Reigate local Tim Armitage shares his top tips on how he fitted the required training for the London Marathon into his busy life.
Earlier this year I ran the London Marathon on behalf of local charity Stripey Stork, finishing in 3hrs 29mins. Being a dad of three young boys and with a busy job in London, I had to be both super organised and motivated to fit the training in and not let it impact too much on the rest of the family.
These are the top seven tips that worked for me:
- Find a training plan: the Runner’s World website has some good ones for both beginners and more experienced runners. Don’t worry about sticking to it religiously but use it as a rough guide, especially when it comes to the length of each week’s longer run. Listen to your body – if you feel like you need an extra rest day when your plan says you should be training, then take it.
- Fit the mid-week runs into your schedule: it wasn’t feasible for me to run before work as I start quite early, so I often ran at lunchtimes. I would also often get off the train a couple of stops early and run the rest of the way home, from Coulsdon South to Reigate. Those were my hardest runs as I was tired after working all day, but it was an effective use of time to build the run into my commute.
- Do the longer weekend runs early in the morning: you can practice your pre-race routine (Weetabix, a banana and a coffee about 1.5hrs before running works for me), and it gets it out of the way before family life takes over.
- Mix up your training: intervals and/or hill training are really effective. Did you know there’s a running track in Merstham? I didn’t until I started training for the marathon, but it’s a great place to train. You’re actually capable of running a lot faster than you think you can, and intervals are the best way to test how fast your legs can move. Plus, adding variety to your training stops it getting too repetitive.
- Think about why you’re running: I found it very motivating (and distracting!) to think about ways to fundraise while I was out running. I think that counts as multi-tasking, right?! If you work for a company, do they have a fund matching scheme? Any events you could organise in the run up to the race to help drum up support?
- Train at home: it’s not always feasible to go out for a run or get to the gym, especially if you’ve got little ones at home. But there’s plenty you can do at home. There are lots of free apps that can help you with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which can be done in the comfort of your own home without any equipment. I use one called 7 Minutes, which strings together 7 minute sets of 30 second exercises with 10 second rest periods in between. A couple sets of that on days when you’re not able to train outside will make a big difference over time!
- Don’t take the training too seriously: you’re doing an awesome thing by raising money for a great charity, and after the dust settles on the event itself you’ll feel more proud of the money you have raised than the time you got!
Thank you Tim!
Stripey Stork are one of the Run Reigate charity partners this year. You can find out more about the amazing work they do in our local community here and about running for them at this year’s Run Reigate. Alternatively email [email protected] for more details.