Running a marathon? Smash your PB with these seven top training tips
With the London Marathon just four weeks away, the time has come to put the finishing touches to your training
If you're looking to smash your personal best in a marathon, half-marathon or just want to become a more efficient runner, these top training tips are worth integrating into your routine.
They come from Nick Anderson, founder of RunningwithUs and official Cancer Research UK coach for the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Reach your peak
"Three to four weeks out will see you hit your final key long run. Three, to three and a half hours with the final 60 minutes at your planned race day pace and intensity would be a great final key run. Beyond this it's all diminishing returns."
Cut it back
"After your final long run, it's time to start tapering. Too much, too close to race day will leave you tired but with no additional fitness gain. Three weeks out, consider cutting your long run back to a maximum of two and a half hours, at two weeks to two hours and at one week to a relaxed 75 minute run."
Feel the frequency
"So that you don't feel rusty during your taper, keep the frequency of your training the same. If you normally run three, four or five times a week, keep this up, but consider getting some faster innings in to get a bit of 'zip' back into the legs. A local 5km park run blast could be perfect for this."
"Niggles and sickness can still strike during your taper and the desire to run through this can see many runners undo all their hard work.
"If you are sick or carrying a niggle, take extra rest or consider cross training, aqua jogging, elliptical or static bikes."
All in the mind
"‘Should you squeeze in another 3 hour run?’ ‘Do I need to make up for that week I missed when I had a cold?’
"These are common worries in the final weeks. Look back over your training diary and write down 8-10 positive statements about what you HAVE achieved so far, reinforcing the positives."
Book an MOT
"If you were entering a car race you'd definitely want to make sure everything was running smoothly. Your body is no different.
"Book in for a full-body MOT with a good local sports physio or consider getting a sports massage in the final two weeks. No closer than the Wednesday of race week though as sometimes these can leave you feeling a little sore!"
Clear the diary
"The taper is all about doing less, not more. Just because you have more time because you're not training doesn't mean its time for more gym class or DIY jobs at home.
"Be a bit selfish and ask for help with some of the jobs around the house. If you possibly can, take a day extra off work on the Friday before the race and use it to do….nothing!"
Sleep yourself fit
"An extra 15-30 minutes a night in these final 2-3 weeks could make a massive difference to your final performance.
"Banish smartphones and tablets from the bedroom, avoid stimulants such as caffeine or alcohol late at night, eat your main meal a little earlier - ideally two hours or more before you sleep."
Your running performance can also be enhanced by regularly including this exercise into your gym routine.
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