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Greg Whyte OBE

Physical Activity Expert

Elite Performance

Welcome to The Whyte Answer, a chance for you to hear from Professor Greg Whyte, a lead expert in the field of physical activity, here you have the chance to ask Greg any question you may have on the topic, no matter how simple or complex the matter, there is something for you here.


Top 10 Tips for the day of the Marathon

  • Don’t try anything new on the day (including new shoes!): Stick to what you know (and what you have practiced in training) and you will have a great day (if you are running for a charity make sure you have a couple of training runs in your new charity shirt).

  • Name: Make sure you have your name on your vest; having people shout your name is like having your own personal support team with you’re the entire way!

  • Give yourself time to get to the start: It always takes longer than you think to get to the start of the race so arrive in plenty of time to relax and soak up the atmosphere (make sure you pack your kit the day before and don’t forget your number!).

  • Energy & Hydration: Make sure that your energy levels are high and you are fully hydrated prior to the race. On the day before make sure you eat well (complex carbohydrates, porridge pasta, rice, potatoes are the runners favourites). On race day make sure you give yourself time to have breakfast (don’t overdo it but favourites include porridge & fruit juice).

  • Throw-Away: You could be waiting around for some time prior to the start of the race so take something to wear that you don’t mind throwing away (a bin liner is my personal favorite), and avoid overhydrating; you don’t want to be the one stopping for a wee at 1 mile!

  • Little, Often & Early: Start taking on fluids and nutrition early into the race and keep it up throughout the run but, make sure you avoid overloading the gut but consuming little (sips & snacks).

  • PACE: stick to your schedule; avoid going out too fast with the crowd (be realistic about your target time and select the appropriate starting pen). Success from your long runs in training is the best predictor of Marathon pace.

  • One foot in front of the other: that’s all there is to it. Break up the run into each individual mile; setting short-term targets means that you will continue to be successful. Your target is simply to run the next mile.

  • Smell the roses: After all the hard work in training don’t forget to ENJOY the experience and celebrate your success, you deserve it.

  • Don’t Panic! Your training will deliver success. Avoid making poor decisions prior to, or during the run. Stick to your plan and you will enjoy the finishing crowds.


Outdoor Fitness – London Marathon Fluid Tips

Fluids can be the make or break of marathon performance but it is not just about what you do on the day. Developing your optimal hydration strategy, what to drink and when to drink, starts in training and finishes with perfect execution on race day. Here are some tips for training and race day that will help you develop your perfect hydration strategy:

In Training

Train the gut: We now know that in order to optimise fluid uptake the gut needs to adapt to increased fluid availability during exercise; in other words, we can train the gut to improve fluid uptake. To that end, make sure your long training runs include fluids; not taking on fluid during training does not make you tough, it simply reduces your adaptation. This approach will also help you develop the optimal timing of fluid intake on race day.

Experiment:

In training you need to identify two key factors: (1) what drink composition works for you; and (2) what drinking strategy works for you. During your long runs experiment with different compositions and strategies to ensure you have the perfect approach for the day. Importantly, do not experiment on race day.

On Race Day

Don’t glug on the start line: For the London Marathon you will arrive at the start much earlier than you normally would for a race. Because of the early arrival the temptation is to continually drink which leads to the ever present endless line of runners at mile one stopping for a wee. Remember, you can not hyper-hydrate (i.e. increase the fluid content of your body), your target is to be euhydrated (normally hydrated).

Early, little and often: Don’t wait until you are thirsty to take on fluid. The best approach is to head off dehydration early so start taking on fluids early in the race. But, you don’t want to drink too much as it will simply sit in your gut and cause GI distress. Accordingly, you only need to take on a little fluid on each occasion. Because you are only taking on small amounts you should aim to hydrate often. Remember, you should have practiced and honed your strategy in training.


