Week 1: Getting Started and getting going

Welcome to 2016 and the first steps on your journey to 26.2 miles of glory around the streets of London in the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Every other week in this blog I’ll be looking at issues you might be facing in your training and helping you stay on track with navigating your pathway through to race day. We’ll be supporting this with a bi-weekly social media question and answer session so we can keep the conversation going.

Let’s start with something really simple. Your level of readiness and confidence right now to tackle 26.2 marathon miles probably isn’t where you like it to be. Don't panic. This is totally normal. My certainty that you can achieve your personal aspirations in London on Sunday April the 24th 2016 is much greater than any doubts you might have right now.

It’s normal to feel excited about the marathon journey that lies ahead of you if, at the same time, a little apprehensive. Getting the start of your journey right lays the foundations on which you build over the next few months.

What to do right now.

1. Get your routine sorted

As a beginner marathoner a training plan really helps. It takes away the thinking for you and helps you progress at the right times at the right level. Our beginner plan is here. You’ll notice it starts off quite gently. Resist the urge to do too much too soon. Progress is your priority. Your goal is to be marathon fit at the end of April and so starting sensibly is a golden rule of getting going.

2. Lock in some time

Dial in some time each week to do your running and protect it where possible. Only you will know the best time for you. Find (read ‘create’!) times that work for you socially, with family or work commitments and other life priorities. This might be first thing in the morning (yes, I know, many of you won’t be morning peeps!), on your work commute or after the kids have gone to bed!

3. Get a reason to run

When you toe the start line in London you’ll be sharing it with thousands of other runners just like you. Each will have a story surrounding their journey. Those stories will knit together on the streets of London to create a collective surge of passion, commitment and determination to go the distance. You’ll have some tough times in your training over the next few months and you’ll need to ride the low points. Having a personal reason for running the marathon will really help.

Five things runners get wrong when they start.

Bite off too much

It’s much better to under promise to yourself and over deliver in terms of training than be uber ambitious, set your sights super high and keep misfiring.

Keep putting it off

There is no time like the present. There are no training shortcuts to a marathon finish. Start now and keep going.

Think they can't do it

Yes, you’ll have times when the end of the road feels too far and you question your ability and sanity. Listen to your body, notice how you’re feeling and make the right choices. Your self-belief will grow as you get training under your belt.

Do too much too soon

Yep, it is possible that you can get too excited and run more than you should. Particularly if you haven't done any running for a while (or not at all, ever!) a few over eager first weeks can end up with injury and frustration. Be patient.

Stop smiling

Remember your journey is about having fun, laughing, and enjoying every step, stride, breath and ache! We’re all privileged to be able to participate so lets share with our friends, family and strangers and have a happy run every time we lace up and go out!

Dr Martin Yelling