You’ve waited for this for months (and have probably refreshed your inbox every minute since you woke up this morning). The ballot results are finally out. Are you part of the lucky group? Or did the email bring an additional disappointment? Don’t worry, whatever the answer, your running journey is still in front of you.
Congrats! You’ve been selected!
You’re one of the lucky ones and most likely feel over the moon now (and you can). Celebrate, share it with your friends and family… You’ll be racing your dream race this year!
Coaching, training plan, and timeline?
First things first, before you think about anything else, consider timing and question yourself: how do you want to approach it? Depending on your target, it might look like finding a training plan, reading up on marathon training, or looking for the right coach to help you achieve your goal.
Most runners will need about 3 months of training to get ready for a marathon. For advanced runners, it might extend to 4 months, or, if you’re fairly new to running long distances, you will also need additional time to build up a base mileage before starting your training.
Don’t hesitate to ask around and find a method that fits your needs. Training will take a considerable amount of time in your life in the months to come, and it doesn’t need to be a chore. If you’re looking for a training plan, you’ll find plenty of resources online, on books but also on apps like Strava or Training Peaks.
If you prefer a more personalised approach and coaching, don’t hesitate to interview your potential coach and ask them as many questions as you’d like. Every coach has their own style: support, workout style, price, online vs face-to-face, race experience, club, perks…
Build a strong injury-free body
3 months of training will be very demanding for your body, regardless of your running experience. Spoiler: no one wants to get injured during marathon training. So make sure you’re all set to succeed in your training:
- Get the right kit: adequate running shoes, a recording app or device (to help you during interval training), running socks, a good running bra, and Vaseline/electrolytes that will become handy very soon
- Start strength training and mobility: this might not be the most exciting part of training, but it will make a massive difference in your final time. Most sports actually involve spending a good amount of time in the gym - even if athletes don’t advertise it on their social media. Don't know where to start? We’ve gathered a couple of routines you can follow here.
- Don’t forget about feet protection: you may have the fastest or most supportive shoe from the store, but the reality is that most insoles are not protective enough for your feet. Think about getting insoles or seeking medical advice before risking any niggle or further damage.
But most importantly, smile! You’re at the beginning of an exciting journey!
Sorry to hear you’ve not been picked
It is not your year and we understand you may be disappointed. But it doesn’t mean you will not be able to race and reach your goal. It might be the perfect opportunity to still run but for a cause. Here are a few tips that might help you plan your season if you’re looking for an alternative.
Select a new goal race
You’ve not been picked, but it doesn’t need to be the end of the road. There are plenty of other incredible races. If you’re looking to get a PB or it is your first marathon, think about other flat courses such as Valencia Marathon or Edinburgh Marathon to name a few. It can also be the opportunity to PB on another distance (half marathon, 10k, or 5k). If you’re a more experienced runner, think about training for your first ultra, maybe start trail running or triathlon. Fun and challenge guaranteed!
Use this year to get stronger
You can still use this year to become stronger, start or finally make the most of a gym membership. Research shows that strength training can have a significant effect on your running. It will not only improve your performance and endurance but also help you to stay injury-free. Runners are usually recommended to visit the gym 2-3 times per week (but you can also do it at home with a couple of dumbbells or even just bodyweight).
If you’ve been injured in the past or if you are injured, think about adding these routines to your workouts to make sure you remain safe in training.
Don’t lose hope
You are not the only one. In 2020, only 3.71% of runners who entered the London Marathon ballot received a positive response. This is not the only opportunity to get a medal. You can still enter the ballot for next year, choose a charity spot or pick another race. For faster runners, you can also work towards getting a GFA entry.
Regardless of the race you’ll be aiming this year, make sure you don’t pick up any niggle or injury so that you can safely reach your target while having fun.