Marathon Race-Week Q+A: Liz Yelling

Hi everyone

Double Olympian - and Lucozade Sport Super Six mentor - Liz Yelling will be online between 1pm and 2pm today to answer any queries you might have about race week and the big day itself.

Liz has been competing as a top international athlete for more than 15 years. In 2006, she won the Bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and she has twice represented Great Britain in the Olympics (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008).

Start posting your questions now - that way, Liz will be able to get stuck in straight away rather than having to deal with too many questions all at once.




  • Hi Liz

     I'm a big fan of yours and I hope to see you at Edinburgh marathon this year.

    My question is about long runs, I am training for a sub 3:45 marathon, I normally run my long runs at about 9 min or 9 min 30 pace, but last week my plan asked me to run it at 8:30 pace.  Is this too fast?  I didn't make it by the way ended up completing it in 9:30 pace.

    My best half is 1hr 45 - do you think a sub 3:45 is asking to much of me?

     Thanks Liz


  • What pace do you do your long runs at? Is it MP + x secs for the duration for instance or do you do progressive long runs where you start slow and reach MP for the final few miles?
  • Hi - I'm doing Brighton this Sunday. I have my target time, pace band all sorted out and feel ready, but my question is, if things go wrong and I start missing the targets what's the best way to salvage a good race; should you work out new splits, or just hang on or what? 


  • Hello Kirsty, your MP for 3.45 is 8.35 miling so yes 8.30 is too fast for your long runs. I would aim to run your long runs slower than your Marathon race pace and then add some sections (3 x 15mins or 60mins) at your race pace into your long runs when you are 4-3 weeks out. So for now 9.30 miling seems perfect! Yes 3.45 seems a very realistic goal for you assuming your get the training in and address your nutrition and hydration requirements.

    MM: I mix my long runs, so some are slow over distance, some are gradual increase in pace, but my MP race pace is 5.40 and I run a 2 hour tempo around 6min miles 3 weeks out, most of my long runs are done at 6.20-7min miles.

  • Wobbled: The best way is to have a window if pacing, so get a pace band for your target time, but also for a time a little slower that you would be happy with so you have some space for error. Also if the times start going and you find yourself off track it is better to have a back up plan in your mind so you don't just loose it. I would say if you start dropping off run how you feel and don't look at your splits again, and just aim to run the best you can on the day!
  • Hi Liz

    Havent really got a question, just to say hello and saw you at Wokingham, well for a second until you belted it down the road and over the motorway bridge.

    Your an inspiration to all runners and that run in Beijing was probably one of the gutsiest performances ever of a British athlete.

    Good luck with everything.

    And 1 week to go till London woohooo cant wait image

  • Hi Buzz Lightfeet, Thank you very much! image Good luck for London!
  • Hi Liz. How many gels do you take for 26.2? I took 8 in Paris which saw me through a 3:13 PB with no issues. Is that a lot?
    Keep it up Liz. You are an inspiration to us mortals.
  • Hi Liz.

     I running my first marathon in London next sunday.  My training has been going well and I am now in the final stages of tapering. My question, or concern is, on the longer runs 3+ hours I tend to cramp up badly in my right calf and left thigh. I have tried salt tablets and changed strectches but the cramp seems to return. 

    It is frustrating as I seem to maintain a good pace and stamina isn't a major issue. Can anything be done to combat the cramp before or during? The very least I would like to do is finish the race after all the training.



  • Hi Liz,

     saw you at Silverstone last month - I had a little tear in my eye, you were fab! My question: I've managed to do everything right up till now, and I'm on course for my first (super slow, but that's not the point - a year ago I couldn't run 20 seconds!) marathon. But I've managed to get a blister on my toe due to an ill fitting sock.

     So my big question: what's your secret cure for blisters, and do you have a favourite brand of socks?!

  • Hi Liz,

    I am runnnig my first marathon next weekend and am now starting to get very nervous, dread may be more apt.

    Any advice on dealing with the nerves?


  • Hi Liz, my question is regarding post marathon running.

