The London Marathon is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious long-distance running events. It attracts tens of thousands of participants and millions of spectators to the UK’s capital city each year. On April 23, 2023, runners from around the world will take to the streets, covering a 26.2-mile route that takes in some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

I was lucky enough to take part last year – it was an experience I’ll never forget. The race has the most incredible atmosphere, with huge crowds of spectators out cheering.  This year – I will be there cheering, but first I will be running my own race – the virtual London Marathon!

Virtual London Marathon: Why go virtual?

The Virtual TCS London Marathon was introduced in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows runners from anywhere in the world to participate in the TCS London Marathon.

Whether you want to amble along country lanes or power up and over hills, the virtual TCS London Marathon is your chance to complete 26.2 miles however and wherever you wish on Marathon Day.

All you have to do is download the app and log the distance through it any time between 00:00 to 23:59:59 BST on 23 April 2023. This provides the evidence that the full distance has been completed and you will receive your medal!

@thisbunnyruns and I are running the Virtual London Marathon – before grabbing a Maccies breakfast and going down to cheer at the main event itself (this was the deal I agreed to and I’m sticking with it).

I’ve discovered that preparing for a virtual marathon requires a slightly different approach than a traditional in-person event.

With just under 2 weeks to go, here are my tips to help you get ready for the virtual London Marathon:

Plan your route:

Since you won’t be running on the actual London Marathon course, you’ll need to plan your own route. Look for a route that’s similar in length and terrain to the London Marathon course if possible. Plan for rest stops, water breaks, and any other necessities you might need along the way. Since we are doing this for fun we have factored in loo stops and a coffee break.

Train together:

It’s always more fun to train with a friend, and that goes double for a virtual marathon. We have run a number of times and raced together recently for training. Make sure you and your friend are on the same training schedule so you can encourage each other and hold each other accountable. If you run at a similar pace you’re already onto a winner.

Build up gradually:

As with conventional marathon training – don’t try to increase your mileage too quickly. Gradually build up your distance and intensity over time to avoid injury and burnout. Agree to a run/walk option if that’s your goal.

Fuel properly:

Fuelling is critical for any long-distance run. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated throughout your training. Experiment with different foods and hydration strategies to find what works best for you.

Set a realistic goal:

Decide on a realistic goal for your virtual London Marathon. Whether it’s finishing the distance or achieving a personal best time, having a goal will help keep you motivated during training and on race day. In our case, it’s how many Pret stops we can fit in along the way!

Create your own cheering squad:

A marathon is tough – and in honesty, without the crowds to spur you on, it will be even tougher. So it’s important to create your own cheering squad. Enlist family and friends to cheer you on virtually, or set up signs and motivational messages along your route to keep you going.

Running a virtual marathon can be challenging, but with the right preparation and mindset, it can be rewarding and fun. While you may miss the energy, atmosphere, and excitement of running with a crowd you can still make the virtual London Marathon a memorable experience!

Wishing you the best of luck!