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Tackling the marathon - tips for training in London

With London Marathon Fever taking hold of us all in the week before the great event, it seems more people than ever are considering taking on the 26.2 miles.

Here at Secret London Runs, we've had numerous runners join our guided tours that have taken the plunge and signed up to the elusive London marathon.

Time and again we hear from non runners or runners anxious of running marathons 'don't you get bored?' or 'what do you think of for 3, 4 or 5 hours?'

As lovers of London, its history, multiculturalism and hidden secrets, we thought we should share the best ways to train for a marathon in London.

1. Variety is key.

Monotony of routes is an easy way to get demotivated. However much you mix up your music soundtrack, the repetition of the same streets, shops and parks can become really uninspiring. Mix it up a little.


2. Adventure.

For many people a few laps of the local park each is as adventurous as their routes get. At Secret London Runs we feel that whilst our beautiful parks have a lot to offer, many people are missing the delights of city street running.

Who knows what you will see around the next corner, what architectural gems or art you will find. Londoners are often seem to be very well routined, everyone is in a hurry from point A to point B. Sack off that A to B and go without a plan. Your newly discovered route might just surprise you.


3. Utilise your commute time.

Putting in the hours after work can seem a chore, so utilise your commute time more efficiently if possible. Instead of taking the bus home from work, why not pack a backpack and run? If your commute is just that bit too far then run to a tube or overground station within a manageable distance and jump on for the rest of the journey.


4. 'No sweat'

London is surely one of the worlds' greatest stages. With so many exhibitions and museums, it's hard to keep up with fitting them in to a busy schedule. How many times do we hear ourselves say 'oh, I've been meaning to go to this or that exhibition, but just haven't had time.'?!

For those marathon training and/or busy lives but still want to fit in regular runs, we have a solution - why not run to your destination. Embrace a little tussled hair and sweat and don't let is stand in your way. I've yet to find a museum with signs reading 'No runners allowed.'

So if you can put up with a possible few odd looks from those most probably jealous they've had to commute sat on a packed, stuffy tube, then it's a win win!


5. Read for inspiration.

I discovered a fantastic book called 'Walking the Underground, Overground.' The Author, Mark Moxon came up with the genius idea to explore London by doing exactly as the title of book suggests - he walked the route of the underground lines, overground.

On the way he uncovers fascinating stories detailing the history of the lines, the places they connected and the people. This inspired me to tackle a few of the lines myself and equipped with all the knowledge from the book I set out to run the Bakerloo, Victoria and Circle Line. (Who knows keep your eyes peeled for a potential SLR new tour!)


6. Make it manageable.

It’s always a danger to build up the miles too quickly. No one knows your body like you do but it can really help to take a template marathon plan from the internet and tailor it to your abilities.

Also don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask questions – be it a fellow runner you see on the streets, someone at your local running club or best yet chat to us! We’ve a few seasoned marathon runners in our team and always happy to help if we can!

So, what are you waiting for?! London has so much to discover so don those runners and get out there – better still sign up for one of our tours and let us show you what you are missing!

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