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What to eat, how much to taper, how to recover - final marathon preparations are underway for Team Run247

by Editor
Tuesday 9th April 2013
Tags  parkrun   |   Liz Yelling   |   adidasUK   |   adidas   |   Virgin London Marathon   |   Kirsty Reade   |   Julie Shand

Run247 does the Virgin London Marathon Part 3 – a very special parkrun

For the next stage in her marathon training adidas invited Julie Shand down to a very special parkrun at Old Deer Park, near Richmond. This was the last event on the adidas Boost tour to let runners know about these fantastic new trainers and Tom Williams and Martin Yelling from Marathon Talk were there to be hosts for the day. Also in attendance were some top runners, such as Freya Ross, Scott Overall, Andi Jones, Lou Damen, Alyson Dixon and Joe Thomas. This was no ordinary parkrun.

Run247 does the Virgin London Marathon Part 3 – a very special parkrun

Photos: The elite athletes at the Old Deer Park parkrun

As well as rubbing shoulders with elite adidas athletes, Julie was there to receive some more coaching from the awesome Liz Yelling. The parkrun itself was to provide the actual running bit of the session so unlike the previous session, where Liz put Julie through some drills to work on her pacing, Liz was there to provide advice and support. Liz asked Julie about her goal-setting for this parkrun and for the next two weeks, up until marathon day, and offered valuable advice on what to do and, more importantly, what not to do at this late stage.

As Julie was running Blackpool half the following day the parkrun itself wasn’t to be an all-out effort, it was more of a ‘slightly quicker than marathon pace’ run, designed to help nail that pace down without pushing her too much. Mission accomplished as Julie had a great run at the parkrun. She didn’t take any Olympians down but she had a strong run with excellent, even pacing.

Run247 does the Virgin London Marathon Part 3 – a very special parkrun

Photos: Julie Shand and Liz Yelling. Team Run247 - Julie Shand and Kirsty Reade

After the run Liz was on hand again to talk taper and recovery and she gave some really fantastic advice. The key points were:

  • Even when you’re reducing intensity and distance during the taper period, keep the running frequency (ie if you train 5 times a week, keep training 5 times a week). The body doesn’t like it if you stop altogether, it can feel sluggish. So get out there, run for a short time (Liz used to just do 10 minutes the day before), don’t go crazy but include some strides to keep some zip in your legs.
  • Don’t be tempted to make up for any lost time in these last couple of weeks. You won’t do yourself any favours by sneaking in a 20 mile run now to make up for the one you missed. You won’t get any fitter now, you’ll just make your legs really fatigued for race day.
  • Don’t go too mad with the eating. Just eat slightly more than usual; no need to gorge yourself on huge plates of pasta. A decent dinner the night before and a sensible, tried and tested breakfast on race day will be enough to keep you fuelled for the first part of the race, then top up your stores with gels.
  • Liz recommends 4 or 5 days of doing nothing (but with an emphasis on eating!) post-race, then start some gentle running again. Around 10 minutes initially and build up.
  • Interestingly, Liz told us that as you get older the body likes inactivity less so you should take less recovery time. Get those legs going again sooner rather than later.
  • Liz advises caution after events. This is the time when you’re most likely to get injured. So make sure you rest well and don’t do anything too strenuous until you’re fully recovered.

Huge thank you to adidas for inviting us to be part of the day, and for all their support with kit, and we can’t thank Liz enough for all her fantastic coaching and advice.

Run247 does the Virgin London Marathon Part 3 – a very special parkrun

Photo: Liz Yelling shares her knowledge

I wondered whether Liz was missing doing marathons but she assured us she was happy coaching others this year! She did however say that she has her sights on some new challenges for the next few years – longer races and more off-road running - and she mentioned the UTMB. I would love to see Liz take on something like this in a few years and will follow her plans with interest.

Julie’s countdown to the Virgin London Marathon continues and you can follow it here at Run247.


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