Running tips for London Marathon

31 January 2009


If you’re one of this year's brave London Marathon runners or perhaps taking part in another charity run, you’re no doubt pounding the country’s streets in preparation. But there’s one bugbear all marathon runners and walkers have in common – the pesky blister.

Watch our animation for easy to follow guidance on the causes and treatment of blisters, along with tips on how you can prevent blisters in time for your run.

And, to keep your energy levels up, dietitian Azmina Govindji has some marathon running tips to help you stay the course.

Energy-boosting tips for runners

The biggest problem in how to run a marathon is dehydration, explains Azmina. "To help keep you hydrated, drink plenty of fluids before the marathon run and keep some drink to hand so you can reach it whenever you need it," she says. "Don't wait until you feel thirsty."

Azmina offers some useful energy-boosting running tips to help prepare your body before a run and keep you going on the day:

  • It may surprise you to know that you need to keep a check on your diet long before you start training. So start drinking plenty of fluids, don’t try out any weird no-carb diets and eat enough to fulfil your energy needs.
  • Get into the habit of eating enough carbohydrates. The more you exercise, the more carbs you need. Have a meal containing low glycaemic index (GI) carbs two to three hours before the run. Try wholegrain breads with peanut butter, or porridge or muesli with sliced banana.
  • Glycogen is your body’s store of carbs. You’ll be using up your store of glycogen during a marathon, so you want to prevent them becoming low while you run. Have a pasta supper the night before, but don’t make it fatty with lots of cheese – choose a tomato-based sauce instead. On the morning of the run, have a high-carb breakfast.
  • Eat a banana a couple of hours before you start, and during the run top up with quickly absorbed carbs, like sweets and sports drinks.
  • Specially formulated sports drinks help to replenish electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which you will have been using up during a marathon.
  • After the run, your muscles will be building up their store of glycogen twice as fast as normal, so you need to reach for the carbs again. If you’re feeling a little light headed, top up your fluid with a sugary sports drink.
  • As soon as you feel like eating, have a healthy sandwich that gives you protein and carbs – tuna or egg salad, for example – and refresh yourself with some juicy citrus fruit.
  • Finally, give yourself a huge pat on the back for all your efforts on the day – whatever distance you succeeded in running!