Sunday’s London marathon was the hottest on record. For anyone who was lucky enough to run the race, it was more than likely your goal time went out the window by the half way mark. Running in these temperatures, especially when we’ve had nothing but a freezing winter to train through, is extremely hard and there was little that could be done to run any quicker than so many of us did.
Judging by the amount of messages I’ve received after the race, there are many runners out there who are really disappointed and not sure what to do about moving on from having their slowest run ever. So here are some suggestions and ways to take the best out of the race, move on and look forward to your next challenge!
- Don’t take it out on yourself - The weather is one of those uncontrollable factors that there is little we can do to beat. It will always leave you thinking ‘what if’ and that’s the hardest part. But you will have learnt a lot from it, so make a list of everything you now know about running in hot conditions. It’s likely you’ll be faced with similar conditions at some point in the future, so it will be good to have a list of your own tips that work for you.
- Take time to treat yourself - Celebrating races is important, you’ve been through a long training block, a tough race, now it’s time to reward yourself for that as it will help you transition into the next goal. Getting a massage will not only help rebuild your tired muscles, it’s also relaxing and feels good. I always use Urban Massage, as they come to your house, it's super convenient and every therapist I've had has been amazing. Click this link for a £20 discount, making your first one just £29 for an hour. Bargain!
- Be objective - You still ran a marathon, in extremely tough conditions. You adapted your plan before and during the race, you had to dig deeper than you thought you needed to but you still got the race done and earn your medal. Finishing any marathon is no given, especially when the weather isn’t on your side. Take pride in getting to the finish, take courage from how you dealt with the conditions on the fly and all you’ll have learnt about running in the heat.
- Rebuild - When your body is in post marathon state, then you’re really susceptible to catching colds and viruses going round. Hence it’s critical to get as much sleep as possible to rebuild. I take extra vitamin c and iron. SiS do a handy efflorescent tablet which you can see here. Make sure you are getting lots of detox foods such as blueberries (buy frozen as they are cheaper!) citrus fruits (orange, lemons, lime) as well as lots of green veggies.
- Take a week off - It might seem that because you didn’t run a PB, then your body won’t have suffered as much. When in reality the opposite is true. You’ll have been out for much longer and in far hotter temperatures than you’re used to and subsequently will have put your body under lots of extra stress. Give yourself time to properly rebuild and recover, before getting out running again. Keep up your daily step count by walking lots, catch up with friends, rediscover some past interests, just have a few days away from running.
- Get some structure and expert advice - Bit of a plug here, however getting a structured plan to train from or dedicated coaching will give you far more guidance for the future. Get in touch if you'd like to know more about the help I can offer help you achieve your goals!
- Look for your next challenge - It’s important not to rush out and find a race in a couple of weeks, just because you want to make the most of your current fitness. There are plenty of races in the autumn (have a look at Bournemouth or Yorkshire) which will allow you to have some time off running and then you can slowly get back into training over the summer. However I totally understand that a lot of you will want to do another marathon as soon as possible to try and achieve your time goals but just make sure you give yourself the adequate recovery time, at least 5-6 weeks ideally. If you're feeling fresh, then you could consider Liverpool, although it is too soon really in my opinion.
- Trails - PB’s don’t really exist in trail running as the routes are so different. So if you are consistently getting yourself in a flap over PB’s then have a look for some trail races. Friendly, beautiful scenery and the best aid stations. One race I really like is the South Downs Marathon on the 16th June. For a great directory look on the 100 marathon club.
Finally you can have a big well done from me! You might not realise it straight away, but I bet in a few weeks you’ll look back on the marathon and think yeah, I’m hardcore and I got it done!! You’ll be able to take strength from overcoming those tough conditions to use when you get difficult moments in future races. When your legs are burning during that final mile of Parkrun, when your lungs are gasping for air during that 10k club race or your climbing up a steep hill during that trail marathon, you’ll be able to look back and think to yourself, this is nothing as I conquered the London Marathon 2018!