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Training for the London Marathon

Training for the London Marathon 2020 was a rollercoaster, both physically and mentally. From March it felt like there was a start line carrot dangled in front of us.  In fairness to the organisers, they always remained confident it would go ahead. But the rest of us were torn between deluded optimism, or certainty it wouldn’t happen.  

The world was telling us it couldn’t go ahead, but the London Marathon put something together pretty amazing. 


The 40th race 

The 40th race, despite, being virtual, was a London Marathon. Same distance, same achievement, same medal.  I’ve run numerous London Marathons, and the feeling of completing it was the same. Despite no crowds, or the sights and sounds of the city, the mental toughness that we all had to show made the reward just as sweet. We were also part of a Guinness World Record. 


Looking ahead 

It’s 2021 and we now have the biggest London Marathon ever to look forward to - 50,000 physical, 50,000 virtual, on 3 October. The difference to last year is that we know there will be an event, we have a certain fixed date, and there are no excuses not to train for it. It’s extremely hard to have the motivation and discipline to lace up your trainers and train for something that may or may not happen. That was the big problem with 2020. 

The big question is “What should I be doing?” I don’t like to use the word ‘should’, as it drives anxiety and I think we don’t need any more than that in our lives. It’s very easy to get caught up in training plans, and the performance aspects of training, but health always needs to come first. 

The London Marathon is a long way off and our goal is to get you on that start line, prepared as possible for an enjoyable, life-changing day. Three things will get you there: 

1. training/exercising intelligently early  

2. telling the world and start fundraising early 

3. getting in touch with someone (me) if you have any questions on training, or have any physical issues or any self-doubt that you can’t complete the 26.2miles. 


To reassure you, if you did zero mileage on 25 April, did one mile the following Sunday, and increased by one mile per week, you would reach 20 miles by 12 September. This would give you a three-week taper before race day. An ideal target for most runners and training plans.  

I’m not suggesting you do this or do nothing until 2 May. It’s just to show you how to take some of the overwhelm away about building up mileage.   


What’s next 

So, what would I do? I’d be honest with my current starting point. What is my current health and fitness state, and how much time per week can I realistically commit to? 

If you’ve done nothing, then get out and walk. If you’ve done more, then look at the quality of your sessions and add in other training systems. There is more to doing the London Marathon than just running. Nutrition, strength and conditioning, rest, mobility, and environment. 

Most importantly it’s about building awareness in how you are feeling daily, and the learnings you take from your training. Doing this event, physically or virtually, is far more than just a medal.  It’s not only life-changing for you, but also for all those you are helping with your fundraising. Also those of you with children, you wait and see the pride on their face when they see you finish! 

Please remember these words once you’ve completed the 26.2miles on the 3 October! 

Find out how you can join Team Ambitious and take part in one of the most iconic marathons in the world and raise crucial funds to support our work.