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Training Advice & Tips

Long Run Nutrition

This can often seem confusing. Here are the very basics you need to know to keep your fuelling simple and effective when running your long runs!


For any run longer than 90 minutes, taking on extra carbohydrates during the run will increase performance and recovery. This helps replenish the energy you have used up, which prevents muscle breakdown and fatigue.


On endurance runs, our bodies use carbs as fuel. If this runs out, we have to switch to using fat as fuel, which is a lot slower for our bodies to access. This is known as hitting the wall. Our steps feel heavy, and a hard effort is often just a shuffling pace.


  • Energy Gels

  • Energy Blocks/Chews

  • Carbohydrate Water Supplements

  • Sweets


Aim for approximately 60g of quick-release carbs per hour when running. Start taking carbs 15-30 min into your run, and every 15-30 minutes thereafter.


Take your carbs slowly, and always with water to help with digestion. Practice your nutrition when running to train your gut! Experiment with different strategies and products to see what works for you.

Mental Toughness

A marathon is a big undertaking. Things will get tough out there. When this happens, do you have the tools in place to push through mentally? Here are some top tips!

Hard Training Runs

Don't skip the long, difficult training runs. By getting through these tough runs, you will become more confident in your ability to push through and finish strong.

Positive Self Talk

When doubt creeps in and you want to stop, it can be easy to start bombarding yourself with negativity. Try changing the thoughts of 'I'm too slow' or 'I can't do this' to, 'Good work on moving forward' and 'You've got this, keep on moving'.

Remind Yourself Why

Come back to why you started. Maybe you are raising money for charity or you wanted to challenge yourself. Step out of your comfort zone. Remind yourself why you are out there. Dig deep and keep on running.


Having a few mantras can be hugely beneficial to keeping you moving. Here are a few examples to keep in mind on race day:

  • Run the mile you're in

  • Light and smooth

  • I can and I will

  • Today is my day

  • I trained for this

The Taper

This is the period at the end of your training plan where training load tapers down to help you build up to peak performance for race day.


During training our bodies accumulate a lot of fatigue and muscle damage. The purpose of the taper is to slowly let that fatigue dissipate and allow the muscles time to rest and repair. This allows you to come to race day feeling refreshed and ready to go!


For a marathon, a taper will usually come three weeks out from race day. The taper typically starts the day after the longest run of your training. Here are some top tips to make the most of these weeks!

Don't Change Your Routine

If you typically run 3 days per week, keep that up. If you typically run 5 days per week, run 5 days per week. If you suddenly reduce your volume too dramatically you may feel flat, heavy and as though you have forgotten how to run! Our bodies love routine, so stick to what you know. Sticking to your usual rhythm will reduce the risk of feeling flat on race day. The exception to this rule is if you feel over trained or if you are experiencing any sore or possibly injured muscles. If this is the case, take an extra day off per week.

Reduce Weekly Volume

Over the last few weeks, you should gradually reduce running volume. Two weeks out, reduce daily volume by 10-20 minutes. One week out, reduce daily volume by 20-30 minutes. By doing this along with the normal reduction in your long run length will drop your running volume appropriately. A 20-40% of training volume is usually considered the best.

Keep the Intensity

Don't completely lose the intensity of your training. Keep your faster runs in, as this helps keep the body primed and the mind sharpened for race day! These workouts aren't there to push yourself to the edge, but to help build running economy and dial in goal pace. Don't run them for as long as you would do during high mileage weeks but keep some sort of speed work in there.


Focus on getting good quality sleep and good quality food. The idea of the taper is to come in to race day feeling rested, confident and ready to run. Don't feel the need to drastically lower your food intake, and make sure you stay on top of you sleep.


As important as your training is, it is also important to be able to recover from your training volume too. Staying recovered will help reduce injury and keep you fit and healthy.


Being well rested is integral to a strong and healthy body. Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Reduce screen time before bed and prioritise getting sleep. You will feel so much better for it!


Marathon training takes a big toll on your body. You burn a lot of energy whilst running and you need to make sure you're eating enough to replace this energy. Carbs are important as an energy source, and protein is important to build up your muscles after exercise.

Don't Over-Do It

Trust your training plan. Don't add in any unnecessary miles, don't increase the pace of your easy runs. Stay the course and put the work in, but don't over-work. You should only do what you can recover from, anything more than that becomes detrimental.

Sarah Longstaff

Unleashed Fitness Coaching


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