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Starting your marathon training

If you’re new to running, the weeks of training ahead may seem daunting – read on to find out how to help your marathon training go as smoothly as possible.

Ready?

Before you begin marathon training, we recommend visiting your doctor for a once-over – this is particularly important if you’re a smoker, ex-smoker, are overweight, or have a history of heart disease in your family.

Steady…

Once your doctor’s given you the go ahead, it’s important not to overdo things and train too hard, too fast, in the first few days. Jumping straight into a rigorous routine is a common cause of injuries and sore muscles – it’s far better to go for a few walks and gentle jogs first.

If you feel any twinges or niggles coming on, tackle them early – find out more about common injuries and how to prevent and treat them.

Go!

A great starting point is to spend 30 minutes walking or jogging, four times a week. When you feel comfortable with this, start setting yourself distances or times as goals to work towards – for example, running for a mile without stopping, or running at the same pace for 20 minutes. 

Once you’ve done four to eight weeks of steady running, you should be ready to start our beginner’s training plan.

From a gentle start, your training routine will begin to develop at a natural, healthy pace. If you’re finding it hard to train alone, consider teaming up with other runners in your area – you’ll benefit from the added support and motivation they can offer, especially on chilly mornings and dark winter evenings!

Now you’ve started, you need to keep motivated – the tips below should help...

Runners running through London in Official New Balance kit

Virgin Money London Marathon Training Plans

Got a place in the ballot (hooray!) but now don’t know where to start? Our 16-week Beginner’s Training Plan will guide you right through to the Start Line.

If you’ve run a marathon before and are hoping to better your performance this time, the Improver’s Training Plan is a good choice. 

Finally, our Advanced Training Plan is for really experienced runners who want to push themselves – remember even if you’ve have conquered 26.2 miles several times before, there’s always something new to learn!

Set a goal

One of the most effective ways to improve as a runner is to set targets to work towards. Goals will get you up in the morning, keep you motivated and help you to succeed by giving purpose and meaning to your training programme.

Keep it real

Your goals need to be challenging, but they should also be achievable. Setting unattainable targets will set yourself up to fail, leaving you feeling fed up. Take it step by step and, with a little time and patience, you’ll start to make noticeable progress.

Be specific

Setting detailed goals means you’ll know how much you need to do to reach them, and you’ll get a great sense of achievement when you do. For example, if you’re running in aid of charity decide the minimum amount of money you want to raise. If you’re running to get in shape, decide how much weight you’d like to lose. If you’re trying to better a past performance, set yourself a time goal for the race.

Think short-term

If your main goal is a long way off, try setting smaller, short-term goals along the way. If completing the Virgin Money London Marathon is your ultimate dream, compete in shorter, local running events every few months beforehand to keep your training on track and monitor your progress.

Put pen to paper

Write your goals down and post them up all over your home. Putting them on paper will set them in stone so they’re always in the back of your mind, keeping you focused on why it’s so important to stick to your programme.

Treat yourself

Remember it’s healthy to take days from your training here and there and allow yourself the odd treat. Why not use a day’s rest as a reward for meeting your targets, building it into your programme from the start? Remember, the Virgin Money London Marathon can be as much about having fun as it is about working hard.

More training information

    • Gear Guides

      From footwear to hats and everything in between – all you need to know about essential running kit

    • Nutrition and hydration

      Our Nutrition and hydration section is packed with articles about boosting your performance

    • Training Plans

      Our 16-week Training Plans will guide you right through to the Start Line

    • Gear Guides

      From footwear to hats and everything in between – all you need to know about essential running kit

    • Nutrition and hydration

      Our Nutrition and hydration section is packed with articles about boosting your performance

    • Training Plans

      Our 16-week Training Plans will guide you right through to the Start Line

    • Gear Guides

      From footwear to hats and everything in between – all you need to know about essential running kit

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