12 Week Half Marathon Programme

A = Easy Intensity = Able to hold a full conversation

LT = Marathon Race Pace = Moderate Intensity = just able to hold a conversation

AT1 = ½ Marathon Race Pace = Hard Intensity = Only able to converse in short sentences

AT2 = 10km Race Pace = Very Hard Intensity = Only able to converse in single words

WEEK 1

SESSION 1 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 2 45-minute run including 6 x (3minutes max effort (AT2+); 2 minutes (Recovery)

SESSION 3 Track: 1k (90s recovery), 2 x 800m (60s recovery), 4 x 400m (45s recovery), 8 x 200m (30s recovery) @ AT2

SESSION 4 Long Run: 60 min @ LT

WEEK 2

SESSION 1 Track: 5 x [400m, 2 x 200m 1 min recovery], 2 minutes between sets @ AT2

SESSION 2 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 3 Tempo Run: 45 minutes including 20 minutes @ AT2+

SESSION 4 5km RACE – PARK RUN

WEEK 3

SESSION 1 Track/Road: 6 x 3 minutes max efforts with 2 minutes recovery between efforts

SESSION 2 Fartlek: 45 minutes including 15 x (1 minute hard; 1 minute easy)

SESSION 3 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 4 Long Run: 75 min @ LT including 30 minutes @ AT1

WEEK 4

SESSION 1 Track: 20 x 400m (90 sec) off 2 minutes (running target: sub 1min 30s)

SESSION 2 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 3 60-minute run @ LT including 5 x (2 minutes @ AT1, 1 minute easy); 5 minutes easy; 10 x (1 minutes @ AT1, 1 minute easy)

SESSION 4 Long Run:90 minutes @ LT

WEEK 5

SESSION 1 Tempo Run: 45 minutes including 20 minutes @ AT2+

SESSION 2 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 3 Fartlek: 45 minutes including 5 x (1 minute hard; 1 minute easy)

SESSION 4 RACE or Time Trial: Select a known course of c.10km – race as fast as possible and note down time (10 minutes warm-up including 4 x 30s efforts; 10 minutes cool-down)

WEEK 6

SESSION 1 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 2 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 3 Track: 1k (90s recovery), 2 x 800m (60s recovery), 4 x 400m (45s recovery), 8 x 200m (30s recovery) @ AT2

SESSION 4 Long Run: 90 min @ LT

WEEK 7

SESSION 1 Track: 5 x [400m, 2 x 200m 1 min recovery], 2 minutes between sets @ AT2

SESSION 2 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 3 Tempo Run: 60 minutes including 20 minutes @ AT2+

SESSION 4 Long Run: 90 min @ LT

WEEK 8

SESSION 1 Track/Road: 6 x 3 minutes max efforts with 2 minutes recovery between efforts

SESSION 2 Fartlek: 45 minutes including 5 x (1 minute hard; 1 minute easy)

SESSION 3 45-minute run @ LT

SESSION 4 5km RACE – PARK RUN

WEEK 9

SESSION 1 Track: 20 x 400m (90 sec) off 2 minutes (running target: sub 1min 30s)

SESSION 2 60-minute run @ LT

SESSION 3 60-minute run @ LT including 5 x (2 minutes @ AT1, 1 minute easy); 5 minutes easy; 10 x (1 minutes @ AT1, 1 minute easy)

SESSION 4 Long Run: 2 hrs @ LT

WEEK 10

SESSION 1 45-minute run @ LT including 15 x (1 minutes @ AT1-AT2, 1 minute easy)

SESSION 2 60-minute run @ LT

SESSION 3 Fartlek: 10 minutes warm-up including 4 x 30s hard; 1 min hard; 1 min easy; 3 min hard; 1 min easy; 5 min hard; 1 min easy; 5 min hard; 1 min easy; 3 min hard; 1 min easy; 1 min hard; 1 min easy; 5 min cool-down

SESSION 4 Long Run: 90 minutes @ LT including 30 minutes @ AT1

WEEK 11

SESSION 1 45 minutes @ LT

SESSION 2 60-minute run @ LT including 10 x (2 minutes @ AT1-AT2, 1 minute easy)

SESSION 3 60-minute run @ LT including 30 minutes @ AT1

SESSION 4 Long Run: 60 minutes @ LT including 30 minutes @ AT1

WEEK 12

SESSION 1 45 minutes @ LT

SESSION 2 Road Speed: 10 minutes warm-up including 3 x 1 min hard effort; 5 x 1 mile (5 x 8min) @ AT2, 3 min recovery between runs; 10 min cool-down

SESSION 3 45-minute run @ LT including 10 x (1 minutes @ half marathon race pace, 1 minute easy)

SESSION 4 Half Marathon Race


Periodisation

The Development of a Training Programme

Warm Up



Marathon Tips


Getting Ready for the London Marathon


Greg's Open Water Swim Gym Routine


Open Water Swimming Tips