Advice on training for London Marathon

Hi all,

I am training for my first marathon (London).  I have some questions that I was hoping more expert runners could help me with.

I did the Brighton half a couple of weekends ago and did OK (got in under my target of 2 hours - final time was 1hr 59).  But I was completely spent afterwards and took 3 or 4 days to recover.  I did no training for a week and this weekend tried to do 25k at a steady pace, but hit the wall at 20.5 and my left hamstring was really tightening up (and I was running with a mild head cold).  Am worried that I won't be in shape for the big day.

I have had advice that this meant my body needed rest and that I should take it easy this week.  Does that sound right?  

I have a modest goal in mind for the actual marathon - 4.30/4.45.  Any general advice other than keep training?  How many very long runs should I do before the big day?

Many thanks in advance -- any advice much appreciated!


  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Congratulations on your Half Marathon time (especially getting under the 2 hour mark).

    Its perfectly normal to need a few days after a race to recover - so don't worry about that.  The lost training days are compensated by having a fast run and experiencing race conditions during the event.

    The hamstring pulling could be due to having a few days off, or residual affects of the HM.  If you can, try and get a sport massage or a physio to look at it just to rule out any problems (and probably loosen up tight/knotted muscles).  

    TBH it sounds like it was just a bad day, so maybe look to do some shorter/easier runs during this week to get you back into the swing of things and restore your cofidence.

  • If you've rested well since the half the adaptation will do your body the world of good in the long run, but I wouldn't do anything that hard and long again before race day or the residual fatigue will outweigh the fitness gains.

    The number of very long runs depends on how frequently you've done them already i.e. if you've only been doing one a month don't suddenly start doing them every two weeks. It may be an idea to do the next one as easy as you like and take the confidence of feeling good at x miles or z hours, depending how you train. So don't make any sudden increases in training volume, gradual is the way to go so the answer is based on your recent training, not anyone else's.

    Learn how long your body took to recover from the half and apply that to your taper ensuring you don't do anything too long or too hard too close to marathon day. At this stage you've got a little bit of scope to make fitness gains, but plenty of scope to put yourself out the race so unless your goal times are of the utmost importance (which I doubt in relation to completing a marathon for the first time) err on the side of caution and you should be ripe to enjoy that medal come race day.


  • Hi All,

    With the London marathon looming training has stepped up and long runs are getting longer.

    I was just wondering if anyone could provide any advice on my long weekend runs leading up to the marathon, my max so far is a hilly 15 miler (last weekend). I plan to do 4 more long runs before tapering. What sort of mileage should I be doing in the 4 more runs?

    Thanks for the help
  • I am going for a 16 18 and a 20 with a shorter long run between the 18 and 20.
  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    JY I would follow gemgemx's plan and do 3 more long runs and then start to taper down, I would do something like this 16, 18, 20, 13, 8-10 

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