• Guide To Running Your First Marathon

    guide to running your first marathon what to expect tips advice

    Whether it's for charity, to prove to yourself that you can do it, or just for fun, running your first marathon is a huge milestone. We're here with all of the information you need in preparation for running your first marathon. 

    Choosing your marathon

    Choosing the right marathon can have a huge impact on your success and enjoyment on the day. Most people opt for one of the six World Marathon Majors as their first marathon as they are the most renowned. These marathon majors are London, New York, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo, and Berlin. These are the marathons that have gained iconic status over the years due to being so well organised, having such great support, and being set in beautiful cities. 

    Due to being so popular, these marathons all have difficult entry processes and you cannot simply pay an entry fee to gain a place.

    London Marathon Ballot Entry

    There are three ways to enter the London marathon: enter the public ballot, run for charity, or achieve a Good For Age place.

    The London marathon public ballot opens at the beginning of May of each year, about a week after the race, and is open for a week to give everyone a fair chance of entering. Results are then published 6 months later in October when eager hopefuls will either receive a magazine through the post notifying them that they have been successful or a commiseration email telling them they have not got a place. A record 414,168 hopefuls entered the 2018 ballot to run in 2019, making the London marathon the most popular marathon in the world.

    However, this also means your chances of getting a ballot place are very slim. In 2016, almost a quarter of a million people entered the ballot in the hopes of achieving one of the 17,000 allocated ballot places. That means that each person only had a 7% chance of getting a ballot place. With nearly twice that many people entering the ballot in 2018, your chances of gaining a ballot place are pretty tiny.

    One of the easiest ways to run the London marathon is by gaining a place through a charity. There are numerous charities who provide runners with places in return for raising at least £2,000 for their charity. 

    Finally, there are Good For Age places. However, you have to be very speedy to attain one of these places. For a man under the age of 40 you'll have to be able to run sub 3 hours and women will have to run sub 3 hours 45. 

    Boston Qualifying

    The Boston marathon is also famed for its strict and tough entry process. For this race, you can only enter if you achieve a 'BQ' or a charity place.

    If you BQ, that means you have managed to run a marathon in a Boston qualifying time. For men under the age of 35, that's sub 3 hours and for women of the same age it's sub 3 hours 30. However, it is made even harder by the fact that entries are always over subscribed each year, meaning the actual BQ time is often lower than this target.

    For example, those who entered to run in 2019 had to achieve a time 4 minutes and 52 seconds faster than the qualifying standard. Therefore a man under the age of 35 would have had to achieve a BQ of under 2:55:08 - very speedy!

    Entering your first marathon

    Due to the strict and often difficult entry processes of the World Marathon Majors, it may be an idea to run your first marathon somewhere that allows simple paid entries. Unless you are willing to take on the stress of raising a huge amount of money alongside the gruelling training, there are plenty of other marathons out there that are perfect for your first marathon.

    Three such popular marathons in the UK and Europe are Brighton marathon in East Sussex, England, Paris marathon in France, and Edinburgh marathon in Scotland. Each of these races simply require you to pay the entry fee and you're in. They are equally well organised with fantastic routes in beautiful cities and still benefit from overwhelming positive support at the sidelines. It's certainly worth considering a less famous marathon to be your first.

    marathon tips advice running your first marathon

    What is a good time to run a marathon?

    Finding the right pace for you is hugely important for your first marathon, but don't try to achieve an unrealistic time. Everyone is different and a good time for your marathon will depend entirely on your age, gender, body weight, how long you've been running, and your ultimate goals. Are you just running to have fun and enjoy the experience or are you competitive and looking to run as fast as possible? As this is your first marathon, you don't yet have a personal best time to try and beat, but having a goal in mind is a great motivator. 

    Of course, the previously mentioned Good For Age times are an excellent indicator of just that: what is a good marathon time for your age. However, so long as you enjoy yourself and get out of it what you wanted, your time really is irrelevant.

