The Dreaded 26.2 Miles

Marathon Running

The London marathon is 6 months away. Half a year? That is a long time I hear you say…….no it isn’t. The most important factor to remember when training for any long distance event ,whether that be swimming, cycling, walking or running, is that these things take time. If you want to perform at your best over 26.2 miles you will have to be patient in your training. Rush it, increase your mileage too quickly, train too hard, and the subsequent injuries and fatigue will mean that in the long run you will not perform on race day. I am a self confessed sports geek and I realise that not everybody is like me, but not many people can rock up to a marathon and breeze it. You may have longer than 6 months till your specific marathon, but whatever the date – just consider a couple of things.

Varied Mileage

I am not talking about a set weekly mileage, I am talking about varied routes, distances and pace. It is imperative not to do the same 5k run over and over again. Not only will you get incredibly bored and your training will suffer because of it, but you will also lack the distance and pace variety that will make you a better runner. There are a number of different ‘runs’ you can do but there are two types that are essential. You must have a long run in your weekly plan, that is unavoidable. Without a long run your muscles will not build up the necessary endurance and the last 10km of you marathon will be a stop-start cramping session of agony. Beware. But what of the other runs? The other run I would ‘prescribe’ is a decent length tempo run. This is especially poignant if you are targeting a time. Far too often runners try to put in what is called ‘junk miles’. This is why I didn’t want to discuss weekly mileage because it is far too easy a trap to fall into. If you need to run a certain time per mile to go under say 3 hours, then you better be used to running as fast, if not faster than that in training. I used to run with someone who could run 18 miles no problem but never ran fast enough for prolonged periods to match the marathon time he was aiming for. No surprise then that when he tried to run a marathon at pace he blew up in the last 4 miles. Don’t be that person, cover all your bases.


Running is a repetitive action which places stress on your body and mind. It is only prudent to take measures to alleviate this stress. Now people like my dad, part of the old school, never used to stretch and consider themselves ‘too old to start’. Don’t be so stubborn. As your training load increases and due to the repetitive nature of running certain muscles will tighten, grow stronger, start to strain, etc. This causes aches, pains and injuries. Make sure you stretch regularly and you’ll be surprised at how much difference it makes and how relaxed it can make you feel!

This is not the be all and end all of marathon training, but it is a good start. Now get out there and run!

One Response to “The Dreaded 26.2 Miles”

  1. London Marathon 2013 | Marathon Training

    16. January 2013 um 12:06

    [...] a follow up to the “dreaded 26.2 miles”, this is a gentle reminder to those who have a place at the start line of the Virgin London [...]

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