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Rachel Kneller’s advice for first-time runners

Helpful tips if you’re new to the Virgin Money London Marathon

Passionate and successful new fundraiser

Women training

Are you a first time runner or someone who’s just ran for a little for exercise before? Whichever you are, you’re going to be going through a mix of emotions: excitement, nerves and anxiety. I’m sure you also have a list of questions floating around.

It is all normal and I definitely felt the same from the moment I received the email to say I had got a place. I’m not a natural runner and before the Virgin Money London Marathon 2018 I’d only ever done 5km runs for general exercise, with the odd 12km obstacle course race.

So, if you are in the same position that I was last year, here are my top five tips:

  1. Follow the training programme that you get from the Virgin Money London Marathon team. I followed the online one – it’s easy to follow and was my go-to running manual.
  2. Try to make sure you get three runs in each week as this will really help. When you’ve finished you feel such a great sense of achievement and it really does give you the boost to keep going.
  3. Run listening to music. I always did this, one ear piece in and low volume, so I could still hear what was going on around me. Listen to fun, funky, upbeat music that will carry you through your journey, especially when you get to the longer runs.
  4. Ask everyone supporting you to give you a song to add to your playlist. It’s great fun and reminds you of everyone that’s supporting you. Plus, you will never get bored of listening to the same tunes.
  5. Get friends or family to run with you, even if only for part of the route, to give you a little support and encouragement. They could even cycle next to you if running isn’t their thing.

The main thing to remember is you will have good and bad runs, you will possibly even have runs where you feel like you can’t do it but that’s normal. I had plenty of those and still got over that finish line.

Enjoy it – race day will be here before you know it.


If you also want to follow a training plan, you can view and download the Virgin Money London Marathon training plans.

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