    That said, it's important to train enough that you can run a sensible pace and not end up on your feet for too long. Putting your body under that much strain can be pretty dangerous and you want to be able to put up a good fight rather than having to walk most of the course. After all, the quicker you run the quicker it will be over!

    runners marathon running ballot entry first time

    Training for your first marathon

    The most important factor in your success of running a marathon is your training. Whether you're a complete beginner to exercise or you've run up to half marathon distance, running a full marathon is a completely different experience and requires full dedication as well as knowledge on nutrition and hydration.

    Finding a good training plan

    Your first port of call should be finding a great training plan that suits you and your goals. One of the most popular places to find marathon training plans is Hal Higdon's website. An American writer and marathon runner, Hal has written over 30 best-selling marathon training books and guides and has contributed to Runner's World longer than any other writer. His training plans cover something for everyone from the beginner to the intermediate to the advanced. For your first marathon, it's recommended to go for one of the beginner training plans. 

    Fitting training around work and home life

    Before you commit to running a marathon, it's important to know that you must remain dedicated over several months and put in the time to train. This means your social life will likely suffer and you may need to give up things like alcohol and tighten up your diet. Speak with your family and friends about your intentions to make sure they are on board as their support could be invaluable to your success. 

    You also need to make sure you have the time to fit training around your work life. There are plenty of ways to fit training into your daily routine, such as running early in the morning before work, working out at work such as at lunchtime, and incorporating training into your commute. Explore these avenues and find out what is going to work best for you.

    Winter training

    Many of the popular UK and European marathons take place in spring time, meaning you will be training over winter. This comes with its own perils such as unexpected snowfall and freezing temperatures. Make sure you have the right activewear for winter running as this will make winter training more bearable. Your essentials should be a long sleeved training top with temperature control to keep you warm without overheating and a water resistant running jacket and gloves to protect you against the elements.

    Many people who have run a spring marathon say that training through the winter is the toughest part. Dark evening runs after work and cold early morning starts can make motivation difficult, but if you keep your goals in mind and stay dedicated you will be able to enjoy working out and stay motivated.

    Summer training

    Both Berlin marathon and New York marathon take place later in the year, meaning the bulk of your training will take place over summer. As we saw in 2018, a freak heatwave can really make a difference to your training and it's important to stay safe when running in hot weather. Be sure to carry extra water and be flexible with your training. Listen to your body and adjust your speed accordingly, as running at 100% effort in soaring temperatures and blazing sunshine probably won't end well.

    marathon running training my first marathon

    Nutrition and hydration

    Any marathon runner will tell you that you could put in endless miles and countless training hours but it will all be for nothing if you don't crack your hydration and nutrition strategy. As we saw in London in 2018 when a woman fell into a coma after crossing the finish line, hydrating with only water can be potentially dangerous and it's important to replenish your electrolytes and sodium as well. 

    Drinking a sports drink and taking sodium supplements will combat this easily so make sure they are a part of your hydration and nutrition strategy. It's also important to be able to adjust your strategy for the weather on race day, as you could have been training in sub-zero temperatures but will need more water than you think on an unseasonably hot April day.

    Finding what works for you

    There is no one-size-fits-all hydration and nutrition plan; you will have to devise your own. Some people are fine with a few litres of water and some energy gels while others find that fuelling with real food is much more effective. You can even make your own energy gels and bars for endurance training so that you know exactly what's gone into them; especially effective for those with a sensitive stomach or a food intolerance.

    Make sure you trial different things in your training to find what works for you so that there are no surprises on race day. It's also important to be as self-sufficient as possible once you have found what works for you, as not all races will have what you need at the aid stations. 

    What to eat during a marathon

    Some of the best foods to eat during a long endurance event like a marathon include:

    • Protein balls
    • Flapjack/Granola
    • Peanut butter sandwiches
    • Pretzels (good for sodium but can be very dry, especially if you’re dehydrated)
    • Pickles and pickle juice
    • Dried or fresh fruit
    • Sugar cubes
    • Energy gels
    • Sports/electrolyte drink

    Top Tip: If you take on a lot of energy gels and sugary drinks during training, brush your teeth as soon as you get home to protect against cavities and tooth loss due to the excessive sugar consumption.

