Every year we get gripped watching coverage of the London Marathon. From the unbelievable elite athletes to the wacky costumes and inspiring runners, there's something incredible about the London Marathon that captures us all. Last Sunday's London Marathon was the hottest on record so we asked Chloe Withers (@chlo_runs_ldn) to write us a guest blog detailing her experience, so we could find out what training for and running a marathon is really like.
Nothing can prepare you for running the hottest marathon on record, especially when most of the training was through dark evenings in the snow and rain this winter. The London Marathon was my first marathon, and what race to start with! The support around the course is unlike any other I have ever experienced in previous races. There is absolutely no words to describe how amazing you feel running over Tower Bridge, lined with crowds shouting messages of support. Despite the intense aching the morning after, the challenge was totally worth it, especially as I was running to raise money for an incredible cause, Alzheimer’s Society UK.
Getting the right kit was essential for my training. Pretty much all marathons are in the spring which means winter training. I needed some warm leggings and a thermal cover-up to protect against that wind chill! I am in love with the Rise midlayer which has become my staple cover up when out for longer colder runs. The Kinetic leggings from Boudavida, with their reflective paneling and brushed back fabric have taken me from long runs on a Saturday to restorative walks on a Sunday morning.
I tend to not be the type of runner who likes too many things strapped onto my arms or waist to carry my phone, keys and gels/snacks, so having pockets in both of these garments was a lifesaver when training.
I have always been a pretty active person; swimming and training in the gym are my usual go-to’s when exercising, so running long distances was something pretty new to me. I am lucky enough to live close to a large Common in South West London, which meant most of my training was laps around the park, with the occasional jog up to the Thames to mix things up a little. I learnt pretty early on though, that my training needed to involve strength work alongside the running to counteract the impact on my body from each 10-15 mile run.
A huge positive to marathon training is needing to refuel your body that little bit more to regain the energy you are exerting. I loved trying out new recipes and becoming more adventurous during my training. I added in nutritious complex carbs in the form of foods like sweet potato, overnight oats and veggies. Of course the last few days before the race required a little more and I relished the chance to try out some veggie pasta dishes!
And now, the long journey to the London marathon is over, and what a journey it has been! From struggling to reach 3 miles without a little breather to running up The Mall hand in hand with my Dad (seasoned marathon runner- great running partner). I’m not sure how I will fill my evenings now the training is over, but as I sit resting and stretching out from this weekend’s event, I am already thinking about what challenge I can face next!!
Quickfire Q and A:
What was the best fancy dress costume you saw during the race?
Definitely a man dressed as a tractor! He was carrying the frame in a world record attempt!
What was your toughest mile? And what motivated you to not give up?
My toughest mile would have to have been around mile 18, we were running the loop around the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf, and I knew that my family were waiting to see Dad and I at mile 22. That really kept me going, knowing that in 4 miles i would get to see them!
How long did it take you to get to the start line once the race started at 10am?
It took us 41 minutes to cross the start line!
How many miles/k in total do you think you ran from the day you started your training until the day of the race?
As a rough guess.. I would probably say about 125-150 miles
Would you do it again? If yes/no why?
I would like to do it again, on a cooler day, to try and beat my time! I think it could be even more enjoyable if it wasn't the hottest Marathon on record.