Preparing for a marathon is not something that can be done over night, or even in a few weeks. We spoken to Jonny & Steve from Team New Balance Manchester about Jonny's build up to the London Marathon and what those final bits of preparation look like.

Jonny, tell us about your prep for the London Marathon & how things are going?

“It has gone well, especially to recently win at Liverpool Half (in the greatest city in the world). I’m healthy and I’ve been consistent so I have no complaints. I put in a really good block of training in Spain.  I have been there for 6 weeks on and off during 2018 so far. I have managed to run a few more miles in training than I did before Berlin Marathon, so the weekly mileage has gone up. The specific marathon sessions have been good too. The thing about marathon training is it is not about knocking it out the park each session but more ticking them off one by one and getting the consistency in.”

Jonny’s Favourite Marathon Training Session

Run 5-10 second faster than your marathon pace for 1km, then 5-10 seconds slower that your marathon pace for 1km. Continue this for around a 20km run. There is no recovery at all between each kilometre.

You can build on this by increasing the intervals to 2kms instead. Remember to always warm up before and warm down after.

When do you begin your taper?

First what is a taper?

Tapering is a phase in an athletes training programme where the training work they perform is reduced.
It usually occurs after a period of hard training or just before a major competition like the London Marathon. The body needs this recovery periods to adapt fully to training and reduce the level of fatigue. After a suitable recovery or taper, it has been proven that athletes can perform better.

So now back to Jonny:

” I won’t back off training too much, I’ll probably run around 80 miles in the final few weeks. If I back off too much I just start feeling flat so I’ll keep the mileage in there, get the legs ticking over a little bit so marathon pace feels that little bit easier. I’m looking forward to tapering, I think the last 4 weeks are the hardest because the tiredness that you have accumulated from the whole build up starts to catch up with you. You can start to get little niggles and can start worry with doubts creeping in; so it is a hard point in a marathon build up for sure. You just need to taper, stay healthy and the race will soon be here.”

General tips for marathon runners as they enter the last few weeks of race prep

“In the last couple of weeks, the work is done.  You see a lot of beginners who maybe have not done quite the amount of work they should have done and try cram it in to those last two weeks.

For Jonny, the job is done from 2 weeks to go. For an elite runner it’s just keeping the mind in check, knowing the works done and keeping the batteries charged. It’s about not reading something in Runners World Magazine that you have not done before and trying it because they have suggested it. You stick to the plan you’ve got. Especially with simple things like nutrition. Don’t try new things just before. Don’t buy new shoes and wear those for the first time.

In the final 2 weeks, do that dress rehearsal before. Go through everything so you know your shoes are right, whatever you are wearing is right. Prepare properly to reduce the stress on the day. I think because it’s the marathon people over complicate things but it’s a 26.2 mile run that’s all it is. All he says haha.”

Meet the Marathon Man Jonny Mellor
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