Katharine Fennelly, Physio with Central Health Physiotherapy, Marathon runnerIn early October the London Marathon organisers announced the much-anticipated results of their 2019 ballot draw. A record four hundred and fourteen thousand, one hundred and sixty-eight people entered the ballot hopeful of securing a place in the event which will take place next April. The number of ballot places issued each year is not published however it is thought to be less than 5% of the over-all number of applicants. Of course, there are addition charity places, athletic club places and good for ages places available. Despite this however, thousands of runners will have been disappointed not to a have received a place to run the world’s most popular marathon. So what next?

You’re IN

Well, if you are lucky enough to have secured a place, it’s time to start thinking about your training. It is generally advisable to build your mileage for sixteen to eighteen weeks prior to the big day. This will lessen your risk of injury and make you feel the most comfortable over the course of twenty-six miles. Most will therefore start their training at the end of December or the beginning of January.

New year. New training regime. The perfect time to get started – in my opinion.

Having spent my childhood and teenage years running cross country, I do love to run in the cold. If however, you prefer to hibernate through the winter months and would class yourself more as a fair-weather athlete, here are my top tips for getting out on a frosty morning or a cold and wet evening.

1) Be prepared

Check the weather the evening before your run. Set you clothes, including your shoes and any accessories such as an armband, headphones etc. somewhere convenient. Whether you choose to run in the morning or when you get home in the evening this will mean it is easy to get changed and get out running.

2) Plan your route in advance

Planning your route in advance can make it easier to get out on a cold and dark morning or evening. Changing your route will keep things interesting; in the dark it is advisable to keep to well-lit paths and parks however during day light you may wish to ventrure off the roads, somewhere a little more scenic.

There is something comforting about knowing your route; it will enable you to better pace and push yourself. As the weeks progress you will become familiar with a range of routes of varying distances and the effort of planning will lessen.

3) Commit to an achievable training programme

Do your research and find a programme that works for you and your lifestyle. Most will recommend running between three and five times a week. Consider how often you would like to run and how often it will be possible to run; chose your programme based on this. It will enable you to get into a good routine, prevent you from burning out and feeling overwhelmed by it all.

4) Buddy up

Agree in advance to run with a friend or join a local running club. It will be more difficult hit snooze or head out for a drink after work if you know a friend is waiting on you in the cold. Equally joining a running club can help with getting into a good routine.

5) Get out and compete!

Try to enter some organsied running events. These will normally be written into your training programme, if not try to fit in a half marathon mid-way through the training programme or a 20-miler four to six weeks before the big day. This will give you an idea of how your training is going and what to expect on the big day.

There are fewer twenty-mile races available than any other distance, these tend to sell out quickly.  If you feel this is something you may benefit from book your spot early.

6) Get your winter wardrobe ready!

Okay, so perhaps this won’t work to motivate everyone but for me; having something that I feel comfortable in, that’s functional and that looks good gets me excited to go running! Consider the conditions you will be running in; a rain jacket and a peaked cap may be your most appreciated purchase on a wet and windy run. Heat-tech layers will also prove a worthwhile investment when running through the winter months.

And for those of you who did not get a place…

If you, like me, were not luck enough to secure a place in the 2019 London Marathon take some time to think.

Why did you enter? Would you love to run a marathon 2019?

If the answer is yes, why not look at the 2019 European and UK Marathon List. There are numerous alternative marathons taking place across the UK and Europe throughout the year but particularly in April and May of 2019 so you will be training alongside those running in London. I can personally vouch for the Copenhagen Marathon, having ran it myself in 2017. The event was extremely well organsied and there was local support from start to finish.

My goal next year is to run the Paris Marathon which takes place on April 14th 2019. Please do watch this space for further details on how my training is going.

Finally, if you breathed a sigh of relief when you found out you had not secured a place in next year’s London Marathon, that’s okay! Running the marathon is a huge commitment. If it is something you would like to work towards in the future however why not start by entering some smaller events. There are 10ks and half-marathons happening across London almost on a weekly basis. Get planning, get your place and get out there.

Katharine Fennelly

Katharine Fennelly is a physiotherapist with Central Health Physiotherapy. She specialises in the assessment and management of a wide range of acute and chronic musculoskeletal presentations of the spine, upper limb and lower limb. She is a keen runner in her spare time.

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