We’ve left behind the bitter mornings and early nights of winter and now find ourselves neck deep in the Spring Marathon season already, and the jewel in the crown of the Spring season must be the London Marathon (no bias obviously).
If you are one of the incredibly lucky people who received a ballot place, one of the seriously dedicated fundraisers who got a charity place, or are fast enough to get a good for age place then you are in for an absolute treat.
The excitement you might feel, however, almost definitely won’t cancel out the bag of nerves that come with running a marathon (let alone the bloody London Marathon) so in order to help put your mind at ease we’ve written up a few points that might be helpful for you.
Weather or Not
At the time of writing this, the weather is due to be cloudy and 15C, they are just about perfect conditions. If things don’t change from this (and they will) you are on to a winner.
If they do and things get a bit hotter though (the last two years at the London Marathon have been pretty stifling), then you are in good hands with water stations every two miles and sports drinks every 4 miles in the middle 12 of the course. You can check out the map here.
The Elevation Situation
HA! What elevation? This is a seriously flat course with 5 or 6 bumps under 20m high spread evenly across the course. Realistically you’re going to be fine with this, and can probably plan for a negative split/even split pretty confidently.
Sites for Sore Eyes
You’re going to see some good stuff in this race! Tower Bridge, Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, The London Eye, all the classics really. But it is worth remembering that none of these are in the first 10km of the race.
These first 10km go through a much more residential part of London and tend to be much quieter, in these first few miles try not to get in your head about it, it really kicks off when you reach Cutty Sark!
The Danger Zones
The final 7km of the race is essentially a straight shot down one road, whereas the preceding 7km has a lot of turns and sections where you’re running side by side in opposite directions to those further along the course. Whichever you prefer, you’re going to get a taste of the one you don’t prefer as well. As these are both in the second half of the race however it is arguably slightly more aesthetically pleasing either way.
There is pretty much only one section of the London Marathon where you won’t be surrounded by crowds and that is the Blackfriars Underpass. There is nothing quite like the cheering and adulation of that many spectators, but it is pretty full-on as well. Take this 500m or so to breathe, relax and really let your mind process the last 20 miles. You’ll appreciate it in the end.
Any Other Business?
Just enjoy it. Like, really enjoy it. It doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier to get a place in the London Marathon any time soon, so this could very well be one of the few opportunities you get to run it.
Whether you’re gunning for a PB or just trying to get round without crapping yourself (or at least noticeably so) make sure you take a second to really marvel at the scale and joy of the event you are involved in and forever part of its history.