Top 5 Marathon Preparation Tips from Louise Hazel

It’s only four weeks until the London Marathon, and I’m that sure many of you will have your preparations well underway and will be clocking up the mileage as we speak. By now you may have months and months of preparation under your belt, for what will be another monumental event in 2014, so it is important to maximise this final phase of preparation. Whether you’re a marathon virgin or a seasoned professional looking to add an extra edge to your performance;  here are my top 5 marathon preparation tips to make sure that you make it to the start line in top shape!


1.      Shoes

You should be wearing footwear that is both lightweight and supportive. The best brands for specialist running shoes are Asics, Mizuno and New Balance. Make sure you get a few weeks of training (or at least 10 miles) in your shoes before race day to “wear them in.” When it comes to socks go for breathable and specialist running socks such as @compresssportUk. Our main aim with footwear is comfort and avoiding blisters.

2.     Race

Around four weeks prior to the marathon you should be aiming to race. Enter yourself for a half marathon, not only will this provide you with a strong mental boost but it will be great for your training too. Aim to run the half marathon slightly quicker than marathon pace.

3.     Speed

You should plan your longest run (up to 26 miles) around four weeks prior to the marathon. Aim to run the first 20 miles easily and with just 6 miles to go try to up your pace. This will teach you how to dig deep when you are feeling fatigued.

4.     Hydrate

Never refuel with water, you should be consuming a sports drink during your training that combines carbohydrates for fuel and electrolytes to replace lost salt through sweating. If you are on a budget, you can make this at home using simple orange squash and a pinch of salt.


5.     Taper

Avoid last minute marathon panic of trying to cram in extra mileage prior to race day this will only hinder your performance. The aim is to taper your training in the last few weeks by reducing your mileage so that you feel fresh on the day.

Keep your eyes peeled for my tips on race day preparation and check out my pinterest board for some delicious gluten-free meal ideas to spice up your training plan and boost your immune system.

3 responses to “Top 5 Marathon Preparation Tips from Louise Hazel

  1. I’m sure that Louise knows far more about competing than most on this forum, but I am a little puzzled by Points 2 and 3 which state that you should race a half marathon 4 weeks prior to a full marathon, AND do your longest run at around the same time. From a programming viewpoint I’m not sure I understand how that can work? And to be honest I’m not sure that your point 5 doesn’t then contradict your point 3…..reduce in the final few weeks, but do my longest run 4 weeks before?

    The rest makes sense, though I never like the idea of adding salt to anything. We all understand the theory behind doing this, but I’d like to see some published research that confirms that we actually need to replace salt (with some rationale) and why that replacement has to happen while we’re running, as opposed to through our post race, normal diet. I suspect that we all (often unknowingly) get more salt than we’ll ever need!

    If there is some research, I’d appreciate getting a look at it.

  2. Slightly puzzled too, I’ve competed in various races from 5k to marathons cross country and road as a club runner, not as famous as Louise, she’s an amazing girl. But running up to 26 miles four weeks before a marathon is a bit dangerous, putting your body through 2 marathons within a space of 4 weeks can be too much, especially when you need time to recover. The idea is to rock up at the starting line with fresh legs, this probably won’t happen if you did a marathon 4 wks ago. I normally do my last half marathon 4wks before the big day which marks the start of tampering for me, then I work on speed for the remaining weeks. Dehydration and lack of carbohydrates is the biggest reasons why we hit that wall ( not enough training too ) water and an electrolyte drink are good to have, there is research out there ( wish I had the time to find the link Steve) . Agree with 1, 4 & 5. Thanks Louise.

  3. Jon

    I agree with Steve above, another fairly poor article being published by REPs.
    There are so many other important tips for marathon runners as well, it seems a fairly reductive ‘top 5’, with a little plug for a brand, which I’m sure there was no incentive for….

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