The London Marathon: final top tips from Tom Craggs

April 18, 2018

The London Marathon: final top tips from Tom Craggs

The London Marathon is here, the sun looks like it’s going to shine and all of those hard weeks and months of training come together this weekend. Here are my top tips for having an amazing race day!

  • Have your normal pre-long run breakfast - now is not the time to try anything new. Stay calm, relaxed and don’t rush your pre race eating

  • Keep it cool! It could be warm on Sunday so look to lightweight breathable fabrics like the Tribe Sports Tech Tank. Staying as cool as possible when the gun goes is crucial.

  • Eat 2-3 hours before the start of the race and take a snack with you for when you travel to the start.

  • Be positive! The training is in the bank, your biggest asset today will be your mind. Think back to the 2-3 runs you nailed, remember the cause you are running for and get into your positive bubble - you’re ready!

  • Aim to get to the start a minimum of 75 minutes before the gun goes, this will give you loads of time to move slowly, get your kit onto the storage lorries and join those all important toilet queues!

  • Even in warm weather it can get very chilly on Blackheath, so wear some old clothes to keep you warm, this will negate the need to run around to stay warm - you don’t want to burn any precious energy before the race.

  • Ditch the warm up – you have 26.2 miles to get into your running and if you spend time in the holding area warming up you will only need to stand still again when you get into your pen – save your energy.

  • Remember it’s a race about you against the distance – start sensibly. Running a good race is all aboutpace andpatience.Aim to run the first 5-10km either at your goal race pace or even a few seconds slower. If you are not worried about time work at a speed at which you can comfortably hold a conversation. Most people hit the wall in the marathon due to running the first 15-20 km too hard.

  • You will feel sensational as you run past the crowds at Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge - suck in every bit of the atmosphere of running the greatest marathon in the world….but take care your pace doesn’t suddenly shoot up!

  • If its very warm consider a cap and sunglasses which will allow you to keep your eyes relaxed and also retain some of the water you pour on your head and neck.

  • Manage your energy and fuel; aim to take on gels consistently from 45 minutes then one every 30-40 minutes, sipping on water but not drinking too much or more than your need. It could be warm on Sunday, so you might need to drink a little more, but too much will leave you feeling heavy and can be dangerous. Just drink to your thirst.

  • Through the final 10km focus on the km your are in. Perhaps dedicate every mile or km to someone important in your life – you won’t let them down when it really counts. Focus on a vest in front and aim to pull-in and pass the runners ahead of you. Keep your posture tall and relaxed.

  • When you cross the line pump your fist in the air, soak up all the atmosphere of those incredible final few miles, then keep warm by popping on your Tribe Sports sweatshirt and get some fluids and carbohydrates onboard nice and quickly.

Good luck!


Tom Craggs is an England National Endurance Coach. He also works as a coaching consultant for Race for Life, Polar and 16 other leading charities. Tom is also an Advanced Personal Trainer working with several well-known TV and media personalities.