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Are you ready for the Virgin Money London Marathon?

by editor
Sunday 20th March 2016
Have you been out on a long run this weekend as part of your Virgin Money London Marathon training? Are you feeling ready? Take our quiz to find out if you really are! Then read our article below to make sure you've got everything covered. 

1. Training


With 4 weeks to go, if your training has gone to plan you should have logged a long run of 15 miles or more. 13? You can probably still rescue this. Less than 10? Maybe you should think seriously about whether to defer. The race is there every year. If you haven’t trained enough it could be a horrible experience and you might be better to defer and try again next year. You can do this up to 8pm on Saturday 23rd April. 

If your training has gone pretty well but you’ve missed some sessions through injury, illness or life, there’s no need to panic. It’s rare that you’ll hit every session on the plan and you should be fine.


If you haven’t decided on what kit you’re wearing for the race and tried doing a long run in it, now’s the time. The expo is a great place for buying kit, but you need to have tried and tested what you wear for the race. What seems nice and soft at the expo can turn into a chafey piece of sandpaper once you’ve sweated into it for 4 hours. A scratchy label could derail your PB.

Getting your name printed on your top could make a massive difference to you on the day as you get encouragement from strangers the whole way round. You can arrange for this to be done at the expo.

2. Logistics


If you need to stay in London the night before and you haven’t arranged a hotel, do this right now! Hotels get booked up months in advance, particularly the ones near the start/finish and convenient transport points. Look at where the special train services are running from on the morning of the race and try to find somewhere suitable. Holiday Inn are the official hotel partner of the Virgin Money London Marathon: http://www.greenroom.co.uk/running


Don’t forget to take your  registration form and some photo ID to pick up your number.  Go as early as you can in the week as it gets busier the closer it gets to race day.  It’s a fantastic expo but do remember not do overdo it with a long day on your feet - try to relax in the days before the race.

Allow plenty of time to collect your number. If you are going on the Saturday be warned that they shut down registration on the dot and THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS IF YOU HAVEN’T COLLECTED YOUR NUMBER.

See here for all the expo information you'll need. 

Getting to the start

If you haven’t planned how you’re going to get to the start (or know which start you’re at) then sort this out now! Your ‘Final Instructions’ magazine (you can download it here) has all the relevant information about public transport and road closures. Local running clubs may also hire buses to go to London on the morning so it could be worth seeing if they have any spare seats. 

Try to get to the start with plenty of time to spare. Toilet queues could easily take at least half an hour and you need to get your bag for the finish line on the lorry in good time. 


38,000 people needing to go to the toilet is going to cause a bit of a queue. Be prepared for this. The portaloos are well looked after by the staff but it’s worth taking some emergency toilet roll just in case and a small tube of hand gel. Absolutely do not pee in anybody’s garden! 

3. The race


250ml bottles of Buxton water are available on all the water stations (every mile from 3 - 25) and there are 5 aid stations with Lucozade Sport. You don’t need to take a drink at every station and if you miss getting a drink (if it’s very crowded or you’re on the other side of the road and can’t get across) there’s no need to panic because you’ll be able to grab another very soon. 


It can be all weathers for the Virgin Money London Marathon so it’s best to be prepared for anything from 20 degrees and sunny to 8 degrees, windy and rainy. Have an outfit ready for each eventuality so you don’t get thrown on the day. If it’s raining a bin bag will prove an effective, if unstylish, solution to staying dry and warm before the start. 


Runners World will have pacers out on the course. If you haven’t been behind them since the start it’s worth asking them what time they crossed the start line if you’re chasing a PB. They might have taken a few minutes longer than you to get over the line so what you think is a sub 4 marathon might turn out to be 4.00.01! 

Lucozade do great pace bands to wear on your wrist, with mile splits for an array of times. You can print your own off here.

Plans for the finish line

It’s a good idea to have some warm, dry clothes to put on in your bag at the finish line and a recovery snack/shake as it might be a while before you get some proper food. 

The finish area is a very busy place. Unless you make a firm plan to meet your friends and family at a certain point (ideally the alphabetical meeting points that are designed for this) you won’t be able to find them. Mobile coverage can be patchy because so many people are trying to use mobile phones in the area.

Good luck!


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