Enter marathon season. If you're training for The London Marathon, you're six weeks away from race day. And there's no one better placed to bring you the things you need to know, than the man who runs marathons in his sleep: Max Willcocks.
Our favourite ultra runner is another breed of human – he runs over 93 miles in 12 hours without stopping for fun, and you can read more about him with our Q&A here. But this post is about you. And it's the first blog post in our marathon series – stay turned for three to follow, covering nutrition, tapering your training, and mentally getting through the race.
Even if your training schedule says you've got a hard run and you don't feel like doing it, just getting out a doing a gentle run is better than nothing. If you have to change your sessions to make them easier, then do an easy run, and make up for it in the week.
When it comes to marathon running, not all food groups are created equal. Increasing your carbohydrate percentage in your diet from 60% to 80% can double your glycogen stores in your muscles. Carbs aren't the enemy – even top marathon athletes will have a high carb diet, every day. Don't feel like because you're not training you don't need high carbs – you need to refuel.
Spending as little as five minutes each run focusing on your technique will have a dramatic improvement on your efficiency. It's worth seeking out advice, reading about technique and speaking to people about it. There's nothing wrong with heel striking, but it does reduce your efficiency as a runner – and although your cadence is very personal, 180 steps a minute at race pace is optimal.
When you're in high volume training, put the box set on hold and try to get to bed early. Recovery makes all the difference – and also make sure you're eating within an hour to an hour and a half after training, as you're a lot more likely to replace glycogen stores and recover that way.
Marathon journeys can be personal, but it's easier done with someone else, and you're more likely to stick to a run if someone else is counting on you. I'd also recommend using Nike Plus, Garmin or Suunto to collect data, and use it to help measure and improve your performance.
Want to keep up to date with Max’s adventures? Stay in touch via his Facebook page here.