If you’ve taken the plunge and signed yourself up for a spot in the London Marathon, firstly: congratulations! But once all the excitement and anticipation has died down, you need to think about your training regime. It’s not going to be an easy task, especially if you’ve never run long distance before, but if you put the right measures in place and stick to your training  plan, you should put yourself in a good position to run on the day.

Get the right kit

Head along to a specialist sports shop to pick up a proper running kit. While a tracksuit might be OK for jogging around the local park, the London Marathon is a serious event which shouldn’t be underestimated. Your kit should be made from a breathable fabric and should fit well. The running shoes are one of the most important aspects of your kit, and you should choose a style which fits you perfectly without any rubbing or extra space.

Start small

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or relatively early on in your long distance career, it’s crucial that you don’t overexert yourself at the start of your training. Start small and work your way up. Start at a level you’re comfortable with, and when you start to consistently beat your times, increase the distance in small increments. Don’t start training with full 26 mile runs, or you’ll probably find yourself exhausted and disheartened.

Tackle any injuries immediately

Whether it’s a pre-existing injury or something brought on by the training, you need to get it sorted out as soon as possible. Take yourself off to visit a physiotherapist who will be able to help you get your body back into full working order. What seems like a small injury at the time can worsen dramatically under the stress of the training, so work with your physiotherapist who can help with sports-specific injuries and other medical conditions affecting the way you train and run.

Run for yourself

The London Marathon, for most people, isn’t a competition. You will need to accept that you most likely won’t come first, so you should, instead, be focusing on finishing. You will be running for a charity, so your aim should be to cross the finish line, no matter how long it takes. Don’t worry about how fast other people are running; simply focus on your own ability and think only about doing your best. People will be extremely proud whether you finish first or absolute last.

Claire Holland is in training for her fourth London Marathon, looking to set a new personal best having stepped up her fitness regime in recent weeks.

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