I’ve signed up for the Virgin London Marathon 2015 🙂
Until a few years ago, the only running I did was to the bar when the barman shouted last orders. Then I was walking past a bar near my home in Bermondsey and stumbled across London City Runners – a free running club. I decided to join them and discovered that running could be an enjoyable way to de-stress plus it meant I could consume more champagne and chocolate as I’d be burning if off.
I decided to sign up for my first marathon (these things are addictive) because I was inspired by the celebrity runners, who were raising money for charity. My grandfather had just died following a stroke, shortly after my grandmother died after a stroke. I knew I wanted to raise money for The Stroke Association and I’d been aware of celebrities making money through running. As I’d just started running a couple of months previously it was an ambitious goal but I got round in under 4 hours. With more training I went on to do better times in the Istanbul and New York marathons, despite the hills and bridges on those courses.
That’s the thing about running – the more you do, the more you learn. You learn about what trainers to buy, how to gradually increase training, how monitoring your heart rate stops you from hitting a wall, the importance of eating protein…I’m constantly finding out new things. This week – 12 weeks before the marathon – there was a lunch for the media at Roux, Parliament Square, the restaurant owned by marathon running chef Michel Roux Jr.
I grabbed the chef to get his top 5 running tips and rather excitingly, as I’ve always been a huge fan, I cornered Paula Radcliffe too. Paula ‘multiple marathon winner ‘ Radcliffe!
Michel Roux Jr, photographed with me, advises:
(1) Eat fats! There is nothing wrong with butter or cream – your body needs this. (My body particularly adored his monkfish raviolo in chicken consomme – wow!)
(2) Avoid sugar at all costs. We’re starting to realise sugar is the worst food ever. I’ve known it for a while. It’s literally a killer.
(3) Stretch. Before exercise, after exercise, when you’re watching TV. You can never stretch too much!
(4) Stop as soon as you get injured or you can make it worse, speaking from experience.
(5) Plan it into your weekly schedule. If you don’t commit to what days and what times you’re running, life will get in the way and you might get distracted from your running.
Paula Radcliffe advises:
(1) Follow a training plan. You can find these online. Google your distance and time and ‘plan’ and you’ll find what you need to do to reach your goal.
(2) Warm up and warm down. I know it sounds stupid, but if your muscles don’t warm up you are more likely to get injured.
(3) Buy a foam roller – your muscles need relaxing. If you only do it for five mins a day its better than nothing.
(4) If you’re training for a big distance then you need at least one sports massage a month.
(5) If you’re aiming for a certain time then you need to include track running into your sessions to build up your speed. You have to do sets of 200m or 400m with a short rest in between. You need to practise running fast to achieve it.
The Virgin London Marathon will take place on 25 April 2015. Visit the Virgin London Marathon website for training guides and spectator information.
Keep track of my progress by checking out the running section of Live Like a VIP. I’ll be writing a couple of posts a week about what exercises I’m doing with my trainer, the GB triathlete Gary Spencer.