    Sundried water bottle running marathon training hydration

    Cross Training For Runners

    Once you have your training plan in place, you need to make sure you are also doing effective cross training. Putting in a lot of miles is a given for marathon training, but in order to avoid injury and perform at your best you will also need to cross train.

    Cross training for runners is any other type of training apart from running that will supplement and enhance your training. Some of the best types of cross training are strength training at the gym, swimming, and cycling. All of these are low impact sports which will give your joints a chance to rest after pounding the pavements for hours on end while simultaneously working your muscles and increasing your power and strength, all necessary for putting in a good performance on race day.

    What to expect at your first marathon

    As the big day draws near it is completely natural to start to feel nervous. You will be wanting to know what to expect at your first marathon so that it doesn't come as much of a shock. Here are some of the most common things you're likely to experience at your first marathon.

    Long toilet queues

    If you've done a lot of races you'll already know the frustrations of a couple of portable toilets trying to accommodate thousands of runners and this won't be any different at a major marathon. The key is to join the queue early and be patient. So long as you get there with plenty of time, you won't miss the start and the time you spend in the queue would just be time spent pacing back and forth in your starting pen anyway. A top tip is to take a small amount of toilet paper with you as there probably won't be any by the time you get to the front of the queue. 

    A busy start

    The start of a marathon with thousands of runners is always going to be busy and it may take a while to cross the start line. At this point you will be feeling pretty anxious and nervous but also very excited. Take this time to make sure you have everything you need and in place ready to run. Make sure your running watch is ready to go and switch it on early to make sure it can find a GPS signal among all the people.

    Setting off too fast

    All the excitement of the start may well cause you to set off too fast. Stick to your pacing plan and keep an eye on your watch to help you stay on track. Don't be tempted to rush off with everyone else; keep calm and start sensibly so that you can enjoy the race.

    Hitting the wall

    This is one of the most common fears among marathon runners and for good reason. Hitting the wall can take the form of anything from feeling a little lightheaded to physically not being able to move. The key to not hitting the wall when running is to stick to your nutrition and hydration strategy and to stay as hydrated as possible. 

    Read race reports

    If you want to be well prepared on what to expect for the particular marathon you are running, it's a great idea to read race reports from people who have been there, done it, and got the finisher's t-shirt.

    Read our race report from Paris Marathon

    Read our London Marathon race report

    Read our Edinburgh Marathon race report

    Experiencing the best day of your life

    Even if you're hobbling along with sore feet, painful joints, and no energy, when you hit that finish line it will all be forgotten and you will remember this as one of the best days of your life. Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment and all of the long training sessions, dedication, and compromise will be worth it when you cross that line. The elation you feel will be like nothing else.

    emotional marathon finish line moment

    Getting to the start line uninjured

    One thing you will hear from a lot of people training for a marathon, whether it's their first or their 10th, is that getting to the start line uninjured is a big deal. It can be all too easy to over-train and end up with an injury that hinders your chances of performing at your best or even running at all. Some of the most common running injuries are caused by pushing yourself too hard and doing too much too soon, especially if you're new to running.

    In order to stay injury-free, always listen to your body during training and don't underestimate the importance of rest. Some of the best ways to deal with running injuries are not to push through the pain, learn from your mistakes, and don't rush your comeback. Rest up and ease back into your training gently. Ideally, you shouldn't get injured at all when training for a marathon. So long as you eat well, train smart, and listen to your body, you should be good to go.

    stretching injury running marathon training

    Organising with family and friends

    Of course, for your big day you will want your family and friends to be there to support you. There's nothing worse than running along wondering where they are and when you'll see them, distracting you from your performance. Before the race, make sure you all agree where they will be standing to watch you so that you know when to expect them.

