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Running School: Marathon Chats with Coach Mike

Oct 25, 2013 | Running | 3 comments

Did you know that it takes female runners 6 years to reach their prime… meaning I have another 3 years of running until I get there!

Last week I went to a talk at Sweaty Betty Soho, by Mike Antonaides-founder and director of The Running School about running, specifically marathon training. Something that is obviously on my mind a lot at the moment!

Most people aren’t taught to run properly, we just run as an extension of walking, using our hip flexors and quads rather than glutes and hamstrings. It’s this lack of activation of the glutes and hamstrings that causes ITB problems.

To improve your running, you need to change the way you land- you’ll run faster, and you’re less likely to sustain an injury by reducing the amount of time your feet spend on the ground. This translates to landing on the ball of your foot, rather than the front or heel. Apparently it should be more like a cycling motion than a pendulum (like my heels strikes!)

To get more of idea of this, take a look at the videos on The Running School’s website.

When you run you put between 3 and 8 times your body weight through your body. When we get injuries they are usually through biomechanics/inefficiency. Every time we get injured, or even a slight niggle, our biomechanics change to adjust for the injury. The best way to avoid injuries, and get lactate out of the system is to warm up properly, using dynamic movements in different directions. Stretching properly at the end of a run is really important, holding stretches for a long time (sort of like Yin yoga!)

Your arms are actually more important than legs for running, pumping your arms moving backwards and forwards to chin level, helps with balance, rhythm and speed. Just try not to cross your arms across your body- something I am at fault from doing!

Marathon Training Facts and Tips

  • You take 44,000 steps during a marathon. 
  • To run a 2.08 marathon you would need to run 19 1/2 km per hour
  • Mike suggested strength training twice a week alongside running 4 times a week when training.
  • To train your core you should make rotational movements whilst standing up, using equipment such as medicine balls
  • Single leg weights- like lunges, are key for strength training, after all you spend half of your time on one leg when running!
  • Walking fast is really inefficient and therefore the best way to lose fat (walk at 4mph at an incline of 3%) It also helps build endurance time on your feet. 
  • Hills are tiring for the heart and lungs, but great for the joints. 
  • It takes 6 hours to change your running technique (not as long as I thought!!)
  • Mike gets his runners to run short and fast, putting less stress on the body but making it work harder
  • Rest days are just as important as training day- you should either train 2, rest 1, or train 3, rest 2, for a total of 2 rest days a week. However, you shouldn’t sit still on a rest day, it’s important to keep moving!
  • Alcohol reduces recovery by 30% 
  • Straight after the marathon (or long race) you should take an ice-bath to help repair microtears. 
  • It takes at least 5 months of work to get ready for a marathon, as well as cutting down on alcohol and eating correctly. 
I enjoyed Mike’s talk, and he has convinced me that not only do I want to sign up for more marathons, but I perhaps could run even faster than I am currently- whilst not running for longer than 2hrs 30min in total while training! 
Sweaty Betty and The Running School kindly gave us a voucher to redeem for a 30min session at the school, and I can’t wait to give it a go when I get back from New York. 
Sweaty Betty guest instructor classes are free and open to members (sign up online!) They also host weekly free fitness classes at all of their stores.


  1. Tess @ FitBits

    Ooh Charlie this is a very interesting post! I’ve been thinking about getting my running style looked at, as I’m definitely a heel striker and know I could be much more efficient. Especially with my first winter of marathon training up ahead, I need to get sorted pronto! x

    • Charlie

      Oh you should, will share my experience at The Running School once I’ve been! I heel strike too!


    Oooh that looks like a great evening, I would have love to have go. Sounds very interesting.


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