    How soon after a race do you look to get back into training? I know rest is important but don't want to sit around for too long.

    Thanks for you time

  • Hi Liz,

    I notice you mention over distance work, which seems to feature in most elite marathoners' training programmes. A 28 miler 3-4 weeks out would seem to be a reasonable idea but my question is do you think a session like this or the overall weekly mileage in the last 12 weeks is the biggest factor in holding pace in the last 10K of a marathon?

  • Hello Liz, Im running Stratford on 25th and i have a stiff achilies but its not too bad. My question is will i gain anything by running in these last days or would i be better off just resting for the big day?

  • Jim: I take 6 gels and energy drink during the marathon, starting at 15k and every 5k after that, so it seems your 8 gels is not too much and if you are running strong at the end you know you have got your training and your nutrition right for you.

    John: Cramp can be a number of things. It can be nerve related, so could be worth getting your back check, it could be de-hydration, or fatigue, the best thing I can say is to drink an electrolyte drink in the days leading up to the marathon, and ensure you have a good hydration strategy during the race. Good luck! I am sure you will make that finish line.
  • Hi Liz. I am running my first big ultra next weekend, the 53 mile Highland Fling. I have just short of a month to recover/prepare for the Edinburgh Marathon. What would you recommend in terms of recovery and runs during the month leading up to Edinburgh given my slightly unusual/mad preparation? Given the nature of the Highland Fling, 90% of my preparation has been trail running. Thanks image
  • Hi Liz, hope you don't mind a semi-serious question, and a fun one!

    First, do you find you get all kinds of strange aches and pains turning up during taper?  And what's your tip for telling niggles from something that really needs some attention? (Because a lot of us on Spink's thread are niggling like mad!)

    Second, do you think we'll ever see any of you elites doing London Marathon at the back in fancy dress, taking 5-6 hours, just for fun?

    (edited for spelling)

  • Hi Liz,

    My last long run was a week ago today in Florida and was really hard. I think because of the heat. I got blisters and haven't wanted to go out since (jet lag + blisters). I could go out today, but don't really want to.

    How important is it for me to get a few short runs in before the big day?

    Thanks for your help.
  • Hi Liz,

    You are a Legend...image

    I've missed a few long runs so here goes.

    My longest run is only 20 miles and I've done a few 18's and a 19...usually I would have done a 22.

    My longest run pace is typically between 08:30 - 08:45 which I'm comfortable at, my speed sessions 800m repeats are run at about 06:50 pace, tempo runs tend to be between 07:15 - 07:30......given all that and hopefully you have a calculator I was wondering what your advise on pace would be, I've done 8 marathons and my PB is 3:19 for the marathon, I just feel undercooked through lack of long runs and lack of general mileage. Part of me thinks I should go out at 07:30 pace and see what happens, I just know that wall is waiting for me.

    Ps. looking forward to seeing you win London soon image

  • Marathon mummy: To prevent blisters I put talc in my socks. It works a treat!

    Darran: Nerves are normal and the dread is too. Embrace the nerves, they make you run well, they are the petrol in your blood. Remind yourself why you are doing it and if someone told you you couldn't run how would you feel? Think of 5 great sessions you have banked in the last 3 months, and remind yourself of how far you have come. It is all about positive thoughts, and reminding yourself it will be worth it. Deep breathing can also help calm those nerves too!

    Flatfooted: I take 7 days rest post marathon and I advise those who I coach to do the same and then I do a week of very easy running starting at 15 mins and running every other day for a little bit more. After a month of easy and steady running I introduce some pace again.

    Parkrunfan: I think the over all mileage counts more than the over runs.

    Madlot: You will gain nothing form running in the last few days, rest that leg to give you the best chance of making that finish line!

  • Hi Liz,

    What sort of socks do you wear for your running and are there any particular sort that you would recommend?

  • Hi Liz,

     A couple of questions for you, I am running my first marathon next Sunday. Is there any tips on how much water to drink during the race?

