Training

Martin Yelling's Q&A 15 April 2016

Q: I read that it's hard to run during the first mile due to the large amount of people, do you think I should try and make up for the slow start and run faster than my predicted marathon pace for a few miles when there are less people around me?

A: Yes, it can be very busy at the start and you might find it tricky to stay on your target time even if in the right pen. Starting slowly is, however, a good idea and the race truly starts at half way! Take your time to find yourself back on pace by a few seconds each mile over lots of miles! For example, it might take you 10 miles to make up a little lost time but that's better than trying to do it in one mile!

Q: When I started my training I guessed my predicted time to be four hours. Now I've just about finished my training I think I could possibly get 3.5 hours. However I'll be starting in the four-hour pen. What's my best strategy to get as close to 3.5 hours as possible please?

A: Get yourself to the front of the pen! So, get there early. Then set off with your 3.30 in mind. You'll be in a perfect place with a well controlled run to be on track. Be patient.

Q: Do you have any tips (apart from some deep breathing) for not going into full blown panic/state of overwhelm when I get to the start line and realise the enormity of the hours ahead?

A: The start is a great place to be. Have a look around when you get there. Soak it up. You deserve to be there. Have a cry if you need to. Then get your organised head on. Put structure around race morning. Know timings. Be planned to reduce anxiety. Value that you made it. Realise you are amazing.

Q: What would your advice be when it comes to carb loading in the week leading up to the marathon?

A: It would depend on what you have done already in your training and what you know works for you. Yes, you certainly need to eat some carbohydrates in the days leading up to the event but you certainly don't need to over eat.

Q: The weather is looking good for the marathon which means as a heavy sweater I will struggle in the heat! Salt and mineral loss are a worry for me and I know just bottled water will not be the solution. Any advice on this?

A: There are electrolyte drinks on course and these should help. You can also carry your own electrolytes in the form of tablets or sachets that you could add to water.

Q: A question about pacing: I am hoping for 3:30 hours, however I think this could be a stretch. Is it better to start at 3:30 pace and risk blowing up at mile 18 or set off slightly slower knowing I would then certainly not get 3:30? I recently ran a 15-mile race in 1:52 and I have done five runs of 20 miles or more at around nine minutes per mile, this is my third marathon. My personal best is 03:39.

A: It's all about risk and reward. What do you want to really get out of the race? I'd say risk it and be happy with the outcome. 

Q: Any advice on nutrition from now until Race Day? I'm feeling very tired and run down - any tips to get me feeling strong and ready for Race Day? I have only run on Monday this week and have done no other exercise as I have been too tired, but I will run this weekend!

A: Sounds like you need rest and recovery! Hopefully a week of really good sleep (go to bed early!) and clean and healthy nutrition (carbs, proteins, fresh, non-processed food) and time relaxing (if possible) will help.

Q: I'm having problems with new trainers. I am a charity runner and am not doing the Virgin Money London Marathon with any specific time aim, but have trained to 18 miles. I aim to run/walk my way around. Will I be ok in older trainers (that I am told have 'gone' but are comfortable ie no blisters) or should I go in new ones that seem OK but I won't have done a long run in?

A: Stick to the comfy ones. I'd say you'd be more at risk of an injury or blister with something new. They'll feel like slippers at the end! 

Q: I have a touch of tendinitis in my foot; it flared up after my 20-mile run a couple of weeks ago then settled, then again after my 13-mile run on Sunday. I have had physio and am due physio again on Monday. Is it better to rest up until the day, maybe with some light bike rides to keep the legs moving? I don't want to aggravate it but don't want to do nothing either!

A: It's 100 per cent best to rest than to aggravate it. Don't panic! It's easing with rest so take it. You're better to arrive at the start having done a few less runs than take a risk with extra miles that don't matter. REST IT!