Marting Yelling's Video Q&A Thursday 16 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 everything from boosting your confidence to dealing with runner's trots.

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 can I deal with runner’s trots?
A. The key thing is to not need the loo in the first place, and you manage that by thinking about what kinds of food you’re going to have before your long run or on Race Day. What you’re trying to consider is: how long does this take to pass through me? What are the exit times? Will I need the loo? Is there going to be somewhere to go? Very quickly on Race Day that can all spiral into a little bit of panic.

Find foods that you can tolerate when you’re running and don’t upset you. Leave a little bit of time between eating and going on that long run – perhaps 90 minutes or more. Test out that and try to avoid the need to stop with a sense of urgency.

Q. Do I need to hit 20 miles before the marathon or is 18 ok?
A. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Eighteen is OK – you will survive! You don’t have to run 20 miles but it really helps to teach yourself how it feels. If all you’re doing is 18 come Race Day, you will get through.

Q. Any words of advice about boosting confidence? I’m worried about if I can do this even though I’m putting in the training.
A. Confidence is hugely important at this time. It’s really common to have wobbles. You just have to trust the training miles you’ve already done, have confidence in your body to hold together over the next few weeks and particularly over the next few weeks on your long runs to build in some psychological strategies to build into Race Day.

This year’s Virgin Money London Marathon are running a #ReasonToRun campaign. You need to tap into that personal reason, it’s something really important, and you can pull that out in the race to get to the Finish Line. The catch of that is that you can’t pull it out all the time; you can’t overuse that extra strong feeling, that emotive cause.

Instead, you need to develop a few other things like a mantra, some dissociation techniques; thinking about other things as you run. Anything to take your mind off how much it’s going to hurt.

Q. Is it ok to swim instead of run due to painful calves and shins?
A. Yes, it’s fine to swim assuming there’s no aggravation of your injury when you do. Swimming is non-weight bearing, it’s likely that there isn’t going to be that aggravation, and it’ll just keep your heart and lungs going and working well when you’re training so you’ll maintain a bit of that fitness even though you’re not running.

Q. Is it too late to break in new trainers?
A. No, it’s not. It’s not a good idea to wear spangly new runners on the day of the race, so now is a good time to start breaking in those new shoes on your training runs.

Q. When is it best to complete the last long run before the big day?
A. It’s best about three weeks before and in an ideal world you might do 22 miles. I know that seems like a long way but you’ve got 26.2 miles to run on Race Day. 22 is good, 20 is ok, 18 is still enough, about three weeks before.

Q. When should I start carb loading before the marathon?
A. You don’t actually need to carb load before you’ll fall over. What you need to do is ensure you’re optimally hydrated, that you’re well fuelled so that your body is ready to cover 26.2 miles on Race Day. What that means is you have to pay attention to what you eat in the week of the race. What it doesn’t mean you should do is eat a pasta mountain every week before the marathon. Your body will only store a certain amount of carbohydrate; You don’t need to be noshing down bowls of pasta that are bigger than your head every day before the race. All that’s going to do is leave you feeling bloated and lethargic. Now is the time before your long runs to practise eating things that help you feel energised and ready to tackle the distance.