• Helen Phillips

Time to get organised to train

It's May and if you've put your name into the London Marathon ballot or you've decided to run another autumn or spring marathon, you're probably how and when you need to start to train.

Start too early and you risk burn out, start too late and you could be tempted to cram in too much late in the day.

Read on for my advice on when you should start to train.

Start training before you think you should

Most marathon training plans are 16 weeks long. So it could be tempting to leave it until October (when you'll hear whether you're luck and have a spot to run London) or the new year to train.

However, I recommend starting your running and training for a race this year and here's why.

Ramp up your running right!

If you're new to running, or you've not run much more than a 10k, then it's a great idea to start building up your distance now.

New runners should start with a C25K (couch to 5k plan). You can find a great plan from the NHS right here, or join your local running club who might be running a programme. The C25K builds you gradually towards achieving your goal of running a 5k. You might be fit (or not!) but if running is new to you there will be muscles you'll use running that need to be built up gradually. If you do too much too soon you could end up with injuries (shin splints are really common amongst new runners) which will hinder the journey to your goal.

Once you're there build up to a 10k then a half. That way, by the time you get to winter, and thinking about that 16 week marathon training plan, you've already got miles in your legs and running strength in your body.

The final 16 weeks of marathon training are relentless and really hard on your body. If your body doesn't have the right underlying strength you could find yourself having to take weeks out of your plan to fix niggles.

So use this year to build up your running gradually, build your running strength, fitness and endurance and by the end of the year you'll be ready for your plan.

Go grab some bling

Now you're training and running regularly let's set some training goals and enter a race or few. There are 10k's and halves scheduled all through the year, but most of the big races are either in autumn or spring.

Entering a race gives you a chance to test out your fitness and time as well as earning your first race day bling.

New runners always worry about time and whether they'll come last. But don't worry. The running community is inclusive and slower runners are often cheered right to the end.

Having a few races in your legs before spring will help you confidence when you're training for your marathon. You'll also have some times to try and beat as you get fitter and better as your training progresses.

Make a start with your fundraising

If you've set your heart on running London, the best way to secure yourself a spot is to run for a charity. The large charities fill their places very quickly (for some you might already be too late), but places with smaller charities are still available until the end of the year.

If you're planning on running for a charity get place hunting right now!

Once you've got your place it's time to plan your fundraising. Lots of charities were asking runners to raise at least £2,000 to run. Don't leave fundraising until next year. Brainstorm some ideas and get going right now.

If you’re looking for a marathon training plan with information and advice on why, when and how to run each of your marathon training workouts, plus advice on how to eat right for your marathon training, strength & conditioning workouts for running and tips and advice for fundraising and to get ready and prepared for race day check out Marathon Club Hub, my marathon training programme that’s perfect for beginners.

You get all the training and advice you need, PLUS support from me in regular Ask Me Anything calls. Marathon Club Hub has just reopened for 2020 training. So if you're planning on running next spring it's the perfect time to join!

Run Happy folks!

Helen x