The Virgin Money London Marathon is done and dusted, you've been thinking about nothing else since at least January and hopefully all your preparation paid off and the day went how you'd imagined it would go while trudging through the rain in the dark throughout winter.
You will be feeling a range of emotions....elation, pride, relief, euphoria and achievement...but now what!? Is that it? For some people, they will be happy with their medal and will hang up their running shoes, satisfied in the knowledge that they've ticked the 'run a marathon' bucket list box. For many others...this will be the start of something special, perhaps a new found love that you can't bear to be without?
With this in mind, I thought i'd offer you some ideas on where to take your running next...
Enter another marathon!!!!
Hadn't thought of that had you!? In all seriousness though, if you loved the marathon so much then why not simply do it again? There are some amazing marathons to enter all around the world, from small local affairs that cost £10 and you get a piece of cake at the end, to full on running extravaganza's (just like London) that will blow your tired little mind with excitement. Here are a couple of cool Autumn marathons with places still going that might tickle your fancy:
Amsterdam Marathon - They say it's "one of Europe's most popular running events", although places are still available!
Loch Ness Marathon - Beautiful area, cheap entry, and monster sightings guaranteed (not guaranteed, he's gone AWOL!), sounds like a winner to me!
Obviously you now have at least one marathon under your belt now, so you have a PB to chase, if you want some help with this, then I can recommend an excellent coach who offers both online and face to face coaching. Learn more here.
Run an ultra?
Hang on, running the marathon was tough enough, and quite far enough, thank you. I'm not going any further! Plus marathon training took up too much time as it is!
Well, let me break some good (?) news to you, you can easily run a 50k entry level ultra marathon off the back of marathon training. You will probably even find it easier than the marathon! Why? Many ultra's are actually much less stressful affairs than the circus of the London Marathon, you'll be in the countryside, surrounded by nature and you'll have no pressure of getting a PB. You can even WALK if you need to, in fact, walking is ENCOURAGED!! I once stopped for an Ice Cream on the beach when running an ultra, and I ended up winning!
There are loads of cool events to have a crack at, many of which you can find via my friends over at RunUltra. Take a look, and see if anything catches your eye.
Nervous of entering an ultra? Well why not join one of my guided trail runs? I offer a 30 mile entry level run, where we take our time, enjoy a day out and have a good laugh in the process. If you do decide to move on to ultras, then I can recommend a good coach again! :)
Try trail running?
Running roads is hard on your legs, full of things that could run you over and can generally, in my opinion, get a bit tedious. You've got fitness in your legs from months of hard work, so why not take advantage of this new found fitness and try hitting some trails?
The UK has an incredible network of trails and amazing countryside to explore. You will not regret heading into the wild and running some stunning routes. Forget about times and mile splits, simply enjoy being around nature, enjoy the woods, run along the beach, run up the biggest hill you can find and take in the view. Running trails is hugely rewarding and will give you a new lease of life. If you enjoy it, then look at entering a trail marathon (there are plenty of those too!). ALSO, running trails will get you fitter, faster and stronger, so if you do return to the roads, you'll smash that PB out the water.
If you are nervous about hitting trails on your own, or want to join a group, then it just so happens that I offer guided trail runs of varying distances, from 4 miles upwards, so come along and see what all the fuss is about. If you fancy having your own adventure but don't know where to start with the planning, then I can help with that too! Just get in touch to discuss, we'll go wherever you want!?
Have a rest?
Training for, and running, that marathon was bloody knackering right? You want a rest right? That's cool too, enjoy your achievement and enjoy the rest, you've earnt it and you deserve it. I would say though, don't stop completely if you have intentions of continuing to run races further down the line, you don't want to be starting from scratch again do you!? Go for a few easy runs over the coming weeks, keep those legs moving and then when you feel ready, dig this blog out again and see if any of the previous suggestions seem more enticing.
The Virgin Money London Marathon is right around the corner and I'm getting a lot of questions about the race. So I thought I'd record this little vlog to offer some quick tips for the day.
I'm racing this year and I can't wait, I hope to see you on the course somewhere, give me a wave if you see me.
The Marathon Des Sables starts in 1 day and 15 hours and there will be plenty of people nervously getting ready to travel to Morocco, and many already there. Hopefully this blog post isn't too late, but I thought it might be useful to share 5 last minute tips for those hardy runners heading to the desert for the adventure of their lives.
1. Trust in your training...EVERYONE on that bus to the camp will be saying they've not done enough, and some won't have done enough, but you need to be confident that you did the best you could with your training and there is no point in stressing about what you haven't done, focus on what you have done and be positive.
2. Race your own race...don't suddenly change your plans for the race based on what others are doing. This is your challenge and you need to look after yourself and be sensible. Pace your race and don't worry about what others are doing.
3. If they offer you 2 bottles of water at a checkpoint, take 2 bottles of water...I watched people ditching 1 bottle on the occasions we were given 2, and many regretted it further down the route. Take both bottles with you and if you don't use them both, fair enough, but you will be kicking yourself if you run out and you've still got 1 hour to the next checkpoint. It could spell the end of your race.
4. Be organised in camp...make sure you know where all your kit is, have a plan for eating and drinking and don't leave things until the last minute, you don't need any added stress during the race by not being organised with your kit, food and time.
5. Don't sleep near the Aussies...those guys aren't good at being quiet, last asleep, first awake ;)
Good luck, enjoy the race and HAVE FUN.
If you are reading this and you are doing the race in 2018, then check out my MdS Coaching Package.
I'm very lucky to be endorsed by a number of brands and companies, and I wanted to write a short blog post about one of those companies...FitBites. It's worth noting that I only align myself with companies that offer a product that I enjoy, and will get good use out of...
For those that are unfamiliar, FitBites are basically energy balls, AMAZING energy balls, and I'm not just saying that. They are 100% natural, raw energy balls with superfoods to give you that extra nutritional boost. They originate from the ultra running world as they were inspired by the mighty Mohamad Ahansal, multi Marathon Des Sables winning Moroccan and all round ultra running legend. When racing, Mohamad simply crushed dates and almonds into a small ball, popped them into his backpack and he was off. ‘Keep it simple and keep it natural guys’ were his words, and so FitBites were born.
I've been using them for training in the mountains for the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race and they have been amazing, you get 2 balls in each pack which is the perfect sized snack while on the move, with some amazing flavours. They pack some pretty awesome nutritional value too, as you can see below.
I'll be dishing these out to some lucky runners who come on my adventures over the next few months, you're in for a treat.
I own Running Adventures.