Tuesday, 27th September 2022
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Marathon training tips from an Olympian

by Editor
Monday 25th March 2013
Tags  Liz Yelling   |   adidasUK   |   adidas   |   Virgin London Marathon   |   Kirsty Reade   |   Julie Shand

Run247 does the Virgin London Marathon Part 2 - Julie Shand attends a training session with Liz Yelling, courtesy of adidas

The next stage of Run247’s Virgin London Marathon runner Julie Shand’s training took place in Hyde Park on Wednesday 20th March. The kind folks at adidas invited Julie along to a training session led by none other than Liz Yelling. If you want to get some advice on running a marathon, I can’t think of anybody you’d be better off asking than double Olympian, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, top coach, sub 70 minute half-marathon runner, adidas ambassador and just all round awesome and lovely person, Liz Yelling. We at Run247 would like to say a huge thank you to Liz and to adidas for offering us this opportunity. And we’d like to pass Liz’s tips on to our lovely readers, who are currently preparing for Spring marathons.

Here’s what Julie had to say about the session:

We met Liz in Hyde Park, close to the Serpentine, ready for our training session. I was wearing the Virgin London Marathon kit, kindly supplied by adidas – a really comfortable Supernova t-shirt and my official VLM jacket which is perfect protection from this current cold and wet weather – as well as my new adidas Supernova Sequence trainers.

Run247 does the Virgin London Marathon Part 2 - Julie Shand's marathon attends a training session with Liz Yelling, courtesy of adidas

We used a triangular section of paths in Hyde Park, which worked really well as the runners taking part in the session were of differing speeds. Liz got us going with some dynamic drills such as high knees, the carioca (ie moving sideways crossing one leg in front of the other and then alternating) and very small steps very quickly to get used to the faster action. All done keeping good posture with tummy pulled in. These dynamic stretches should only be done for roughly 10 minutes before a race. Next we had a gentle warm up of about half a mile. Then it was down to business as Liz’s plan was to test us with some exercises suitable for doing during an interval session.

First up was 2 minutes at our marathon pace, then a 30 second recovery before running back at faster than marathon pace. Next it was a 2 minute tempo run, followed by a 60 second recovery, then running back at faster than tempo. This second set was repeated once more. The last exercise was a set of strides with 50 yards of acceleration and then 150 yards at a tempo pace.

The session finished with a cool down jog of about half a mile again. I found the sets really testing and I definitely got a lot out of the session.

Liz also talked to us about pacing and about making sure that we are aware of our perceived effort levels, and not just relying on GPS watches. The session taught me a lot about pacing and helped me find the right tempo pace I should be working at for those faster sessions to get the most out of my training. It was invaluable to learn from somebody’s with Liz’s experience and I will certainly be implementing what I learned in my training.

Liz was also happy to offer advice on other aspects of marathon running, including nutrition. She eats toast and butter/ jam 3.5 hours before the race with possibly a bit of cake some time before the start of the race (and definitely cake afterwards). Interestingly Liz advised against porridge as it’s so fibrous and could create stomach issues for some runners.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Liz for such a helpful session and to adidas for inviting me to be a part of it.

Run247 does the Virgin London Marathon Part 2 - Julie Shand's marathon attends a training session with Liz Yelling, courtesy of adidas


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