Running for the rainforest: Tips from RFUK’s 2018 London Marathon team
February 15, 2019
The Virgin London Marathon is almost here. On April 28th, runners will come from around the world to compete in the challenge of a lifetime. The Rainforest Foundation UK is proud to have 8 runners fundraising for us this year. To help them on their journey, we asked some of our previous runners for their own tips and reflections. Here’s what they said:
- My main advice is to train – and start well in advance, not like when I started in mid-February.
- Don’t bring any superfluous equipment like headphones if you’ll just have to turn them off and carry them around in your hand for ages, when instead you can just listen to the crowd. The crowd was really good! I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t for a load of people handing out jelly beans and water.
- And just enjoy it! It was hot, it was tough, I was sore. But once you cross the finish line it’s all worth it. I remember at around mile 22 thinking “I’m actually going to do it, and I’m raising a load of money for a really good cause.”
- Take the risk of injury during training seriously! I thought I was nearly invincible, but I got injured during training to the point that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it on the day. All they say in the training plans is true: follow your plan as much as you can, don’t overdo it, include some cross-training and strengthening exercises, fuel properly and stretch – a lot!
- Remember to enjoy the big day. It will feel much, much easier and much more enjoyable than on any of your long training runs – people will be screaming your name, kids will be giving you high-fives, grandmas will be handing you water, and the adrenaline will make you feel like you’re flying. For me, it got very hard around the 18 mile mark. But it’s all worth it in the end!
- Fuel up. My process was always to wake up, get out and go for a run first thing in the morning and then have breakfast when I got home as I never liked the idea of running with food in my belly. And that's fine for the short 20/30 minute runs, but once you start the longer runs, it’s a real struggle. Read up as much as you can about the key foods you need for long distance running. I started taking energy gels on runs about six weeks before the race to start making a plan of when is best to take them and how to make the best use of them.
- Take it all in. The race itself is hard – there’s no escaping that. But is also an absolutely amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience! The noise from thousands of random people cheering you on and pushing you every step is spine-tinglingly unreal and you really do have to make the most of the whole experience. It's a really special day that you will remember for the fun of it - more than the blisters and chaffing!