Beginner-based marathon advice with Mike Gratton

Former FLM winner has the answers for all your training and racing questions

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07/04/2008 at 10:25

I'm around off and on now until Wed when I will transfer to the FLM Expo so may not get to do much posting - but please pop along to our stand (2:09 events stand 111) to say hello and ask any last minute questions.

As in my reply to Fi-fi - you have done the work and this week you are just preventing any negatives and trying to think as positively as you can ( which is the hardest part now).

Last tip is not to overeat this week - concentrate on the carboloading regime in the last 48hrs only and add some salt to your diet as water will always chase sodium and it will help you be fully hydrated before the start.

07/04/2008 at 10:28


Is there any chance that your physio can strap your ankle on Friday or Saturday - it is quite a skill - otherwise I would suggest a tubigrip bandage that you can get from Boots and most supermarkets but in reality they keep swelling down but don't offer much support.

07/04/2008 at 10:28
ok no worries.. i will go and see her on saturday if possible! thats a good plan!
07/04/2008 at 10:51

I was out in the snow too yesterday morning - very cold toes I can tell you and was paranoid about slipping over!

Started a cold last Friday - not good timing - but hope it will go in time - my last 12 mile LSR was cut to 10 as I felt I didn't want to push it. Lots of vitamin C, lemsip and fluids and I hope all will be well.

 Just a few short ones left now - its my second FLM - concentrating on the mind games now - even my 4 mile runs are visualised as being along the embankment - the long straight before I get home is Birdcage walk.... how I feel after 4 miles is how I will feel after 25 miles ...I hope this will do the trick - we will see.

 Good luck all!

07/04/2008 at 15:38

Just to say thanks to Mike and everyone else on this forum.  The advice has been great!  I enjoyed my 8 mile run in the snow yesterday, the hip has eased considerably since I had the orthotics fitted.  I even relaxed enough to stop and walk occasionally to admire the scenery! (Grey skies and Canada geese on the Jubilee River).

Good luck to everyone and hope the last minute preparations are going well.  I am off this evening to inspire the beginners at my running club, they always look so nervous on the first training night.  Not as nervous as I will be on Sunday!

07/04/2008 at 16:30

Hi Mike - this is my first post on the RW forum.

I've been trying to follow the RW guide for a sub-4hr marathon and on Easter Sunday I attempted a 22 mile training run but, the adverse weather meant that I lasted only around 14 miles. However, my right ankle has been injured since that run. I strongly suspect this might have been caused by the camber of the pavement on a straight ten mile stretch. At first the pain wasn't too bad but, I ran in a 5k race last Wednesday which seemed to worsen the injury. I haven't run since then to give it time to recover. The swelling has subsided but, I'm still limping a bit when I walk. My concern is that I won't have recovered in time for the big one this Sunday. What do you think I should do? Make an appointment to see a physio? Should I run again before Sunday?

My last long run was 18 miles a couple of weekends ago but, I'm getting paranoid now that I haven't done enough long training runs to achieve a sub-4hr time. The longest I've managed in this campaign is 20 miles (clocked 3:03) but, that was way back at the start of March.

Any pearls of wisdom you have to offer will be greatly appreciated.

07/04/2008 at 16:46


You don't mention your other training, but I suggest that if you covered all other training up to the injury then you will be Ok for back ground. More important is the injury and I think you need to see a physio as soon as possible to get an assessment to see if it is going to stand up to the marathon.

Don't run again until you have seen the physio and fingers crossed all will be OK.

07/04/2008 at 21:27

Hi Mike,

Thanks so much for your reply and your words of encouragement on my attempt this year - you have boosted my confidence more than you can know at this critical time. They say the marathon is 90% a mental battle, and you've just contributed a good few percentage points to my offensive!

It was also great to hear that you know someone personally who's going through what I've been through over the last year or two. I will heed your advice, go for it this year (all guns blazing!) and then reassess my running goals afterwards.

As it happens the dull ache in my ankle has all but gone (the rest has really helped), I spoke to my physio by phone today who is also happy with the way things are, so it seems all systems are go and we are on for next Sunday!

