Amending training ready for an October Marathon

Keep Calm - Chin up - and Carry on Training

The word disappointed doesn’t even come close to how you are all feeling right now.

The breaking News on Friday the 13th (of all the days) that the London Marathon has been postponed until October 4th due to the Coronavirus outbreak has no doubt ruined your weekend and given you a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

Gutted, upset, deflated, sad, dejected, angry and, let’s be honest - mightily pissed off are just a few words that have likely crossed your mind as you let the news sink in - and you are justified to feel mortified about the decision.

After weeks and months of training in, for the most, was miserable wet conditions, you now find yourself with all this incredible running fitness that you can’t use or “show off” to your friends and the world in April.

So, the question is - what do you do now and what training should you be doing to get you ready for the Marathon on the new date of -

Sunday 4th October 2020.

First and foremost

Before I offer advice on how you should now approach your training, please remember that unprecedented Public Health Crisis we are currently going through should always be at the forefront of your mind when negotiating the upcoming months of training.

As the advice and guidance on how to manage the virus is constantly changing, please visit Public Health England frequently for all the up to date information on how to look after yourselves and others.

The Marathon is of course important for you and your Chairty, but please do not forget the importance of your own health and the health of others.

Please heed all of the advice and guidance given by the UK Government - and if that means self isolation, then so be it.

If you are told to self isolate, there is still plenty you can do to keep your body conditioned for running.

The GH Training Video Library is packed full of foam rolling, stretching and strengthening exercises - all of which can be done at home, so check out the videos to help your muscles stay stretched, strong and run ready!

Run a Virtual Marathon

Although some of you might be secretly happy that the marathon has been postponed (following a losing fight against injury and lack of training) others might be in the shape your lives and well on track to nail the 26.2 miles on April 26th.

Thanks to a wide of Apps, smart phones and running gadgets, Virtual races have grown in popularity in recent years - and now is as good a time as any to do one.

A Virtual race can be run anywhere you like - you just need to track your run on your phone, fit-bit, smart watch or GPS running watch.

By entering a Virtual Race now, you can still focus on the goal of running 26.2 miles on April 26th.

It has the huge advantage of incentivising you to keep training and do the distance - you then get at least some satisfaction that you’ve run 26.2miles - PLUS you’ll then know what to expect when you run the actual marathon in October.

There’s a good chance your Chairty is in the process of setting one up - exclusively for your fellow runners, so get hold of the Events Team and get your name down.

If you’re artistic (and a bit of show off) why not give Strava Art a go - and draw a picture of the route of your run.

Some runners might, very understandably, may feel a little anxious about tackling a 26.2 mile run by themselves without the medical support that you’d have at an organised marathon. Running that far is of course taxing and there is a (small) chance you could fall unwell.

If you are desperate to do the virtual marathon, the best advice to ensure you are safe is to:

  • Always carry a fully charged mobile phone with you
  • Tell people where you are going are what time you plan to be back.
  • Encourage friends and family ( snack and fluids) to cheer you on at different points on your chosen route.
  • Run the Virtual marathon with other runners

Again, the advice from Public Health England changes all the time and if their advice suggests avoiding any of the above, please heed that advice.

Amending your Training Plan

Whether you enter a Virtual Race or not, you still have a good few months before the day the Marathon.

With this being the case, you’re going to have change your training regime over the coming weeks to ensure you get the right balance of maintaining a good level of fitness - but not overloading the body and “peaking” too soon before the race in October.

There are alot of changes you’ll need to make, so to avoid overloading you with too much information for now, I’ll give you the main points below and then follow it up with a series of vlogs in the forthcoming weeks ahead.

Reduce your mileage

Many of you will be up to running 16-18 miles+ on your long runs at the moment and although some people are able to handle these long distances regularly, many of you will find it physically, socially and mentally difficult - and potentially damaging.

Look to reduce the distance of your long runs AND total weekly mileage to more manageable distances.

This will of course vary from person to person, but for most people, a long weekend run of 8 miles or so, with a couple of midweek 4-6 mile runs will be about right. This will keep keep your fitness ticking over and your legs conditioned - without putting an excessive amount of stress on your body.

Keep up your Pre-Hab

Now is the perfect time to give niggles and injuries time to heal.

Get into a good “injury prevention” routine by using a foam roller, stretching and strengthening on a regular basis.

So many people dismiss injury prevention advice at the start of marathon training - so for those of you who did dismiss the advice and are now nursing an injury, hopefully you’ll now realise why it’s so important.

You all have access to the Injury Hub, Vlog Hub and Video Library so use the resources and follow the advice in the videos.

The Video Library is always being updated, so make sure you bookmark it and visit regularly. Ask your Events Team for the Login.

If you have a chronic injury, it would be wise to book an appointment with a physiotherapist so that you can get your injury diagnosed and fixed - ready for when the training starts to ramp up again in June.


Hydration strategy when training for a marathon is always important - but now that you’ll be clocking up all of your miles in the summer months, the importance of hydration has just become even more important.

Fluid loss varies massively from runner to runner, but it’s not uncommon to lose 4-5lbs of fluid during a 60 min run in the heat - that’s over 4 pints!

I will give you more advice and guidance on how to best stay hydrated during runs in the heat, but for now get used to frequent hydration when running - it’s going to be a big part of training.

Stay positive, stay safe and take care

These are unprecedented times so please be careful and remember what is important.

Yes, the marathon is hugely important to you, your Charity and the people you are fundraising for - but your health and your family’s health is of the utmost importance.

Please heed the advice of the authorities at Public Health England and do everything you can to avoid catching and passing on this nasty virus.

Despite your obvious disappointment that the marathon has been postponed - try and look on the bright side that it’s postponed and not cancelled.

Cinderella went to the Ball - you my friend WILL RUN THE LONON MARATHON!!

Keep an eye out for emails from your Events Teams with more information and advice from me on how to handle the upcoming months of training.

The Injury Hub and Vlog Hub will be updated regularly, so head over to your GH Training Charity Running Hub (subscribing Charities only) where you can access all these resources and more.