Marathon Race-Week Q+A: Liz Yelling

Put your last-minute marathon questions to double Olympian Liz Yelling

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16/04/2010 at 12:23

Hi everyone

Double Olympian - and Lucozade Sport Super Six mentor - Liz Yelling will be online between 1pm and 2pm today to answer any queries you might have about race week and the big day itself.

Liz has been competing as a top international athlete for more than 15 years. In 2006, she won the Bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and she has twice represented Great Britain in the Olympics (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008).

Start posting your questions now - that way, Liz will be able to get stuck in straight away rather than having to deal with too many questions all at once.


16/04/2010 at 12:26

Hi Liz

 I'm a big fan of yours and I hope to see you at Edinburgh marathon this year.

My question is about long runs, I am training for a sub 3:45 marathon, I normally run my long runs at about 9 min or 9 min 30 pace, but last week my plan asked me to run it at 8:30 pace.  Is this too fast?  I didn't make it by the way ended up completing it in 9:30 pace.

My best half is 1hr 45 - do you think a sub 3:45 is asking to much of me?

 Thanks Liz


16/04/2010 at 12:31
What pace do you do your long runs at? Is it MP + x secs for the duration for instance or do you do progressive long runs where you start slow and reach MP for the final few miles?
16/04/2010 at 12:32

Hi - I'm doing Brighton this Sunday. I have my target time, pace band all sorted out and feel ready, but my question is, if things go wrong and I start missing the targets what's the best way to salvage a good race; should you work out new splits, or just hang on or what? 


16/04/2010 at 12:39
Hello Kirsty, your MP for 3.45 is 8.35 miling so yes 8.30 is too fast for your long runs. I would aim to run your long runs slower than your Marathon race pace and then add some sections (3 x 15mins or 60mins) at your race pace into your long runs when you are 4-3 weeks out. So for now 9.30 miling seems perfect! Yes 3.45 seems a very realistic goal for you assuming your get the training in and address your nutrition and hydration requirements.

MM: I mix my long runs, so some are slow over distance, some are gradual increase in pace, but my MP race pace is 5.40 and I run a 2 hour tempo around 6min miles 3 weeks out, most of my long runs are done at 6.20-7min miles.

16/04/2010 at 12:42
Wobbled: The best way is to have a window if pacing, so get a pace band for your target time, but also for a time a little slower that you would be happy with so you have some space for error. Also if the times start going and you find yourself off track it is better to have a back up plan in your mind so you don't just loose it. I would say if you start dropping off run how you feel and don't look at your splits again, and just aim to run the best you can on the day!
16/04/2010 at 12:48

Hi Liz

Havent really got a question, just to say hello and saw you at Wokingham, well for a second until you belted it down the road and over the motorway bridge.

Your an inspiration to all runners and that run in Beijing was probably one of the gutsiest performances ever of a British athlete.

Good luck with everything.

And 1 week to go till London woohooo cant wait 

16/04/2010 at 12:52

Hi Buzz Lightfeet, Thank you very much! Good luck for London!
16/04/2010 at 12:56
Hi Liz. How many gels do you take for 26.2? I took 8 in Paris which saw me through a 3:13 PB with no issues. Is that a lot?
Keep it up Liz. You are an inspiration to us mortals.
16/04/2010 at 12:56

Hi Liz.

 I running my first marathon in London next sunday.  My training has been going well and I am now in the final stages of tapering. My question, or concern is, on the longer runs 3+ hours I tend to cramp up badly in my right calf and left thigh. I have tried salt tablets and changed strectches but the cramp seems to return. 

It is frustrating as I seem to maintain a good pace and stamina isn't a major issue. Can anything be done to combat the cramp before or during? The very least I would like to do is finish the race after all the training.



16/04/2010 at 12:56

Hi Liz,

 saw you at Silverstone last month - I had a little tear in my eye, you were fab! My question: I've managed to do everything right up till now, and I'm on course for my first (super slow, but that's not the point - a year ago I couldn't run 20 seconds!) marathon. But I've managed to get a blister on my toe due to an ill fitting sock.

 So my big question: what's your secret cure for blisters, and do you have a favourite brand of socks?!

16/04/2010 at 12:58

Hi Liz,

I am runnnig my first marathon next weekend and am now starting to get very nervous, dread may be more apt.

Any advice on dealing with the nerves?


16/04/2010 at 12:59

Hi Liz, my question is regarding post marathon running.

How soon after a race do you look to get back into training? I know rest is important but don't want to sit around for too long.

Thanks for you time

16/04/2010 at 13:01

Hi Liz,

I notice you mention over distance work, which seems to feature in most elite marathoners' training programmes. A 28 miler 3-4 weeks out would seem to be a reasonable idea but my question is do you think a session like this or the overall weekly mileage in the last 12 weeks is the biggest factor in holding pace in the last 10K of a marathon?

16/04/2010 at 13:02

Hello Liz, Im running Stratford on 25th and i have a stiff achilies but its not too bad. My question is will i gain anything by running in these last days or would i be better off just resting for the big day?

16/04/2010 at 13:02
Jim: I take 6 gels and energy drink during the marathon, starting at 15k and every 5k after that, so it seems your 8 gels is not too much and if you are running strong at the end you know you have got your training and your nutrition right for you.

John: Cramp can be a number of things. It can be nerve related, so could be worth getting your back check, it could be de-hydration, or fatigue, the best thing I can say is to drink an electrolyte drink in the days leading up to the marathon, and ensure you have a good hydration strategy during the race. Good luck! I am sure you will make that finish line.
16/04/2010 at 13:03
Hi Liz. I am running my first big ultra next weekend, the 53 mile Highland Fling. I have just short of a month to recover/prepare for the Edinburgh Marathon. What would you recommend in terms of recovery and runs during the month leading up to Edinburgh given my slightly unusual/mad preparation? Given the nature of the Highland Fling, 90% of my preparation has been trail running. Thanks
Edited: 16/04/2010 at 13:05
16/04/2010 at 13:03

Hi Liz, hope you don't mind a semi-serious question, and a fun one!

First, do you find you get all kinds of strange aches and pains turning up during taper?  And what's your tip for telling niggles from something that really needs some attention? (Because a lot of us on Spink's thread are niggling like mad!)

Second, do you think we'll ever see any of you elites doing London Marathon at the back in fancy dress, taking 5-6 hours, just for fun?

(edited for spelling)

Edited: 16/04/2010 at 13:07
16/04/2010 at 13:08
Hi Liz,

My last long run was a week ago today in Florida and was really hard. I think because of the heat. I got blisters and haven't wanted to go out since (jet lag + blisters). I could go out today, but don't really want to.

How important is it for me to get a few short runs in before the big day?

Thanks for your help.
16/04/2010 at 13:08

Hi Liz,

You are a Legend...

I've missed a few long runs so here goes.

My longest run is only 20 miles and I've done a few 18's and a 19...usually I would have done a 22.

My longest run pace is typically between 08:30 - 08:45 which I'm comfortable at, my speed sessions 800m repeats are run at about 06:50 pace, tempo runs tend to be between 07:15 - 07:30......given all that and hopefully you have a calculator I was wondering what your advise on pace would be, I've done 8 marathons and my PB is 3:19 for the marathon, I just feel undercooked through lack of long runs and lack of general mileage. Part of me thinks I should go out at 07:30 pace and see what happens, I just know that wall is waiting for me.

Ps. looking forward to seeing you win London soon

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