I'm off up the Expo on Weds, so hopefully see you then to thank you in person.



07/04/2008 at 22:03
Many thanks to Mike and everyone else who has contributed to this thread.  It has been most inspirational.  Good luck everybody.  I am aiming to go with the get-you-round group, so I shall hopefully see most of you disappearing into the distance.
07/04/2008 at 22:06

Mike0 you're not going to disappear after sunday are you?- some of us have 7 weeks to go before our first atten=mpt at this event- lots of advice still needed!!

Good luck to all for sunday!!

07/04/2008 at 22:48

Hi Mike,

my run went well, i did it in the snow, and in the end i did do it at just under marathon pace and felt great after with no ill effects, so it has given me great confidence for sunday

My next question is.. what time should we aim to get to the start, I will be in the sub 4 hour section. Apologies if this has been asked before.

Thanks so much for your help, i haven't posted threads regularly but just reading everyone elses has made a huge difference.


08/04/2008 at 17:43


You need to be there a good hour before to get orientated, find the kit lorries, go to the loo and line up.

08/04/2008 at 17:46

I will be signing off now until after the event  as I'm at the expo - but will be around after to answer questions until the thread dies away.


PS. I will be broadcasting for BBC Interactive on the mens elite race on Sunday - you won't get to here it and I won't get to see you but I will get down to the Embankment later in the day to see the last runners come in.

08/04/2008 at 20:39
Hi all. Good luck to you all on Sunday. It's my first Marathon on Sunday, and will have to limp around as I'm only just over a broken leg. Great training for a marathon that was! Can anyone tell me the stand number for RW as I cant remember? Cheers.
08/04/2008 at 21:07

Good luck everyone for Sunday. Thanks Mike for your words of wisdom, I have packed the extra shoes and socks as recommended.

Am going to Expo on Friday and really looking forward to it. Might be a little tired as would have worked through the night on Thursday so that I could have a day off on Friday but it will be worth it I am sure.

Gnarly Buttons I am probably going to be in the 'get you round group' running for Asthma UK so see you there.

Best wishes, see you at the finish!


09/04/2008 at 11:17

Hi Everyone

Haven't posted on here before but have been reading all your queries, comments and  answers over the last couple of months. To be honest I haven't needed to ask anything cos its always been asked by somebody else and the answers were really helpful. This is my first marathon and knowing that so many people are all in the same frame of mind with the same worries etc is a huge boost. Really looking forward to meeting loads of other like minded nutters on Sunday and just wanted to say GOOD LUCK EVERYONE, HAVE A GREAT DAY WHATEVER YOUR GOAL, WE ARE ALL WINNERS!!!

Best wishes, see you there!


09/04/2008 at 12:31

Hi Mike and everybody (if anyone is still reading this thread)

 I am just back from COMPLETING the Paris Marathon, 4hr 36 which ranked me 46 out of 121 in my group!  I am over the moon - and if my knee hadn't hurt so in the last 3 miles, I could have done better... Already thinking about another!

Just an "I wish I'd known that" tip for you FLM-ers: if its forecast cold still for Sunday, or you are likely to be nervous, take a gardening/painting sweater that you can afford to ditch, or get one from a charity shop.  Everyone just peels them off at the start, and I understand they are given to charity.  I was shivering in 6degrees in Paris, and the bin-bag was ni help!

Above all, savour the experience - for me it was once in a lifetime (I said) and I was so ecstatic to be part of it.  Best of luck - have a good race.

09/04/2008 at 17:32

Great going Crazy Lady, good tip Thanks.

All the best to every one have a FUN day  

11/04/2008 at 22:52

Good Luck to all of you especially the FLM Virgins amongst you.

Best advice I can offer is to.......Just enjoy the experience

 Hi Mike,

back to the physio again today, not my year again. I shall hopefully be running in Cork though. I will let you know the result if I can get there fit and well.

Enjoy your 25th Anniverary btw.

14/04/2008 at 17:12

Hope everyone did OK.  I deferred due to broken toe [& then sciatica set in as i had a go too soon just in case!]

See you all next year, & many many thanks to you Mike for your care.  

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