In this beginner's guide to running your first marathon we cover everything from choosing the right race to training methods. You'll also learn how to prepare the night before and what gear you'll need.
On Wednesday 13th March 2019 straight after the ELR Club run please join me for a drink along with a tapering and marathon preparation clinic at Conwayâ€™s corner in the Manor House pub in Wanstead High Street. It will be an opportunity for us to discuss our final marathon preparations and race strategy as well as share our concerns and ideas about our training and race execution in a friendly environment. Even if you are not running a marathon please come along for a drink and chat which is usually enjoyable.
We thoroughly recommend the following races and training runs which have been tried and tested by many members of East London Runners in the past. All distances shown are in miles.
Saturday 29th December 2018 - Start Time 10:30am - ILFORD AC 10mile Cross Country
Hainault Forest (Lambourne Road) 3 laps of an undulating route, often very muddy in parts, comprising tracks and grassland of Hainault Forest. This is an Open race. Individuals can enter in advance and on the day. Relay teams of 3 can enter on the day. Advance online entries here.
Sunday 20th January 2019 - 10.30am. - Benfleet 15
Mud, water, wind, mud, pain. Great organisation and marshalling It has a challenging 15mile, multi terrain course, incorporating sections of the Canvey Island sea wall, and the undulating Hadleigh Downs. Entries here.
Sunday 27th January 2019 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 12 mile Marathon Training run
Download the registration form and bring it with you on the day. There is NO pre-registration. £5.00 cash on the day. Website - http://www.gadevalleyharriers.co.uk/london-marathon-training-runs/
Sunday 24th February 2019 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 17 mile Marathon Training run.
Details and cost as above.
Sunday 3rd March 2019 - 9.00am - Roding Valley Half Marathon.
Very popular local race around the hilly streets of, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill and Woodford. Starts and finishes on the running track at Ashton Playing Fields, Woodford Bridge. Details available here.
Sunday 10th March 2019 - Hillingdon 20 (formerly the Finchley 20) - 9.00am
Bury Street, Ruislip, Middlesex. 4 laps of 5 miles, undulating road, town and rural. Details available here.
Sunday 24th March 2019 - 10am - The Oakley 20
The course consists of one 12 mile loop on undulating country roads around Oakley and North Bedfordshire villages followed by a slightly different second loop of 8 miles. Details available here.
Sunday 24th March 2019 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 20 mile Marathon Training run.
Details as above but cost £10.00 cash on the day
Saturday 30th March 2019- 10am - Orion 15
A challenging off road local race in Epping Forest. Very hilly and often very muddy. A firm favourite of ELR! ***NOTE*** Unsuitable if you can't run sub 10 min miles in tough hilly conditions or cannot follow a trail through the forest. -
Hi. So we are near the end of the road for your spring marathon training. Well done for getting here.
For your tapering my best piece of advice is not to try and make up for any missed training by doing a long run close to your marathon. It will only tire you out and you will effectively have run your marathon before your marathon. Allow for a day per mile to recover from any hard running before your marathon to recover properly. There isnâ€™t one magic run that will get you fitter, it's the accumulative mileage over the training period which will get through your marathon.
For race day, practice taking your gels/nutrition before the race. Decide on your race plan and stick to it as best as you can. Make sure your gear is all packed the day before and allow plenty of time on race day to avoid stress. Focus on your pace and enjoying your race. You deserve that.
Have a fab day and I can't wait to hear all about it but no longer than 30 seconds please!
Hopefully you will all be around the 3/4 point in your training by now. Well done! Give yourself a pat on the back. Marathon training is tough but the end is in sight.
Have you missed a bit of training? Don't worry, all the miles you have been putting in are in your legs. There is no single magic training run which will make a difference come marathon day. The accumulative effect of the training will get you round your marathon. Therefore, try to resist the tendency to over train to make up for any lost sessions as all that will do is tire you out for marathon day and increase your chances of getting injured. After all, you don't want to waste all that training by not being able to run come marathon day do you? It's better to look at revising your time estimate if necessary so you can enjoy the day and be fit to run.
Give yourself a chance to taper properly pre marathon. Doing a 22 miler 2 weeks before won't make you fitter it will just make you fatigued come marathon day.
Have you got a niggle? Don't worry it's common. Take a few days off in the week if necessary and get treatment if it's needed. Your long runs are the most important.
Please come along to a marathon tapering, preparation and race strategy clinic at the Manor House Pub, Wanstread High Street on 14th March 2018 to discuss anything you like about your running and your marathon.
Please feel free to contact me on social media or on the webmaster e.mail.