    Also when running a my long runs a couple of times I have experience a sharp stabbing pain under my right rib which I can't get rid of. Is this dehydration or just a really bad stitch? It tends to come at mile 18-20.

  • Hi Liz,

    I always struggle knowing how much fluid to take on board, last did London in 2006 and ended up throwing up 7 times (which is not fun along a crowd lined Embankment), have not been able to stomach Luz Sport ever since this time, so planning on taking my own sports drink but still worried the same will happen again.

    Have been carrying my own drink on all my training runs, but I'm always all out by 18/19 which leaves me with none for later on.  Should I attempt the Luz Sport or bearing in mind previous experience do you think I should just manage on water.  Or should I delay drinking my sports drink until the later stages of the race.

    Could ask someone to take some up for me - but with the crowds no guarentee that will get it.

    Many thanks Amanda 

  • Gotthe runs: I wear thin light socks with talc in. Less weight the better in my book. It is personal preference really. What ever you have been training in will be fine! Don't try new socks on the day!

    Jonathon: Good luck for your Ultra, I would take a week of swimming or at least 5 days of no running, and then do a week of very easy running at the end of which I would do no longer than 2 hours of easy running, then you can afford to have some pace, i.e. MP and HMP sessions to get those legs woken up, but not long sessions, and do some runs on the road 2 weeks out just to get used to it. Listen to your body and the first 2 weeks post ultra are important for rec- eat and hydrate well as soon as you can and don't do anything too mad!

    Rowan: Yes I get aches and pains in the taper. If they are new ones I know they are in my head, but if it is something I usually get injury wise then I tend to listen to it. It will all vanish once the gun goes on the 25th! Yes I can see myself in 10-15 years time running round in a wonder woman outfit if my hips will let me !

    Kristian: Jet lag is not nice but just doing some very easy 10 mins runs will actually help you get back into the time zone!

    Rob22: Gosh Rob it is so hard to say. I would say you have done enough training and the wall is only lack of nutrition and poor pacing. 7.30s would give you 3.16, so I say you may as well start at that pace and see how it feels. You can always have a back up plan!

  • I have a question image

    Liz, are you coming to join some of the runners and supporters for a few beers at Chandos  (Trafalgar Sq) after the race image
  • Hi Liz - just saving Steve the under 4 coach from another question (BTW - he has been great, answering all our queries, no matter how many times we asked the same question even  image)

    The under 4 schedule recommends a 12 mile steady run for this Sunday, 1 week before VLM. However, I will follow Steve's advice and do maximum 10 (same way I dropped the 18miles last Sunday to 15, but other than that I banked all LSR's) - the schedule mentions running this at a steady pace, so roughly MP. Do you think it's wise running at marathon pace this distance, or maybe just do a standard long run?

    I have altered te paces I've done my LSR's recently - slow as prescrobed for the first half, and then I gradually picked up the pace for negative splits the second half.

    It would be great to hae your input!

    BTW - I have been training with a torn meniscus, so I have only done 3 sessions/week for the last 2 months (but never missed an LSR - even the 22 miles felt absolutely confortable).

    Thank you very much,

  • Liz, one more question: will you answer YES to Bouncing Barlist's question above image?
  • Thanks Liz....looking forward to the WW can see from my picture I've been known to dress up !!
  • Hello Liz, The taper is causing me a great deal of concern, as i am realy panicking about falling behind.

    My weekly mileage has been around 70-75, 3 weeks ago i did my last long run which was 22 miles at 6.36mm to total 76 miles 3 weeks out. I did a 1/2 marathon sunday gone at 5.53 pace and 5 miles after to total 18 and  67m for the week, and this week i'll total around 40-43 miles.

    But my program doesn't include running any longer than 1hr now up to the marathon, does this seem like a normal taper, compared to how you do your own taper, and will i lose endurance or speed since sunday upto the marathon as im thinking that im now not doing enough.

    Thankyou Liz


  • Amanda TW: have you joined one of the RW mile 17 suport group? You could leave it with them, and have it at Mudchute, guaranteed  - sorry to be stilling Liz' space xx
Sign In or Register to comment.