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Last Minute London Marathon Advice

Apr 22, 2016 | Marathon Majors, Marathon Majors, Running, Running Advice | 10 comments

tom marathon 5

The miles are done, the long runs logged, the calves stretched and now you’ve got the carbloading fun to come. Here are my London Marathon tips -from someone who’s made the mistakes so that you don’t have to! (In no particular order…sorry).

  • Go to the expo with money and patience- it’s huge. Buy what you need and want AFTER collecting your bib. If you’re running the Virgin London Marathon as a one time thing  I would really recommend getting some stash, you’ll want to show off your VLM kit in the future!
  • Set up all your stuff for Sunday either tonight or tomorrow, the last thing you want to do is scrabble around on Sunday morning!
  • Charge your watch, phone, iPod or anything else you’ll want with you on race day. I turned off roaming whilst waiting for the race to start to conserve battery as mine drains really quickly. Delete some data if space is limited on your GPS watch!

tom marathon supporters

  • Know in advance where your family and friends are going to be along the route, that way you’ll have something to look forward to and can look out for them. I also have my family text me during the race with their exact location so that we don’t miss each other.
  • Go to the loo at every opportunity before you start running.  As soon as you get to the start area, get in line for the porta loos. I was in the queue for the loo when the gun went off when I ran the VLM and I didn’t start for another 45 minutes in the very last wave.
  • Bring throwaway clothes (and a bin bag) to keep you warm and dry before you start running. It’s supposed to be quite cold on Sunday, so a hat and gloves might be a good idea, ones that you don’t mind chucking after a few miles or passing off to your spectators. It’s better to be too hot and strip off as you run, than not be able to get warm!
  • Bring more snacks and fuel than you think you’ll need, you might drop some, or need more energy than usual.
  • Make a playlist or ask your friend/loved one to make one for you including some pumping/inspiring music to get you through when times are tough.
  • Know that it will be hard, have a mantra to get you through. I shared my favourite Marathon Mantras here.

marathon running inspiration

  • Remember you can travel for free on the tube as long as you have your bib on, however if you live at an unmanned station you may have to jump a barrier! Sadly your spectators do still have to pay!
  • The official VLM tracker will probably be slow- tell your supporters not to panic if you’re not on time.
  • Take a look at the course, mentally break it into manageable sections. For me that’s 5/6 mile chunks, when I also take my gels.
  • Lube up. Between your toes, your nipples, armpits, inner thighs. If you think it will chafe, it will.
  • Try to enjoy it! Whether it’s your first, your seventh or your twenty first marathon, you’ve worked hard to get to the start line – think of this as your victory lap after months of training!

I’ve pulled together a few other blogger’s London marathon race recaps, they have some useful advice (and some emotion/motivation) on running the 26.2 miles through this great city.

My first ever marathon 

Naturally Leah – London Marathon Race Recap Part 1 and Part 2 

Tina Muir – A London Marathon Dream Come True 

Merrie Miles – Hand in Hand 

Miles Fitter – London Marathon 2015

A Healthier Moo – London Marathon 2014


If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me at I’ll be on the left hand side at mile 8- see you on the course!!



  1. katieferg89

    I am taking THE biggest tub of vaseline ever and definitely taking more from the lovely people who offer it around the course. And wearing a hat. Whereas in 2013 I got fabulous tan lines…..!

  2. Cara

    Thank you for this Charlie!!

  3. Cara

    Hopefully see you at mile 8!

    • Chiswick mum

      It’s actually a bit further along, closer to mile 9!

  4. Lucy

    Charlieee, reading your blog has massively helped me get through training. I will be looking out for you at mile 8! Thanks for all the last minute tips! x

    • Chiswick mum

      It is probably closer to 9, and I’ll be wearing that same pink coat with Charlie standing next to me I hope! Good luck to you all.

  5. Jo

    At Brighton last week, i used the Saucony( the sponsor) ‘find your strong’ as my mantra.
    Also if you aren’t going out somewhere for dinner on Sunday night after the race, I suggest make something to have for dinner so you don’t have to cook when you get home; my last London, I made a shepherd’s pie for when I got home and it was just what I wanted.
    Probably a bit late for this one now but on the Marathon Talk podcast, they suggested getting everything you need ready some time this week, so that you have nothing to do the day before, which will help the pre race nerves.

    Two girls in my running club are doing it tied together as a three-legged-race – they might never speak to each other again by the end!!

  6. Rachel

    I’m not running London but these tips are great for any marathon! 🙂 Happy race weekend to everyone racing!

  7. mbtutterow

    Thanks for the shout-out, and best of luck to all the runners!

  8. Pam

    Hope to see you at mile 8. I’ve really enjoyed reading your London posts over the last month. After reading this, I plan to get all my gear organized today so tomorrow can be spent stretching, rolling and relaxing in the hotel!


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