Watch out for a further update next month
I have been asked to follow up from the clinic we had at the Manor House Pub the other week regarding our marathon/endurance training.
Marathon training is a subjective thing. What's good for some is no good for others.
The most important thing is not to go too mad from the outset and get injured. If you get to the start line with some decent training you can still enjoy your marathon and adjust your time target if you need to.
Don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% and every 3 to 4 weeks drop your mileage down, perhaps with a race or fast parkrun at the end of the easier week to see where you are.
Long runs are the key part of your training. Increase the time on your feet each week on your long runs by about 10/15 minutes. Don't worry about covering precise mileage. Long runs should be done at around 30 to 60 seconds below your target marathon pace so you don't burn out and/or get injured.
If possible, in order of importance try and do these sessions each week (apart from easy weeks).
1. Long run
2. Track/speed work
3. Tempo run
4. Hill training
5. Easy runs if you have the time/energy!
Try and do some of your long runs off road if possible.
Work out a plan but be prepared to adapt it if you need to. Try not to obsess too much! Enjoy your marathon journey.
I can help with a plan if you wish. Please feel free to contact me on social media or via the webmaster e.mail address.
We can recommend the following races/training runs which have been tried and tested by many members of East London Runners in the past. All distances shown are in miles.
1. Saturday 30th December 2017 - Start Time 10:30am *** please note earlier start time *** - ILFORD AC 10 mile Cross Country - Race For Kev at Hainault Forest (Lambourne Road). 3 laps of an undulating route comprising tracks and grassland of Hainault Forest. This is an Open race but will also include the Ilford AC Club Championships.
2. Sunday 21st January 2018 - 10.30am. - Benfleet 15."Mud, water, wind, mud, pain. Great organisation and marshalling". It has a challenging 15 mile, multi-terrain course, incorporating sections of the Canvey Island sea wall, and the undulating Hadleigh Downs.
3. Sunday 28th January 2018 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 12 mile Marathon Training run. Please download this REGISTRATION FORM and bring it with you on the day. There is NO pre-registration. £5.00 cash on the day.
4. Sunday 25th February 2018 - 9.00am - Roding Valley Half Marathon. Very popular local race around the hilly streets of, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill and Woodford. Starts and finishes on the running track at Ashton Playing Fields, Woodford Bridge.
5. Sunday 25th February 2018 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 17 mile Marathon Training run. Details and cost as above.
6. Sunday 18th March 2018 - Finchley 20 - 9.00am. - Bury Street, Ruislip, Middlesex. 4 laps of 5 miles, undulating road, town and rural.
7. Sunday 18th March 2018 - 10am - The Oakley 20. - The course consists of one 12 mile loop on undulating country roads around Oakley and North Bedfordshire villages followed by a slightly different second loop of 8 miles.
8. Saturday 24th March 2018 - 10am - Orion 15. A challenging off road local race in Epping Forest. Very hilly and often very muddy. A firm favourite of ELR!
9. Sunday 25th March 2018 - 9am/9.30am - Gade Valley Harriers 20 mile Marathon Training run. Details as above but cost £10.00. Please download this REGISTRATION FORM
Please check the Latest News page of this website or our Group page on Facebook a few days before each activity/run to check that it is on/full details etc.
Monday - Track night. See Track Section of this website. Suitable for all levels from Beginners to experienced runners.
Tuesday -Ad hoc marathon training runs, typically 10k'sh in length from Wanstead Leisure Centre at 7pm. Usually start in January.
Wednesday - Club Night run from WLC at 7pm, typically 10k, 8k and 5k in distance.
Saturday morning parkrun. At 9am FREE timed 5k runs/races at Wanstead Flats (Harrow Road), Valentines Park, Ilford and many other venues across London, the UK and other Countries. Suitable for all levels from beginners to experienced runners.
First timers register at
Saturday mornings - Ad hoc Marathon Training runs (see Sunday below).
Sunday mornings - Spring Marathon training runs. Typically 10 - 22 Mile Forest runs/ road run, building mileage up each week. - Most often in Epping Forest but sometimes in Hainault Forest. We meet at different locations each week as published on this website and our Group page on Facebook 3 or 4 days in advance. There are often 2 or 3 groups running at different paces, e.g. fast, medium and slow paces.
In addition we Race in the Chingford League and Sunday Cross Country League race series throughout the winter. Full details are on the Cross Country/Chingford League pages of this website. There is a no race entry fee payable by the individual Club member for each of these races.
East London Runners
Wanstead Leisure CentreRedbridge Lane WestWansteadLondonE11 2JZ
Monday: Track NightWednesday: Club RunSaturday: parkrunSunday: Long Run
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