Logo

It was wonderful to watch the 36th Virgin Money London Marathon. Congrats and well done to all the 39,000+ finishers, wear your medals with pride.

As coaches, we want the best for our athletes. Especially the last couple of weeks prior to the London Marathon can be nerve wrecking. Is the athlete injured? Has the athlete done enough long runs? Has the athlete done enough prolonged paced runs near target marathon pace? Is my athlete ready for the big day? What is the athlete’s state of mind? These are common questions occupying the coach’s mind. Glad to report that all RunUrbanites managed to get around from start at Blackheath to the finish at The Mall. Despite a cold and missing couple of days training, Lizzie bounced back during the taper phase and managed to achieve her goal of running her first marathon in sub 4 hours! Many runners, especially around February/March are affected by the flu or a cold. Runners preparing for the marathon during the colder months of the year need to be extra cautious during the time of intense training not to catch a cold. Lizzie didn’t just trained for the marathon. To give her marathon training more purpose and meaning, Lizzie ran for

Glad to report that all RunUrbanites managed to get around the course from the start at Blackheath to the finish at The Mall. This year, we had 4 runners at all a level of abilities at the London Marathon. We always make sure that we not only focus on the runners at the sharp end and that we always have runners who run for charity or run a marathon for the first time. This year we had sub 4:00 hrs, sub 3:30 hrs, sub 3:00 and sub 2:30 hrs. A wide range of abilities and each athlete had their own personalised training programme. When write training schedules we do not work off a fixed template. Individual circumstances vary a lot, with many leading very busy lives, trying to maximise their time available for training and fit in a balanced marathon training programme.

Despite suffering from a cold and missing couple of days training, Lizzie bounced back during the taper phase and managed to achieve her goal of running her first marathon in sub 4 hours! Many runners, especially around February/March are affected by the flu or a cold. Some catch a cold early in the cycle, while others almost make it through February and catch a cold in March. Runners preparing for the marathon during the colder months of the year need to be extra cautious during the time of intense training not to catch a cold. It is worth to mention, Lizzie didn’t just trained for the London marathon. To give her marathon training more purpose and meaning, Lizzie ran for Cancer Research UK and raised vital funds for research into cancer. A fantastic achievement. Here is what Lizzie had to say …


“Thanks so much! Can’t believe it, so happy I made it under 4 hours, just!! Thanks so much for all your training and help, I definitely couldn’t have done it without you! I will certainly be recommending you to any friends that get marathon places for next year, I know quite a few people trying for a place! Also raised nearly £5500 for Cancer Research which is an even better accomplishment, so overall very pleased. Such a fantastic experience!”


Mark had an ambitious target and made fast improvements in training. His circumstances are quite unique. During the week he works in the City of London while he spends the weekend with the family in Northern Ireland, so we had to make sure we design a programme, which takes travel and training time into consideration. Unfortunately, towards the end of the marathon specific training cycle, Mark suffered from shin splints. In order to overcome the shin splints, we had to stop running. Instead of running Mark kept up his training with cycling. With two weeks to go until the London Marathon, it did not look too promising that Mark would be able to run. For example, we had to stop a workout.  Extra rest, icing and treating the shins got him to the start line. Glad to hear that he enjoyed the race and managed to finish the marathon. Mark was hoping to run a sub 3:30, a 5:00 / km. His training was on track and he managed to run the 1/2 marathon and up to 30k at the target marathon pace. Unfortunately, due to the injury he had to be realistic and revise his goals.

Jess started to follow a structured training programme in December. Initially recovered from an Achilles injury, she responded well to the training and set a new PB in the 1/2 marathon and 20-mile race, suddenly her goal became more attainable. Today she lowered her previous PB (short Manchester course + 2 mins) off more than 11 minutes and had the best race of her life, only 1-minute positive split! With her time of 3:00 hours she will be qualified already for the 2017 Virgin London Marathon. While missing out on breaking through the sub 3 hours barrier Jess finished only a few seconds behind the third scorer for her club (Clapham Chasers) and missed out on a team bronze medal. Better luck next time.


“Thank you so much for all your support and brilliant advice this past few months. I would never have knocked 10 mins off my PB without you!”


Last but not least, Karl was running at the sharp end, chasing a sub 2:30. Very promising at half way point, lost a little bit the slower 2nd half, despite going strong. He finished in a new PB 2h 33 mins and came 3rd in his age group, a mighty achievement and he holds the 4th fastest marathon time in the UK in his age group.  There is no doubt that Karl is a high calibre distance runner and he can pride himself among the strongest Master runners in the country. During the build up, he managed to set a PB in the 1/2 marathon, the 2nd fastest time in his age group. Throughout the last couple of months, he and others showed a great training/work ethic, well impressed, a joy to work with.


“I think I had the conditioning overall to threaten 2.30 so thank you for your support as I would not have got a PB today with how I felt without that programme you set. Thanks again – it has been a pleasure meeting you.”


From time to time, we may not get the end result we want, though it is the journey that matters and all of them learnt a lot and gained a bit of extra experience. From a coaching experience, we thoroughly enjoyed coaching Lizzy, Mark, Jess and Karl. Well done! If you are thinking of running the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon then please get in touch towards the end of the year, ideally in November. When training for a marathon, instead of the usual 12 weeks programmes, we recommend 15 or even 20 weeks programmes, ideally when planning to run a marathon in April athletes should start thinking building a foundation from November onwards.

Categories: 1:1 Coaching, Article, News

Comments are closed.