As specialists in charity sportswear for fundraisers, we know it’s the time of the year where training begins to ramps up.
With only 54 days until the 2020 London Marathon, we call upon the expertise of our very own marathon runner, Mike Jeavons, to provide first time marathoners with a number of tips for nutrition, tapering and equipment.
“First things first, it’s important not to stress. There’s still over fifty days to go”. explains Mike, a member of Worcester Athletics club. “The odd day missed here or there won’t make much of a difference.”
“Stick to your initial training plan of building your training up before the tapering period. The biggest thing is to remember your pace. When it comes to your long runs and the start of the event, don’t be quicker than you need to be. You will regret this later on. In short, stick to your training pace and don’t over-extend. The race doesn’t start until mile 20; that’s when the real battle begins.”
As Mike continued to explain, “A lot of the race is about mentality. People say that the training helps deal with the physical side of it; putting it all together for the main event is something that you wouldn’t have trained for. Eliud Kipchoge runs with a smile on his face, as it helps him relax and work through the pain barriers”.
It’s important to taper properly.
Mike let his feelings about tapering very clear. “Tapering is a nightmare for every runner. Everybody is different when it comes to tapering. Before you begin tapering, make sure you practice your final runs wearing the kit and shoes you’ll be wearing for the event”.
“It’s true – tapering feels counter-intuitive and seems to be against what you should be doing; reducing the number of miles when you think you should be increasing. Trust me, from experience, your body needs this time to recover and be in the best shape for the 26.2 mile adventure”.
Nutrition on race-day is heavily important.
“Practice your race-day nutrition (gel & energy shot usage as well as breakfast) on your long runs” explained Mike, “so you can get into the required routine that works for you and your body. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a nutrition expert, but I have found a solution that seems to work for me when it comes to race day”.
“In the week leading up to the marathon, I up the number of hours I sleep, trying to grab an extra hour here or there. I find it really difficult to sleep on the evening before the marathon, probably down to nerves and adrenaline beginning to kick in. I try to eat a decent meal late-afternoon or early evening prior to the race, which usually consists of pasta and chicken, keeping myself hydrated (with water, not beer!)”
“On race morning, on the rush across London to the bag-drop, I try to push down a bagel with peanut butter (due to easy digestion for later on). With the nerves & adrenaline beginning to peak, eating will be difficult. My breakfast will be eaten three hours before the event to absorb the energy and nutrients, and to ensure it’s not sat on my stomach”.
2020 will be Mike’s fourth London Marathon. In 2019, he set a personal best of 2:44:50, and is looking to match (or better it) this year.
Mike went on to explain that age is a bit of factor here. “As I am now 46, a personal best marathon time begins to look like a distant dream. However, my training and routines are still at a very comfortable level. Who knows what may happen – weather and track conditions will come into play, but I am aiming for a similar time as last year”.
Finally, some general advice.
“The London Marathon is a great event”, gleamed Mike.
“You’ve been training for months and keep going. Don’t give in and don’t ruin it. Make sure you take in the atmosphere. London as a running route is beyond amazing, with 750,000 people cheering you on and motivating. Whether you’re taking part in the race as part of a club or fundraising for a special cause, remember not to hyperextend your ability. Aim for consistency and comfort, and don’t push your body behind the boundaries of what’s possible”.
“If you can, put your name on your vest. When it begins to get hard, listen out for the people cheering on your name and driving you towards the finish line”.