Julie Creffield, author of The Fat Girls’ Guide To Marathon Running, shares her top tips with runners for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
Taking on a marathon is a daunting task, particularly if – like most of those running for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust – it’s your first. This year the marathon falls on the 25th anniversary of Stephen’s death, making it particularly poignant for all those running. The Trust decided to add inspiration to all the perspiration by organising an evening with Julie Creffield, who writes popular blog toofattorun, recently published The Fat Girls’ Guide To Marathon Running, and is an all round good egg. I was really chuffed to sneak a place at the evening, even though the furthest I normally run is to catch the train…
All the Trust’s marathoners said that running for a cause they really care about keeps them motivated whilst training, but Julie had some other practical advice to get them to the finish line. I’m sharing some of her wisdom to help others, and if you get something out of it, please make a donation to the Trust or sponsor one of their runners.
Julie’s top tips
- Have a plan. Work out which will be your fast miles and where you expect to go more slowly; if people are coming to cheer for you, tell them in advance where to be; think about the sights and sounds that will motivate you, so you can count down to them as you run.
- Let loved ones know that in the six weeks run up to the marathon, you are the Mo Farrah in your family. That means you need looking after – you don’t want to be humping shopping and get an injury at the last minute that means you have to pull out.
- Don’t change anything on the day. Wear the kit you have practised in. Eat and drink as you have been during your training. Marathon day is not the time to find out that your expensive new trainers give you blisters!
- Vaseline is your friend. It’s not glamorous, but every runner gets chafing, and often in the most unpleasant of places. Avoid the worst of it by lubricating liberally! You can also avoid it by re-dressing carefully after a toilet stop – lots of chafing happens because people rush to get dressed and don’t put their clothes back on properly.
- Have an emergency plan. Statistically more people die playing monopoly than running a marathon, but its still worth planning for the unexpected. Know what point you are happy to walk from and how you will get in touch with your loved ones if they, or you, are not in the place you expect at the end.
- Make sure you have someone to travel home with. You’ve already been heroic and now your blood sugar will be low and you will be exhausted. Now is the time to take it easy and let someone else take the strain of making sure you get home safely.
- Remember the difference the money you raise will make. For Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust it means more support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them learn about different careers, and helping them get the qualifications, knowledge, skills and confidence they need to follow their dreams.
A massive thank you to Julie Creffield for giving up a precious evening to talk to #StephensTeam and for sharing her amazing expertise! If you like what you’ve read, please show your appreciation by supporting the runners and donating to the Trust at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/25thanniversaryappeal or by texting the word SLCT25 to 70070 followed by either £50, £25, £10 or £5.