    A top tip is to see them towards the end of the race when you're needing some extra encouragement. Not only will they encourage you towards the finish line, but knowing that you get to see them soon could keep you going when the race starts to get tough at the halfway point. We recommend Mile 20 as the optimum place to arrange to see your supporters. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • How To Fuel Before, During, And After An Ultra Marathon

    ultra marathon running race how to fuel nutrition hydration

    Fuelling for an ultra marathon is possibly one of the most difficult areas to get right and one of the main reasons runners drop during distance racing. As runners, we tend to focus on the obvious: our physical training and endless kit choices. However, fuelling and mindset are two really important areas which can be neglected.

    This year I am competing in the Centurion Grand Slam: a series of four 100-mile foot races in May, July, August and October. I have completed this distance twice previously but doing all four within a year has been a very different experience and a massive learning curve. Time of year, trail conditions, course and temperatures all play a big part in the fuelling strategy.

    Pre-Race Fuelling

    Pre-race fuelling is the easy part. Contrary to popular opinion, 'carb-loading' shouldn't be eating everything in sight the night before the race. Instead, you should gradually increase your carbohydrate intake in the week leading up to the race in order to get your body used to storing more fuel.

    There is a limit to how much fuel can be stored in the muscles. Most sources estimate 400gm or 1600 calories, but each individual is different. Personally, my diet does not change too much the week before a race. I tend to eat little and often with 6 smaller portion meals which are easier to digest than opting for 3 larger meals which will just leave me feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I also ensure I am hydrating well.

    I tend to increase my carb intake and reduce my consumption of fruit and vegetables; the less fibre the better as this will prevent gastric issues while you are running. Normally I love spice in my food, but on endurance events your digestion system will be taking a back seat as all energy focuses through the big movement muscles, therefore it is best to stick to plain and bland foods to avoid stomach upset.

    I am very much a creature of habit on the “final dinner” which is always pasta with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil. I eat dinner 2 hours earlier than normal, followed by a sandwich an hour before bed. You want to allow time for your dinner to digest before bed, so when you have to get up for an early start, your body is ready to complete the digestion process – meaning no last minute toilet queues!

    Key points:

    • Don't eat everything in sight the night before the race. Carb load for an entire week before the race by eating little and often and gradually increasing your carb intake.
    • Reduce or eliminate entirely your intake of fruit and vegetables. Less fibre will prevent an upset stomach or gastric issues/emergency toilet stops.
    • Avoid spicy foods, stick with plain and bland foods.

    ultra running marathon race endurance trail nutrition hydration fuelling

    Race Day Fuelling

    If you can eat breakfast, keep it light. If nerves get the better of you and you feel like you can't eat: don’t worry.

    For marathon distance, gels work well for most people and are a convenient choice, however on the longer distance you really need to be able to eat “real” food. Checkpoints are usually stocked with a variety of sweet and savoury foods and on longer distances, the later checkpoints will even provide hot food and drinks.

    It is worth checking your race information, which usually lists the type of foods and drinks you can expect. If you have specific dietary requirements, you may need to be more self-sufficient – I am vegan so this applies to me. It is also worth carrying emergency supplies on your person.

    Start fuelling early and take plastic bags with you so that you can take away foods from the checkpoints to eat while you continue to run. You may need to slow your pace to allow your body to digest the food properly. 

    Some ultra marathons and most races beyond 100km will allow access to drop bags and crew at designated points so ensure you pack some food into your drop bag (in addition to extra kit). It is difficult to decide before the race what you will feel like eating, but get some of your favourites in there – it’s always nice to have a special treat to look forward to.

    fuelling for running marathon ultra race nutrition hydration

    Nausea

    Nausea is one of the most common things that prevents runners from finishing ultra marathons. If you are feeling or being sick, you are losing energy and hydration – lack of both will cause the body to dip mentally and physically. As difficult as it may be, you need to keep eating and hydrating. If you feel nauseous, try slowly chewing crystalised ginger as this can settle the stomach. Also try chewing gum.

