to the most common ones here.
First up – how do you get your running stats on your Instagram pictures?
There are a few apps that do this. I use workout snap (paid for version) but you can also do this in the Garmin Connect app or on Strava. I’m not on Strava… mic drop right there!
Next up – what training plan are you following?
With all the training plans available online it can all be a bit of a minefield. In previous years I have used Bupa beginner and intermediate plans, ASICS timed plans and the London Marathon advanced plan. Check out my tips for selecting the right training plan here.
Firstly I would pick a plan that suits your goal. I was lucky enough to be selected for one of my running clubs London Marathon ballot places. My marathon PB is 4.12, which is a time I am more than happy with. But, I really want to work hard and do my running club proud so I decided to set my goal as sub 4 hours.
I’m currently using the Runners World sub 4 plan that I found online. I’ve been told the London Marathon is extremely busy so I won’t be disappointed if I don’t achieve that time – but I’m following the plan to see where it takes me! I’d be over the moon with anything under 4.12!
I’ve never used a Runners World Plan before – but I’ve heard lots of good things about them. The plan has me running 5 times a week with 2 rest days, one of which I’m using for strength and conditioning.
I wish I had your motivation. How do you fit it all in?
If you want something badly enough, you will make time. If you don’t, you will make an excuse. You can’t just turn up to a marathon and run it. Respect the distance and the 16 weeks of training. Get up earlier, prioritise your time. I look at my training plan every Monday and plan every run in around all my other commitments. If you are struggling with motivation check out my tips here.
Which watch do you have?
I have been using the Garmin 245 music for my training. I also have the Garmin forerunner 235 which I mainly use if I’m pacing a race as the screen is a little bigger. I’ve always worn Garmin and it’s a brand I wouldn’t deviate from. They’re easy to use, quick to sync and I’ve always found them to be accurate. The stats you get in the Garmin Connect app are also really useful.
What trainers do you wear?
I’m wearing the ASICS Gel Kayano – they are really comfy, like slippers. I overpronate when I run so they really suit my running style. I also have the Gel DS 24 which are great for parkrun or when for when I feel the need for speed. You can read my thoughts on them here.
If you are a first-timer I recommend having a gait analysis done to determine which shoe is best for you.
Which headphones do you use?
I really rate Aftershokz bone conductor headphones and I use the Aeropex. These are ideal for me as I do a lot of running on country roads, so I can listen to my music and still be aware of my surroundings.
What do you carry your ‘stuff’ in when you run?
I use a FlipBelt. I think I own every colour possible. They’re pretty roomy, there is enough room for my phone, gels and there’s a keyring loop for your key too. I also have the FlipBelt torch which slides into one of the openings for evening runs.
Which gels would you recommend?
Gels are a personal preference. What works for one person might not work for another. It’s a good idea to use your training runs to find out what works best for you. Loop close to home just in case they have any adverse effects! Some people fuel on ‘normal’ food, I use gels as they are easy to carry and are convenient.
I’ve tried various gels over the years. I used to be a fan of high-5 until they changed them. Currently, I use the torq gels – the consistency makes it easy to swallow and they do a great range of flavours. Cherry Bakewell, Rhubarb and Custard and Raspberry Ripple are my favourites.
And now for the more random (but still useful) questions…
How often do you wash your hair?
I feel like you need a separate plan for scheduling in your hair washing. Dry shampoo and a ponytail is a running girl’s best friend! No one has time to wash and blow-dry their barnet every day – a spritz of batiste leaves your hair feeling and smelling fresh.
Can you recommend a sweat-proof sun cream?
A good SPF is one of the most important products as no one wants to finish a run with a face any redder than usual. This face SPF 50 is from The Body Shop – and it’s pretty sweat proof. During the winter months, I have been using the Fré moisturiser which contains SPF 30. Visors and caps are also handy for shielding the sun from your eyes. I recently bought some running sunglasses but I”m yet to test them – so I will report back and let you know how I get on with those!
Can you recommend anything for chafing?
Absolutely. One item I wouldn’t be without is IVYverdure. I was kindly sent this to review and it’s been an essential item ever since. It’s been a saviour to my underarms and any other areas that are likely to chafe.
Everything I have recommended is all personal preference. It took a lot of trial and error to find out what works for me. Each marathon is a learning curve. Best of luck with the training!