Railings and crowds lined the streets of London, the area outside Buckingham Palace was full of people and the Mall was closed to all but a select few. For once, this had nothing to do with the Royal Wedding and everything to do with this year’s Virgin London Marathon.
A couple of members of Team Grazia, were lucky/ crazy enough to join the 37,000 strong group of runners snaking their way through London to cover 26.2 miles, all on a hot spring day. It’s one of the biggest fundraising events of its kind raising over £450 million since it began in 1981 and also forms part of the World Marathon Majors competition.
As well as the huge sense of personal achievement you feel having completed such an epic run, both Jo and Lucinda used the opportunity to raise money for charities close to their hearts as did several other Grazia favourites who ran this year including Henry Holland, Agyness Deyn and David Gandy who all formed part of the Oxglam squad on behalf of Oxfam.
As anyone who has ever run a marathon can testify, it’s no mean feat so here are our top tips if you feel inspired by the events of this weekend.
Training is absolutely key to marathon running and it’s essential to ensure you put in enough miles beforehand so that your body learns to cope with the rigorous stress of running such a long distance. You need to find the right training plan for you based on your previous running history, your fitness level, how many times a week you are able to train and if there is a particular finish time you would like to aim for.
As the London Marathon takes place in April, a large proportion of the training takes place during the winter months and let’s face it, no-one enjoys running in cold and wet weather. You may want to supplement your running with some time in the gym – although treadmill running requires a slightly different technique it’s a really effective tool for interval training which helps to build your overall fitness levels and improve stamina.
Both Jo and Lucinda used the brand new facilities at our local Nuffield Health Centre which, as well as a state of the art gym and pool, also has personal trainers and physiotherapists on hand to give advice when things get really tough. Being able to watch a spot of tv while you run certainly makes hauling yourself out of bed when it’s still dark outside that much easier whilst the post-marathon physiotherapy and personal training sessions which incorporated massage and stretching certainly helped our girls to get back on their feet and into their heels that much quicker!
Never underestimate the benefits of having an excellent kit to run in. Fabrics need to be breathable and wick away sweat to keep you cool and dry when you run. It’s also absolutely crucial to invest in a pair of proper running shoes – find somewhere that offers gait analysis which looks at the biomechanics of how you run and which will enable you to choose a shoe that compensates for any quirks in your running style such as a stability shoe for overpronators or extra cushioning if it’s required. And, you may not be in your heels but that doesn’t mean you can’t look super stylish while you run. Nike’s range of sportswear have some fabulous styles to flatter all shapes and some really hot colours so you can keep colour blocking even while you run! Even their range of footwear come in some great shades so coordinate with the rest of your kit or you can personalise a pair however you want in their NIKEiD suite.
Do whatever you can to keep yourself motivated. While we can’t dispute the physical impact of running a marathon, the battle to get round is also a mental one.
Running for charity is a very worthy motivation tool, and the excuse of shopping for kit suits Grazia girls just perfectly!
Music is brilliant too, but the ipod truly comes into it’s own on a long training run and down the home straight, and it’s usually the case that the more embarrassing the tune, the better!
But the best thing is just seeing how far you can go. Completing the marathon is a fantastic achievement but just getting through the training is feat in itself. One of the best ways to start and more importantly, keep going, is to track your progress – it’s really easy with a sports watch and if it’s good enough for Paula, it’s good enough for us! Nike have just launched the SportWatch which measures time, distance and pace – not only does it look cool, it reminds you to run (!) and it helps you to find new running routes.
If you feel inspired to run, and you just can’t wait until April 2012, look out for Grazia at Nike Run to the Beat on 25th September. The perfect half-marathon to get you started!! No excuses now..
- Jo Oliver