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The #BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp

by Paul Hayward
Wednesday 31st December 2014
Tags  Paul Hayward   |   adidas 26rs   |   boostlondon   |   Marathon bootcamp   |   BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp   |   Liz Yelling   |   Steve Way   |   Scott Overall

Event feature: Run247 columnist Paul Hayward went along to the adidas 26rs #BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp

The #BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp

This year sees the 35th Virgin Money London Marathon taking place on 26 April 2015 and for many people who were successful in the ballot, it will see their first foray into marathon running.

Although the Virgin Money London Marathon becomes more and more popular each year, with the ballot attracting a record 170,050 applications in 2014 with only 50,200 places available, the challenge to complete a marathon and cross the finish line does not become any easier.

In order to help people achieve their dream of crossing the finish line after 26.2 miles, a unique and special running club, the adidas 26rs, has been formed, conveniently based in the heart of London by Liverpool Street Station. (HERE)

The adidas 26rs running club is available seven days a week, offering members advice as well as supervised runs. The adidas 26rs are sponsored by adidas, which provides members with the opportunity to road test the latest in adidas’ boost technology, and are free to join with one aim - to achieve the feat of running 26.2 miles and get you to the finish line.

The #BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp

On December 13, 2014 a special “#BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp”, hosted by some of Team Great Britain’s greatest runners, including Scott Overall, Liz Yelling and Steve Way, was held for 100 competiton winners (split into three groups) at the home of the adidas 26rs, the Virgin Money London Marathon store.

Promising to provide help to everyone from experienced runners to first timers, expert advice was available during the course of the bootcamp. Included was advice on nutritional, kit decisions and ideal pacing. In addition participants could spend time with athletes such as Steve and Liz, hopefully gaining reassurance for the difficult months ahead of training.

I was keen to see what the club and the bootcamp could offer.  On arriving at the London Virgin Marathon store and the home of the 26rs, I was instantly impressed with just how bright and warm it was. The walls were adjourned with race numbers, monitors showed people competing in the Virgin Money London Marathon and the ceiling played host to the route map of the marathon itself. I felt that I could spend a considerable amount of time looking at all of the nostalgic numbers and videos and easily miss my session!

The #BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp

The Store Manager, Mr Jason Curzon, explained that the Sweatshop store has barely been open a year and stocks one of the most enviable ranges of running products and kit choices. I would have to agree and the store is simply a paradise for any runner from beginner to hardened athlete.

After managing to tear myself away from the impressive array of trainers and running jackets, I was greeted by a huge 26rs logo glowing against a black background. On walking down the stairs I was impressed by the running club’s facilities, including a large changing room, showers, lockers and a huge social hub area for members.

If the idea behind the bootcamp was to get everyone pumped and talking about their marathon training, this was clearly happening as everyone was enthusiastically asking each other if they have run London before or if it was there first time. After a quick introduction and putting on the black R26s’ club top, it was off for a 3k run, led by Liz and Steve, with an interval session in the middle.

I decided to hang back a little and join a group running with Steve. Steve was happy to discuss his “famous” eating habits and training plans with the people running with him and came across as one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Steve was keen to discuss the fear we all face: Just how much damage will that Big Mac do to your PB and your race performance? He confirmed that it does have an effect on you and your performance. Although one in isolation is not that bad, it can lead to a further slip and that is when it is dangerous! Steve stated the important thing was to remember that there is the reward later when you have finished your marathon and you can eat what you want for a few days!

The #BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp

On trailing through some of London’s hidden streets, full of activity with Christmas markets and shoppers, we arrived in a park where Liz explained the beauty of her interval training. Designed to ensure that you can go faster and be more efficient during the course of a marathon, Liz explained that it was essential to work these routines into your marathon training. We were asked to do a short run at about 80% of our “full effort”, running to a waterfall monument in the park, before doing a further lap of a 100% effort with a notable speed increase.

After doing the two laps, nearly falling over on the second, and catching my breath, it was time to return to the Virgin Money London Marathon store. There we were treated to a number of presentations on the key aspects of preparing for a marathon.

Possibly the most invaluable part of the BoostLondon bootcamp followed these presentations comprising of a “question and answer” session with all of the team. This provided the participants with a unique chance to ask specific questions that mattered to them and their training. Questions from the floor included hydration and how much (little and often) to drink, and importantly, explaining to your family that you are going to be tired and grumpy over the course of the next few months (and to get some sleep in).

The #BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp

All of the questions were answered with real enthusiasm and experience, which gave the welcome feeling that no question was silly or wrong. Humour was also injected with the dreaded Big Mac raising its head again (your body needs protein and carbs to perform, not a Big Mac!).

The session ended with a mini buffet and the chance to speak to the team individually or grab an important selfie. I left the BoostLondon bootcamp thinking that I want to train for aother marathon. Having trained for the Brighton Marathon in 2014, it was good to hear how I was not alone in struggling with training or kit choices. What I did learn though was that you need to stick to the long runs, no matter what, “man up” in the words of Liz, and ensure your trainers are right for you.

London is certainly calling and those with places, who attended the BoostLondon bootcamp, left a little bit happier with the challenge they face.

The #BoostLondon Marathon bootcamp

If you are in London and would like to join the 26rs, more information can be found (along with an application form) here: http://runhub.sweatshop.co.uk/adidas-26rs/

The 26rs also have a Facebook group for members and has a lot of social chatter along with encouragement for the coming weeks of training

If you would like to visit Jason and his team and experience the store; details can be found here: www.sweatshop.co.uk/LondonMarathon-store-0237

Finally thank you to adidas for the invitation, Liz for the questions and Steve for the picture! 


About The Author

Paul Hayward

I am 33 years old and spend the majority of my life within an office environment. Whilst I played football, I never really took an interest in sport let alone athletics. In 2011 I joined a gym as I was slightly concerned about my weight. However I was, like an awful lot of my colleagues, coasting and I considered spinning three times a week a workout.
This changed when I took up a circuits class and found myself entering Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London in November 2011. I was assured by my friends that this was a good idea and would be a “challenge”.
I had never entered any form of competitive event before and training for this run changed me. I listened to my personal trainer, who assured me that if I quit drink I could be dangerous, and sorted out my diet, stopped drinking so much and focussed my training. I completed the race in just over an hour and I was instantly bitten by the racing bug, I loved the challenge the event offered. 
Nearly two years on I have completed a half marathon in 1hour 49 minutes, came 6th in the Rat Race Horseplay 5k event and usually come within the top 30% at Obstacle Course races. I am also a part time triathlete and I am lucky to find myself in a running club where we have a great coach and the focus is on members. If I am honest - I came to running through these events and I am not alone.
My aim through Run 247 is to promote, discuss and publicise Obstacle Course racing. It is becoming huge and over the coming months we will cover all of the major races and the new competitors entering the scene. 

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