The London Marathon Experience

Jake Hayes, is a senior chiropractor at Action Potential Clinic, Bristol. Follow Jake and other members of the clinic

Have you ever wondered what its like to run the London Marathon? We sat down to find out with Jake Hayes (Action Potential Clinic, chiropractor) who has done just that a whopping 7 times!

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What was it like running the London Marathon?

It was a wonderful experience! At times it was very hard as it was hot this year. However, it is a fantastically supported event to be part of, with thousands of people lining the race there is literally not a hundred meters without people. This can be a little overwhelming due to the volume of people and the amount of noise that they generate. However, they provide fantastic support and really drive you on which keeps you motivated. I don’t run with my name on my vest anymore but if you do, you get what feels like 600,000 people shouting your name all the way which, feels pretty amazing!

What keeps you motivated when you are running such a long way?

If it’s a training run what keeps you motivated is the bigger picture. If you want to do something to the best of your ability then you need to put the time in. Apart from the fact that you enjoy it and you are out in the fresh air. Often at times training motivation for me is a bit of time to yourself, you can think about things and you see interesting things that you wouldn’t usually see.

In the actual run it is quite different, the motivation is to run as fast as you can whilst being quite disciplined – constantly checking your speed and your pace, checking runners around you and how are you feeling in terms of being relaxed, good posture, good running form. You check the runners around you to ensure you are following the racing line – to ensure that you are running as short a distance as you possible have to! You may recognise people around you and together you can share the load much like cyclists do.

I have always found a marathon a race of two halves, the first being relatively easy due to the excitement, seeing landmarks such as tower bridge, cutty sark and of course all the people lining the route. It feels amazing to run past the landmarks that you have seen on TV. However, you run over Tower Bridge and then you realise that you are only half way around. Up to this point you tend to run on a bit of a cloud of excitement and adrenaline, then at this point the adrenaline starts to go and it becomes a numbers game of how many miles you have left to run.

What was involved in the training for the marathon?

I follow a specific training plan by Pfitzinger and Douglas called Advanced Marathoning, this is a well recognised marathon training plan. This was an 18-week training plan that involved running between 55 and 70 miles per week (approximately 10 hours per week of training).

Fundamentally, to run a marathon you have to run distance, so one long run per week. You build up the distance covered during this run and should aim to run at least a couple of 20 mile runs in the training programme. Within the last 3 weeks you generally taper down the amount of miles you run. In my programme the pace and distance varied daily from 5-20 miles. This included tempo runs that are fast and short, longer and slower runs for endurance, interval training, track runs and 5k runs which are for speed, strength and psychological strengthening.

What are you high points from the marathon?

Ultimately, it is always a fantastic feeling of achievement to cross the finish line. You have put in a long training plan of 3-4 months on average and it is a long journey. Often initially this is a journey that you don’t know if you will be able to complete, as you don’t know if you can run 26 miles, as you won’t do this number of miles in training.

Also, seeing friends and family in the crowd, I’m lucky that I get to see my family 4 – 5 times around the route. Running past the landmarks that you have seen on the TV. from being a child is also a high point.

What tips would you give to anyone who wants to have a go at running London?

Start something simple by running short distances. It is a marathon and not a sprint! If you really want to do it, running a marathon is a big undertaking and is not to be taken lightly.

You need to see whether you enjoy running enough, and if you are physically capable of running well enough which, you won’t necessarily know to begin with, so just start by running two to three times per week for 20 minutes. You could walk and run, alternating just so you can build up your fitness.

Expect it to take time! It took me a year to train to do a sub 3-hour marathon, now because I run all the time it doesn’t take me, as long to reach the level of fitness required for this time

Remember to enjoy it!

by Hannah Longega, Physiotherapist, Action Potential Clinic, Kingswood

Running Tips for Beginners

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Do you want to have a go at running (having never thought about it before)? If so, then check out our tips for beginners….

Young couple run together on a sunset

1.Start with the right kit! ‘Get good shoes, go to your local running shop such as Easy Runner (http://www.easyrunner.co.uk), Moti (http://www.mymoti.com/bristol/), or Up and Running (http://www.upandrunning.co.uk/bristol) for expert advice on correct shoes for you, they don’t need to be expensive but they must be a good fit. This will help prevent injury and be more comfortable’ says Jake Hayes (Chiropractor and London Marathon veteran!)

Otherwise, running clothing should basically be comfortable you don’t need to have all the branded gear. Whilst it’s always great to have nice and shiny new gear, it really isn’t necessary for running.

2. Start gently, 20 minutes 3x per week is fine. Break it into run/walk as a good way to start, and then build up gradually. This will help it feel achievable and enjoyable.

3. If you are carrying an injury it is worth getting it checked out by your GP or a health professional before you start. This way you’ll be pain free when you start.

4. Warm up/cool down. Whilst there is some debate over this area, it will make sure you feel better in the hours after the run and as such we strongly recommend it. It will also make you body feel more comfortable when running. Cooling down isn’t just about static stretches make sure that you walk for a couple of minutes to allow your heart rate to gradually slow back down. Then focus on static stretches i.e. those you hold for 30 seconds. In particular focus on your legs, these are the areas that typically stiffen up post run.

5. Run with friends or a group. There are lots of people running nowadays, having company is a great motivator and distraction! Local clubs such as Bitton Road Runners (http://www.bittonroadrunners.co.uk) have beginners groups and a wealth of experience to benefit from; running clubs cater for all abilities not just for the elite.

6. Have a target or a desire, pick something achievable like a Parkrun – a free weekly 5km race, locally we have Ashton Court, Little Stoke, Mangotsfield/Pomphrey Hill and Chipping Sodbury (http://www.parkrun.org.uk). Maybe then aim higher, local races such as the Bristol 10k and the Bristol Half Marathon (http://www.runbristol.com) can give you a taste of the big city races or if you prefer  for something more local and lower key there is the Bitton 5k summer series held monthly at Bitton Station (http://www.bittonroadrunners.co.uk/events/5k.asp) .

 Otherwise think about why you want to get out running it could be as simple as to get some time away from the stresses of daily life. Everyone will have a different reason but do keep it in mind; this will make it easier to keep running.

7. Enjoy it! Running is a natural activity, we all run at some time in our lives, it is a great way to get fit, lose weight and is good for our overall wellbeing – it costs very little to benefit from the ‘running high’.