Training Advice


The following tips are based on experience and research by club members. Please however always listen to your own body – not everything works for everyone. If in doubt, please seek medical advice.

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The following video is worth watching - it may save a life:


One Day Carbo Loading (by Henry Szwinto)

I can proudly say that the expert is about 5 years behind my daughter, Penny, who studied this 1 day carbo loading strategy in her thesis at Exeter University and it is essentially the same as what I do now. I can categorically say it has served me well on race day making me feel full of energy and ready to go and I don't feel bloated the way I did when I carbo loaded for 3 days. The intense exercise the day before is designed to open up glycogen receptor sites in the muscle. It may worry some people but I have never had ill effects from this short bout of intense exercise and it has never seemed to leave any detrimental effect for race day. For less lean club members it may be better to use 12g/kg of lean body mass, as I do, (use some fat % scales to work that out) rather than the 10g/kg the Australian study used as that may have been for well trained triatheletes in the study. It's definitely worth considering and I can add, at this stage, that it is essentially good nutritional advice/instruction from my daughter that has enabled me to train for longer at a higher quality and more importantly recover quickly and this has resulted in the 12 or so lifetime PBs I have run since Penny taught me how to fuel up properly.

Twelve Tips for marathon success

As the London will be looming for certain lucky people ? or any Marathon for that matter the following is pretty useful :-
  • Fix a target time * – This must be reachable and challenging. Some guides used are your 10km time x 5 minus 5 mins or your half-marathon time doubled plus 15 mins. This is a guide only.
  • Train at your target time pace weekly – If your target is 2:37:12 , that’s 6mins/mile. Start with 9 miles (one-third marathon) and run the distance in 54mins. If the aim is 3: 3:24 (7mins/mile), run 9 miles in 63mins, and so on. Once you feel comfortable with pace, add a mile regularly at the same pace until you reach 18 miles (two-thirds marathon). This might be an extra mile a week, fortnight or month.
  • Get used to being on your feet for the duration of your target time – If your target time is 4 hours, you have a tough time ahead doing this bit! However, this run is not at marathon pace, it can be 2mins/mile slower. Thus, a 3 hour potential marathoner running slowly may only cover 20 miles in 3 hours. Getting used to the time on your feet is important.
  • Train at your 10km speed regularly – If you accept the 10km indicator to your marathon time in (1) above, this is an automatic thing to do. You can either race 10km regularly or run 10km fast in training, or do 3 x 2 miles.
  • Train at your 5km speed regularly – The 5km distance is 80 per cent aerobic, not so far away from the 99 per cent of the marathon. One good session is called Variable Pace – run 400m at your best 5km time, then go straight into the next 400m at your target marathon speed. For a 3 hour target, this might be a lap of 93 secs followed by one at 105 secs. Do as many consecutive laps this way until the times cannot be reached. Take a rest, and start again. The aim is to do 10km non stop this way.
  • Train at your 3km speed regularly – The 3km is 60 per cent aerobic, often called a fast aerobic distance. Attempt several 1,500s at your best 3km speed with 3mins recovery. This will aid your 5K speed which, in turn, will help your 10km time to come down.
  • Eat low glycemic carbohydrates – These are better converted to glycogen. Glucose is high glycemic (100). Fructose is low (20). Eat soya beans, kidney beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, whole wheat spaghetti, oats, brown rice, buckwheat pancakes and whole wheat bread.
  • Eat high glycemic carbohydrates immediately after training – This should be done within 30 minutes of stopping training. A glucose drink, bananas, raisins and honey in tea. From then on, eat low glycemic carbs.
  • Maintain potassium levels – Research has shown that as the summer months pass, the potassium levels of distance runners declines via increased sweating. Drink pure orange juice with all meals also eating bananas also helps to maintain these levels.
  • Race once a month up to the marathon – Ideally, this can be 3km, 5km, 10km, 16km and 21km. This is a psychological boost to your marathon effort. The Boscombe 5k series, Hants XC and RR10 Series are ideal for this psychological boost and also helps to get your pace right.
  • Allocate yourself a race ratio of 51 per cent and 49 per cent – That means run the first 13 miles slightly slower than your target, and the next slightly faster. Example only - That’s 92mins/13.1miles and 88mins/13.1miles for a 3 hour target or 122mins/13.1 miles and 118mins/13.1 for a 4 hour target.
  • Water boosting gets good results – drink extra water 2 days before racing. For 4 hours before the race drink 8oz every 15mins to within 30mins of the start. Drink on the run whenever possible. Energy drinks help as long as you are use to them, or failing that water them down. Don’t forget that drink early on the run as when you feel like drinking it is usually to late.
Please note: The finishing time will not be that important to first time marathon runners, but just finish the course comfortably will be the aim. Ideally you should follow a perscribed training schedule. Item 1 is purely a target and not written in stone.
Oh on a serious note I forgot the most important thing plenty of Guinness for recovery for that psychological boost after the race ?