    Hot Weather

    Weather conditions also affect your fuelling strategy. Extreme heat can make it difficult to eat and you might have a tendency to drink in excess which will cause a sloshing effect on an empty stomach. It’s always a good idea to carry some money so that you can buy a cold drink or ice cream, or ask your crew to have some ice and cold drinks available.

    Night Races

    If your race takes you through the night, the body will find it difficult to digest as it’s simply not used to eating through the night. Keep eating little and often and if there are hot drinks available from checkpoints and crew take advantage of this; it will also keep you warm.

    Sodium Replenishment

    Replenishing sodium is something you should have practised in your training. As you sweat, you will lose body salts and minerals so over long endurance events it is vital to replace as you go along, otherwise you may suffer nausea and muscle cramp. There are lots of products on the market in tablet and liquid form – get to know your body and practise in training, and carry additional in your hydration vest on race day. Also bear in mind seasonal factors; it’s easy to tell you are sweating in the height of summer, but you will also be working up a sweat in the middle of winter.

    Post Race Fuelling

    Race completed: permission to eat the world granted! Do not be surprised if in the first 24 hours you have no appetite – your digestion system has to re-boot and this generally requires sleep. I find that after a 100-mile ultra marathon I sleep for a few hours, wake up hungry, eat a little, then sleep again – this is the first 24 hour routine.

    Once your appetite returns, make sure you fuel little and often. It’s natural to feel fatigued between meals as your body runs out of food. The best advice on post ultra-fuelling is to listen to your body. Ideally, you require all food groups, but you may crave protein as the body will want to repair muscles. I tend to want protein and masses of fruit and vegetables as my body craves the nutrients from the vegetables. Dependant on the distance of your ultra, recovery will take from one week to usually six weeks for a 100-miler. A spa treat to relax both body and mind the week after a tough race is a great idea. Look after your body – it has served you well!

    About the author: Sheila Rose is a personal trainer, ultra runner and Sundried ambassador. 

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • How To Choose The Right Activewear For Your Marathon Training

    running marathon training activewear

    There’s little over seven months until the London Marathon and endurance race season in general, begins. That’s seven months of blood, sweat and probably a few tears before you eventually cross the finish line glowing with adrenaline and accomplishment. Your activewear can make or break your marathon success and the months of training you have to do before it. Pick the right running clothing  and training will be a lot easier. Choose equipment that doesn’t last and you won’t just find yourself out-of-pocket.

    Why the right activewear is important

    Hitting the ground running (excuse the pun) with your training is likely to be your first priority. But take a step back and consider your equipment first. Getting the right activewear will make training much more comfortable, efficient and safe. A marathon is one of the toughest things you can put your body through. Training for one involves running miles and miles for months beforehand. Investing in the right equipment will stop you wasting energy on your runs, make those runs (and other exercise) more comfortable, and most importantly it will keep you safe and less prone to injury.

    Running shoes are the first investment

    Experts recommend that you start off with around 15 to 20 miles weekly if you’re a completely new runner, building to a peak of 35 to 50 miles. At the very least, you’re going to need running shoes  that can withstand such long distances. Get yourself a decent pair of running trainers that will effectively support your feet. If you’ve never purchased a pair of these before, head down to a specialist running store to get their advice. The pair that you end up with depends on your running style, form and any pre-existing weaknesses you may have (like injury-prone ankles).

    You’ll want your running shoes to be lightweight so that you don’t spend energy needlessly. They should be well-cushioned, supportive, and a comfortable fit. If you’re running on a road you’ll need a different trainer to one designed for trails.

    running shoes marathon training

    Top Tip: Buy your running shoes in the late afternoon - never in the morning. Your feet swell during the day, so a pair that fit snugly at 7am will be too tight by 5pm.

    As a ball park figure, expect to pay between £70-£150 for a good first pair of running shoes.

    However, you won’t just need one pair of trainers. A good training schedule will encompass more than just running, so you’ll also need a pair of shoes suitable for the gym and/or strength training. Some runners also prefer to alternate shoes, depending on where they are running (the terrain) and their pace. Training and race shoes have different requirements, so if you’re feeling dedicated, get yourself a couple of different pairs.

