Training

Martin Yelling's Video Q&A Thursday 16 February 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 offers top tips for your long runs and managing your body as the training miles really start to ramp up.

You can watch the full Q&A video below, and keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more video Q&As with Martin in the months leading up to the London Marathon.

Q. How many miles should we be up to now for our first time?
A. It would be great if you were up to about 10 miles. Twelve miles would give you a little extra confidence, but 10 miles would be really good. You don’t have to run the whole thing but you do now need to think about giving some real distance to your long runs.

Q. I have a 20-mile race next week. Should I taper a bit or treat it as a training run?
A. If you’re focusing on doing really well in that race and you want a true evaluation of where you are at the moment, have a few down days going into the race so you feel fresh, then give it a hit-out and see what comes out.

Q. I ran 13.2 miles the other week early in the morning. I didn’t eat or drink before I went out. Is that not a good idea?
A. For a shorter run of under an hour, even 90 minutes or so, you don’t need to eat anything beforehand if you’re already fuelled appropriately. Lets just say you went out the night before on a massive boozy bender and had a huge takeaway meal and you were lolling about on the sofa when you got in. It’s not ideal preparation for your long run. Then you might want to have some water and a little bit of fuel before you go out [the next morning].

If you’ve been looking after yourself then you should be fuelled enough to go certainly for an hour and a half of easy running. That said, it would be really good to start to think about how you’re going to approach Race Day in your long runs. What’s your fuelling going to be? What are you going to eat the night before? When are you going to eat it? How much are you going to eat?

Q. I’ve had a week off with sickness and diarrhoea. I’m worried about returning to running.
A. Take it steady. If it’s just a week you’ve had off don’t worry too much. A few gentle runs and you should be back into things.

Q. It’s my second year at London and I’m feeling under pressure to get a better time and I’m struggling with my training. I just seem so tired and my pace is slower. Could this be a mental thing, rather than physical?
A. It could be both. Sometimes over-striving can be a negative thing. Just come off the pedal a little bit. Give yourself a breather and some space to relax and take it a little bit easier just to gather, reset and go again. Don’t overdo it.

Q. What are the best trainers out there to run in?
A. That really depends on you, your foot strike, the way you run and your biomechanics and running style. It’s really important to choose something which is specific to you and comfortable for you.

Go and try a few pairs on. Any decent running shop will let you try them on.

Q. How do I prevent muscle soreness after a long run?
A. Get some fuel in you after the long run; some food (that’s really important after your long run), some protein, some carbohydrate that you’ve used for your fuel, something that you like. Try and avoid stuffing your face with sweet, sugary things that give you an instant energy pick-up. Try and make some really good choices in your healthy nutrition to replace the energy levels and fluids that you’ve used during that long run. That’s really important as your long run builds.

Have a bit of a stretch perhaps the following day, particularly if you’re not going to run; a little walk just to keep things loose. Watch some TV with your legs up on the side of the wall for 20 minutes. Sleep, be kind to yourself, and try to not get stressed out about things in general.

Q. How can I deal with a blood blister on my toe after a long run?
A. The first thing to think about is why you got that blister; it could be because your shoes are a little tight, there was something in your sock that was rubbing or the lacing wasn’t right. My own preference for a blood blister is to carefully lance that blister, leaving the skin in tact, just to allow the skin to dry out.

If it’s a monster of a blood blister, again I would lance it, use some antiseptic to keep it really clean, and then put a blister protection over that for your next run.

Q. Do you recommend hitting the wall during training so you know how to avoid it?
A. I wouldn’t recommend purposely running completely out of energy. However, you’ll probably find in those longer runs as they start to build that energy levels will fluctuate and you’ll start to question: "is this what this feels like?"

If you truly run out of energy – and I have done this several times – you will notice a drastic slow-down, one at which you are not able to continue that same level of intensity – your pace completely folds. I think it’s better to avoid that situation in training with careful planning, preparation around what you’re eating, your running pace and volume of training.

Q. How do you build up stamina to run longer?
A. Run longer – get out there and consistently do the miles. It’s not about missing sessions. You won’t build stamina if you miss runs. You won't build stamina if you try and take shortcuts. Now is the time to get out there, build the stamina and make all the miles you’ve been running really count.