Tips on training for the London Marathon after a tough year

by Camila Fernandez
Marie Curie fundraiser


I've run several half marathons but I'd never felt the need or desire to run a full marathon until my dad passed away a year ago from stomach cancer. He was cared for by Marie Curie Nurses. The work they do is incredible and I wanted to run a marathon to raise funds to help them provide more care to people like my dad.

Since my dad died I've found running a massive struggle. My limbs have felt as though they were made of lead and my pace was barely a fast walk. It became a vicious cycle, the more I hated running, the less I did it. And the less I did it, the more unfit I became.

So when I secured a Virgin London Marathon place to run for Marie Curie I knew that come 2014 there would be no more messing around. I run with Run Dem Crew and I asked my running friends for tips and schedules which had worked for them. I got two really good recommendations:

  • My friend Bangs recommended running guru Hal Higdon's training regimes. He has plans for every ability but I chose the Novice 2 program.

  • Another pal sent me a blog by a fellow Run Dem-er who has run the London Marathon in 3 hours 15 minutes! He had some amazing tips on recovery, training, staying injury free, all written in a concise and digestible style.

A shaky start

Camila-image-2I ran regularly over Christmas to ease my guilt over all those cheese boards and choccies! I could feel my running mojo was gradually returning. On New Year's Day I was suffering from a terrible hangover – which wasn't exactly the best way to start my training – and reviewing my schedule I realised I should already be on week four. Uh oh. The next day I spent procrastinating until I finally pushed myself out the door at 5pm and squeezed in five miles.

However, after that less than ideal start to the year, I'm getting back into the swing of it, slowly and surely. I’m now attending my local track with friends to help me incorporate tempo sessions into my schedule – it's easier to measure your running distances and going with friends keeps you motivated. I've also done two long runs where speed isn't as important as just getting your legs used to the mileage.

So while my training got off to a slightly shaky start and I'm still running quite slowly, I feel I’m getting better and, most importantly, I'm enjoying it again.

Camila is running the Virgin London Marathon for Marie Curie and will be writing a regular blog in the run up to the event in April.