    Clothing for running and cross-training

    The next step should be to look at your wardrobe. Choose clothing built with materials that will allow your skin to breathe, wick moisture, remain relatively odourless and isn’t too constricting. You’re going to be running for a long time, so you’ll want to remain comfortable.

    You’ll be training in all seasons, so it’s worth considering what different equipment you’ll need when it’s warm and when it’s freezing. Temperature control clothing will help you remain warm when training through the winter, and will keep you cool in summer.

    Prioritise an ethical activewear company too - especially if you’re running the London Marathon for a good cause. You don’t want your hard work in contributing to a better planet being undone by an unsustainable clothing choice!

    As a start, you should buy a few tops, shorts or leggings, socks and, for the ladies, a supportive sports bra (or several, if training daily). You might also want to consider a running jacket for colder months and a visor and sunglasses for sunny days.

    running jacket waterproof winter training

    Other fitness equipment to consider

    As well as the clothing and trainers that you’re going to wear, you should also consider other essential equipment that will impact your training. Handheld water bottles will keep you hydrated during a run. Running belts or vests can keep your valuables safe and also contain snacks and gels for long runs. Running gloves might be an added comfort in cold weather. Ideally they should be touchscreen enabled so you can access your running playlist quickly. Speaking of which, a phone armband will keep your music accessible whilst safely storing your phone out of harm’s way.

    Chafing can be an issue for runners, so investing in a specialised chafing balm and some Vaseline will help keep sore skin and blisters at bay. On race day, it might be worth having a dedicated race belt that will keep your number secure. As discovered last year, if you lose your number during the London Marathon you cannot finish the race - and someone might try to take the glory from you.

    Finally, you’ll not just be hitting the road but also the weights. A pair of weight gloves are relatively inexpensive and will stop your hands from blistering or getting hard skin. They will also improve your grip, making it less likely that a heavy weight will slip out of your hands and cause injury.

    A marathon always starts with the equipment

    You cannot run a marathon or train for one without the right equipment behind you. Don’t be tempted to skip shopping for your running gear. Taking the time to choose the best activewear and trainers for your body will pay off in the long run. You’ll be thankful for all your equipment when you hit mile 25 on marathon race day.

    About the author: Jay Curry is founder and head personal trainer at Jays Way Personal Training. He trains a range of clients, from soon-to-be brides to corporate groups, people getting marathon-ready and the British Army. Jay is passionate about varied training that builds mobility and functional strength. His programmes include HIIT, boxing, circuit training, and strength  - and have been featured in the Huffington Post and Waitrose Health amongst others.

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • How To Fuel Long Runs

    how to fuel long runs

    If you're starting to ramp up your running and are training for a half marathon, marathon, or even ultra marathon, it's important to know that your nutrition strategy is key to success. We give you all the information you need on how to fuel for long runs.

    What is the best thing to eat before a long run?

    When running long distance, what you eat before your run is just as important as how you fuel throughout. When training for an event on a specific date, it's important to steadily increase your carbohydrate intake in the week leading up to the event so that you can get your body used to storing more energy. But beware, don't fall into the trap of 'carb loading' the night before the race by eating a load of pasta and then going to bed! You need to build up gradually over several days, rather than just eating more than usual the day before.

    For your regular training runs, there are a few different things that will fuel you well before you head out. Eating a good breakfast will set you up well whether your run is morning, afternoon, or evening. Opt for something carb-rich but also high in protein, such as eggs on toast or oatmeal with fruit. This should be eaten around 2 hours before your run so that it has time to digest and won't sit heavy in your stomach. Around 30-60 minutes before you run, eat something with simple sugars such as a banana to give you one last boost.

