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Advice and Tips from the Tough Girl Tribe for the London Marathon!!


I reached out to members of the tough girl tribe, to get their top tips and advice for you!!! Here are 26 awesome tips - Enjoy!!!

  1. Run the first half as though you are jogging to the start line.

  2. Mentally break it down into manageable chunks e.g. distance, landmarks, nutrition, etc and just focus on the mike or chunk you are in.

  3. Look at the route in advance and work out a few landmarks to look out for at different miles - I did Brighton and had the pavilion down twice as well as cliff views, harbour etc. It helped me look up and stay focused but without getting pulled into mileage points.

  4. Have a positive mantra you can repeat to yourself in your head when it gets tough! “You CAN do this!” was simple but effective for me

  5. Hug a nervous stranger on the start line. If you spend the first half not worried that you are running to slow then you are running too fast!

  6. When it hurts: smile. When it really hurts: laugh.

  7. Make the crowd work for you write your name somewhere big. Enjoy every moment and don’t get too obsessed with numbers.

  8. If the wheels fall off and you miss your target then enjoy. As John Bingham said "Your spirit can't tell the time”

  9. The hardest part of running a marathon is training for it. Race day is just a 26.2 mile street party with a bunch of other crazy people who understand what you did to get there.

  10. If the nerves get to you or when it hurts, nothing helps better than encouraging a stranger who also looks like they're struggling. In order to help them, you HAVE to believe in yourself enough to convince them to believe in what they can do. Get chatting, crack jokes, hi five some kids, and tell them that you're both gonna make it.

  11. And most importantly, *run happy*. Forget about times, what you'll remember is the experience so soak it in

  12. Count miles up to 13 then down from there... helps to break it down

  13. However good you feel in the first half, if you are running faster than your goal pace, SLOW DOWN!

  14. Try and position a support crew in the Canary Wharf region as up until the bridge and just after (half way) it’s easy psychologically, but running out to the city (boring landmark-wise) is soul destroying so it’s good to have people to aim for as a focus!

  15. The first 10km is downhill. So don’t be fooled by your fast time there. It is not sustainable. Always run close to the drawn line. If you don’t you can add up to 500m of extra distance.

  16. At the end of the race, don’t meet your friends and family at A. try a rare letter like X if you want to find them.

  17. Train hard! Expect at least a week off due to illness so start earlier than the plans say. Experiment with your energy supplies. I prefer jelly babies over gels. Ask your loved ones to support around mile 20-22 as when you hit the wall it will really help to see them

  18. I always write down the times I need to take my fuel on my hand before the race. It seems silly but doing math at mile 22 is hard. I also like to write a few mantras on my hand so I can remind myself that no matter how hard it gets, I'm capable of achieving my goal. "you are capable" is my favourite. I am constantly having to remind myself that I am in fact capable of achieving hard things. Also, "find comfort in discomfort”.

  19. If you plan on hanging out a bit after the race, a fresh shirt/jacket in your check bag is always nice.

  20. If you can, get your support team to come and shout for you at several spots, working out your ETA for arrival at each spot. This is totally do-able in London (as long as you aren't running super super quickly in which case fewer spots), e.g. Surrey quays, Canary Wharf, Tower Hill and (if transport allows), somewhere very near the end. There is nothing more uplifting than seeing your loved ones shout and scream their support for you.

  21. Train in your outfit for the day. Know where there could be chafe areas, also practise with any nutritional gels etc you may need! Above all enjoy it!

  22. My personal tip would be that the wall doesn’t exist - if you’ve done the training you will be fine. It’s a big challenge psychologically to get through but YOU CAN DO IT!

  23. Concentrate on what feels good during the race - rather than on what hurts - great distraction!

  24. 'You will spend all of your training wondering if you can run 26.2 miles... and the rest of your life knowing that you can'. A quote more than a tip but I found it great to focus on when things felt tough. Kick ass and enjoy it!!!

  25. Have energy gels before you need them (I always took after the first hour, the every 30 mins thereafter), and grab some water at every other station at least; pour what you don’t drink over your head or down your shorts to keep cool!

  26. Remember pain is temporary...when you get to the last 10km, remember how many 10kms you have run in training and that the glory is therefore only round the corner! Enjoy the magic; London crowds are amazing!

As a marathon is 26.2 miles. I’ve also decided to add in my 2 cents worths!

There is so much advice out there so you do have to be careful over what advice you listen to. This really is a case of picking and choosing what is going to work for you specifically. I always think it is nice to read and listen to advice, and then pick the best bits which are going to work for you. At this point in the game there is no point doing anything drastic, or crazy, such as going out and running 26.2 miles just to ensure you can before the big day.

I would take on board any tips which will help you the most and add value to what you’re doing and won’t negatively impact you in the race. Such as making sure you’ve planned your journey to the start line, having everything packed the night before, writing your name on your top, planning where to meet people at the end. Thinking about the mantra’s that your going to use - all of these tips, if you do them, will help you in a positive way, there is no negative to using them, only an upside.

However, please don’t read the advice and think - for example, gels! I’ve never used them before, but I’ll use them in the marathon as that’s what has worked well for others, or I’m going to try out my brand new trainers and my new running shorts, or everyone says I need to eat loads of pasta the night before (even though I don’t really eat pasta…) maybe I should. Taking that advice on board could end up with negative consequences!!!

So pick and choose the right advice for you, have belief in your choices and imagine yourself crossing that finish line and getting the medal around your neck. You’ve done all the hard work - now is the time to enjoy it.

Please do comment below with your top tip for the London Marathon & tag someone who needs to read this before the big day!!!

A massive thank you to all the member of the tough girl tribe, who have shared their top tips and advice!!

Good luck to everyone running!!!

You’ve got this!! xx


Extra Resources

London Marathon 10 Top Tips - Sarah Williams

Blog Posts


Special thank you to Tough Girl Tribe Members for there top tips and advice:- Katherine Knight, Georgie Akin-Smith, Jane Roberts, Kat Campbell, Carlie Qirem, Alexa Duckworth-Briggs, Sarah Logan, Brooke Ellison, Lucy Preece, Allison McArthur, Carola Denise, Anna Brown, Adelaide Goodeve, Sophie Allen, Selina McCole, Leah Atherton, Rowena Harding, Nicola Battey, Nicky Harverson, Kerstin Palmer.



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