The London marathon is much more than a race. It’s an experience and one that everyone should take the opportunity to be part of if they get the chance. Of course “There are other Marathons“, but London is the one that everyone has heard of. It is an event that I truly love and I am fortunate to be running for my 7th time (see more from my London Marathon 2017 blog). Pacing London Marathon is one of the greatest experiences ever and if I have the opportunity to do so I will continue doing so as long as my body is capable.
London Marathon isn’t just about the race, there is a huge build up of nerves and excitement, and this comes to a head at the London Marathon Expo. I have been coming to the Expo for years, long before I was fortunate enough to get a place to run. It is jam packed of all things running, and whether you go to find a good deal, or just gain some inspiration it is fantastic. This year I helped at the New Balance stand in their Run Hub.
What did the Run Hub mean for me? Well in short I spent every morning in the lead up to marathon day chatting to runners. If you know me you know how much I love just chatting about running. It was great to see so many familiar faces each day from the running community, and lots of new faces as well.
Interestingly many had the same questions, which I was more than happy to answer. Most just wanted to find out what to expect on race day, and that’s a big part of the reason why I wrote “what to expect on Marathon race day“. The most common race day question was about where the pacers would be… so the general rule of thumb is: 3:00 start in Pen 1, and we are spaced each pen in 15 minute intervals. So as a sub4 Pacer I start at the back of Pen 5.
So what happens if you have the wrong Pen? Well usually it’s ok to go backwards. I had some people with Pen 2 aiming to run with a 5 hour Pacer. If you are too far forwards then try to come back “before” you cross the start line. If you start to far forward you risk going off to fast, and if your desired Pacer catches you you won’t be at target pace. What if you are to far back? Well this is more of an issue as sometimes you can get further forward but you aren’t supposed to. If you can that’s great, otherwise try to find people around you running at your pace. If you can catch your Pacer before you start that’s great, if you do after you start you will be ahead of target. Whatever you do don’t try racing to get to them as you will have to run faster than you should and you risk tiring yourself out unnecessarily.
I was asked a lot about the heat with so many worrying about the predicted weather. Be realistic with your target, but remember that the heat is just one variable. Rather than automatically doubting yourself try to mitigate through preparation. How will you hydrate? Is it worth taking a hydration vest or carrying water? Remember to drink often and cool yourself with any excess water you have. There is water every mile so no need to worry, but remember to only take one so there is enough for everyone. Also consider your nutrition strategy, if you are taking on more water because it’s hot remember you need to replace your salts and take plenty of electrolytes. Another big factor to mitigate the heat is to maintain a steady pace. If you go off to fast you risk overheating. I wrote more about hydration here.
I had a great time at the expo this year. Not because of all the stalls there, they were great but I didn’t actually get around much. I had a great time chatting with so many of you, so thank you for coming to say hello.
On Thursday I went to the Running Awards with Kirsty for the second year.
Last year I hadn’t been nominated, but this year not only was I nominated, I was shortlisted, and managed to walk away with this.
The Running Awards is a great event where runners (you, me, us) vote in a range of running related categories. I had a great evening with Kirsty, on our anniversary, we don’t get “out out” often. It was great to talk with lots of people from the running community.
I feel so grateful and humbled to have received this award. What’s more, thank you for the hundreds of messages I have received of congratulations, this truly is a fantastic community.