Martin Yelling's Video Q&A Friday 31 March 2017
In the latest in a series of live video Q&A sessions on the Virgin Money London Marathon Facebook page, top performance coach Martin Yelling takes questions on nerves, tapering, injury and taking in fluids.
Q. I feel like I’ve had enough of this running malarkey. What’s that all about?
A. You’re not alone. It’s a lot like that for people at the moment but we’re so close, you’re almost there, and the hard work at this point is almost all behind you. All you’ve got to do now is focus on keeping calm, staying healthy and not getting injured.
Q. I’ve been ill for three days with an upset belly. I need to do a 20-mile run but I feel so ill.
A. Don’t do the 20-mile run. I know it’s difficult to get your head around this close to the race, but if you’re not very well you simply must not go out and bang out a 20-mile run that’s just going to put you under stress and strain before your big Race Day arrives. Instead, take your time, give yourself a few days and, if you can, do a perhaps shorter run next weekend.
Q. Can I do too much of a taper? I’ve only done 12-14 miles over the last couple of weeks
A. You can do too much of a taper. What happens is you end up really doubting the miles and the training you’ve done. Just keep running regularly, keep doing some miles and keep yourself in good ‘tick-over’ shape.
Q. I’m only up to a half marathon. What do you suggest?
A. I would suggest revisiting your marathon goal and thinking about how you’re going to approach getting around 26.2 miles. I imagine that’s going to involve some change to your target finish time and also your approach on Race Day itself. You’re going to want to include some periods of regular walking – particularly at the start – to make sure you’ve got the endurance and stamina to go the full 26.2 miles.
Q. I’m nervous but I’m so excited. I’ll be a wreck on the morning! How can I relax and not shoot off?
A. Everyone is nervous – what you’ve got to do is learn a few relaxing techniques now that you can put into place on Race Day when you get there on the Start Line, so you can say: "I am excited about this, yes I’m nervous, but those nerves are really good for me." Being disciplined in the first few miles is the most important thing.
Q. During a taper, does increasing the intensity [of my runs] help?
A. During your taper you don’t get a huge amount of additional fitness benefits. What you do is maintain the fitness that you’ve built up. Too much intensity in the last few weeks could risk injury. I would err on the side of caution and as you don’t get much training benefit, do something which gets you out of breath and causes you to work, but you don’t need to really bust yourself in the next few weeks.
Q. How much water or fluid do I need to drink before the race?
A. You need to be hydrated before the race starts. Pay attention to the weather forecast. It can be warm in April in London, and if it is warm you might want to take on a bit of extra fluid before and during the race. You don’t want to over drink, so there’s absolutely no way you need to be stood half an hour before the race nailing back litres of fluid. All that’s going to do is slosh around in your stomach. I would suggest drinking to your thirst - there are plenty of opportunities to drink throughout the race.
Q. I ran 20 miles a tad slower than my planned marathon pace and it was tough! Should I alter my pace?
A. No. Those long 20-mile training runs feel brutal and you want to stop and have a cry and everything seems to hurt. Once you get to Race Day with the other runners all of that will disappear. All of the training you’ve done to this point will all by magic click into place on Race Day and when you’re running you’ll feel better, stronger, more controlled and economical and easier as the race goes on and you get into your pace. You’re going to have tough moments - at that point you need to dial into those reasons for you doing the marathon.