With less than 100 days to go until the Virgin Money London Marathon, now is the time to get serious about your training if you haven't already! Training to run 26.2 miles can be a daunting experience but with commitment, savvy training and recovery, you can be confident that you will make it across the finish line, no matter how long it takes.
We caught up with Nadya Fairweather, the personal trainer who helped Princess Beatrice become the first royal to complete the London Marathon, to get her top training tips.
Speaking about training the young royal, Nadya said: "It was great because she was focused. It helped that she did it as a group, so they did their running together and I did the bits in between. We did sprint training, hill training and strength work. We were training at this time of year so it was the worst. It's dark, it's wet, sometimes it's snowing and cold, but she never cancelled a session."
Nadya continued: "She was always there. We trained in snow, we trained in rain, we trained in mud, we trained in everything. She was committed. There was no, 'Well if I'm not ready I won't run.' She said, 'I will be ready, and I will run this.' It was never a question of not doing it. She was a dream client because she would just do it."
Nadya's top tips:
The key to getting ready for a marathon is writing a plan and getting the miles in:
Starting well in advance helps as it means you can start at a very low mileage and work your way up. If you struggle with running don't be afraid to get the miles in but alternate between running and walking. Buy a new pair of running shoes at the beginning of your training so that you work them in and get used to them. You can then retire them after your big race. Never buy a new pair of shoes the week before! There’s nothing worse than trying to run with blisters before you've even begun.
You should mix your training up to avoid getting injured:
One session can be a short distance but done quickly. Try sprint work. When you first begin walk between the sprints. As you get more conditioned do longer sprints and a slow jog back to recover between each one. Hill work is beneficial for getting those big legs muscles to drive you up the hill. This will stand you in good stead later on when you need that extra push to get you to the finish line.
Try and add core work into one of your sessions a week. Mix in a swim session once a week. It's still a full body workout, plus it pushes you aerobically. However, it takes the pressure off the joints so you can give your knees and hips a break.
Run no matter what the weather offers:
You have to learn how to dress and be ready for anything so that by the time your race day arrives you will know exactly how much or how little clothing you will need to wear to keep you at the right temperature. You don't want to wear too much and then have to strip off jackets and carry them for the 26 miles.
Eat before you run:
Don't run on an empty tank especially when you start getting into your longer distances. Try and drink and eat well before. Avoid alcohol during your training. It's toxic and makes you lethargic. Be conscious of your water intake and make sure you are hydrating enough each day.
Enjoy the experience:
If it is your first one, don’t worry about breaking any records or trying to beat a friend's time from last year. Focus on each mile, and enjoy the training process and most especially revel in your achievement afterwards.
The key is to sign up for something else soon after so that you keep your fitness levels up. As a trainer it's so deflating to see someone work so hard to achieve finishing their first marathon to then taking their foot off the pedal to do nothing again for six months. I find the key is to then sign up for a 5km race very soon afterwards as it will feel so easy it will boost the confidence. Then continue from there.