    What to eat 2 hours before a run

    • Oatmeal with fruit and nuts/seeds
    • Eggs on toast
    • Protein pancakes
    • Ham and cheese sandwich
    • Peanut butter on toast
    • Chicken, rice, vegetables

    What to eat 30-60 minutes before a run

    • Banana
    • Protein shake
    • Some crackers
    • Raisins
    • Apple sauce

    running outdoors workout fuel hydration nutrition marathon

    Mid run fuel

    When it comes to mid run fuel for long runs, different things will work for different people. The ultimate debate is whether to eat real food or not. By this, we mean the difference between a peanut butter sandwich and an energy gel. Some people are happy to fuel solely with sugary gels and drinks, but this doesn't work so well for others. 

    In order to find out what works for you, it's best to go with the trial and error method in your training runs. Remember, nothing new on race day! Try different foods and gels and see which make you feel the best. It could be that a combination of both works for you. 

    Foods which are great for mid run fuel:

    • Protein balls
    • Flapjack/Granola
    • Peanut butter sandwiches
    • Pretzels (good for sodium but can be very dry, especially if you’re dehydrated)
    • Pickles and pickle juice (great for cramps)
    • Dried or fresh fruit
    • Sugar cubes
    • Energy gels
    • Sports/electrolyte drink

    You also need to remember that whatever you decide to fuel with, you need to be able to comfortably hold or carry with you while you run. Some people don't mind holding a bottle in their hand while they run, but others may find that to be uncomfortable. Work out what you like best and practice running with a hydration bag, bottle, and snacks in various pockets. 

    It's also important to remember that being as self-sufficient as possible is best for racing as you never know what kind of fuel and hydration will be available to you on the day. There's nothing worse than gasping for a drink and running along waiting for the next water station only for it never to arrive.

    running fuelling marathon ultra

    Running fuel for sensitive stomachs

    If you have a sensitive stomach or you find that certain foods or energy gels give you gastric problems during your run, you need to be extra careful. Here are some top tips for finding running fuel for sensitive stomachs:

    1. Avoid caffeine
    2. Stick with bland carbs like toast, bagels, and oatmeal
    3. Avoid spicy foods
    4. Avoid eating too much fibre 
    5. Seek out energy/protein bars with minimal ingredients

    running tired athletes fuel for sensitive stomachs

    Homemade running fuel

    If you don't like the idea of eating something full of chemicals or constantly buying expensive energy bars and gels, you can make your own homemade running fuel. There are lots of options, from homemade trail mix to even make your own energy gels! Read more in our article below.

    How to make your own energy gels and bars for endurance training

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Cross Training Workout For Runners

    Cross training workout for runners strength conditioning

    If you are training for a marathon or are just an avid runner, you would have heard that cross training workouts are a must as part of your training regime. Try adding this gym cross training workout for runners into your weekly training plan and enjoy the results!

    Warm Up

    Before you begin, it's important to do dynamic stretches to prepare your body for exercise. Complete 10 leg swings forwards and backwards on each leg and then perform 10 side to side on each leg. Perform a few torso twists to warm up your body and then you're ready to start!

    After completing your dynamic stretches, walk for 5 minutes on the treadmill at a brisk pace to get your heart rate rising and your muscles warm. After 5 minutes, jog steadily for 5 minutes and then walk again at a brisk pace with a low gradient of around 2%.

    Main Set

    Your main workout is a Tabata workout. Tabata is a type of HIIT which is intensive and will condition your body well. This is the perfect type of cross training to do when training for an event like a marathon as it increases your fitness as well as your stamina and will target the full body so that you can tackle any challenge the race throws at you.

    Tabata training consists of 8 rounds of exercises, each of which are completed for 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between. As such, the workout only lasts 4 minutes but is done at almost 100% intensity. If you are more advanced, you can complete this workout twice with a longer rest in between.

    Click or tap on an exercise to learn how to do it and what benefits it has. 

    1. Skipping
    2. Burpees
    3. Inch Worm
    4. Kettlebell Swings
    5. Dumbbell Thrusters
    6. Jumping Squats
    7. Crunches
    8. Tuck Jumps

    Each of these exercises will target a different part of the body and will improve your cardiovascular fitness, power, and strength. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren