As Charity of the Year for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK are joining forces for a year-long campaign – the Dementia Revolution – to power ground-breaking dementia research, overthrow old attitudes and lead the charge towards a cure. All money raised from this campaign will power the most ambitious dementia research endeavour the UK has ever seen- the UK Dementia Research Institute.
If you’re running London this year and you haven’t committed to raising money for a charity yet you can use your own place to support the Dementia Revolution. Find all the information at https://dementiarevolution.org/run/sign/use-your-ballot-place
The benefits of being a fundraising runner for the charity include:
-Joining a team of over 1,500 runners all running for the same cause
-Support and communications from now until race day, meet the team at expo
-Online community sharing stories and progress
-Post event reception
-Support from cheer points all along the route
- It’s natural to feel nervous on the start line. Everyone does. Don’t lose it now! You deserve your place. Relax. Take a moment to stand confidently on the start line, look around, you’ve made it. Reflect on two things, how far you’ve come in your marathon journey, the tough times, the worth it times, the difficult times, those that have helped you on the way, close your eyes, breathe deeply, exhale slowly, repeat, then think about what lies ahead and how nothing is going to stop you making that finish line.
- When the start signal goes don’t panic. Relax. Despite your heart rate racing, you’re probably not going to go anywhere for a few minutes as the runners in front of you move forwards and cross the start line. You’ve got plenty of time to get going. Walk into your race and get moving. Have some fun!
- Be disciplined in the first few miles. It’s going to be busy with runners all around you. You might be tempted to go out a little harder than planned. Don’t. Hang back and conserve your energy. It should feel easy at the start. If it doesn’t, you’re working too hard so slow down. Poor pace control at the start of your race can bring about a tough final third of the race. Be patient. Go into cruise control. Allow your pace, breathing and stride pattern to settle down. Just tick the first few miles of the race off in a consistent, metronomic style. Use as little energy as you can as the race unfolds. Feel yourself get into your running and allow your body and mind to settle down. Once you’ve got the first few miles under your belt you’ll ease into things, the nerves will pass and you’ll find yourself flowing and ready to tackle the full distance.
- There are many awesome sights on course, Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, Big Ben. Use these landmarks to break your race up into manageable chunks of distance and to tick off as you pass them. The points can be mental markers for you to aim at. Break your race down and focus on reaching the next important landmark.
- Run consistently. Even paced effort is where it’s at for a great marathon finish. A slow down is inevitable but what your striving for with even paced running is to delay that as much as possible. Start off calm, then cruise, then hold, then hurt, focus and carry on!
- Other runners are AMAZING! On race day you are surrounded by thousands of other runners just like you all out to achieve something amazing. Many will be first time marathoners. Most will have the same anxieties, concerns, hopes and dreams that you will! You can get an amazing feeling of encouragement, support, and togetherness from the runners on course on race day. Talk to each other, support each other, encourage each other and motivate each other. Be inspired by each other and remember how much of an inspiration you are to others.
- Avoid the wall. Runners struggle in the later stages of the marathon typically because they’ve got something wrong. They either haven’t trained adequately or appropriately for the task at hand, have started off way too fast and failed to distribute their effort economically and effectively throughout the entire race, have failed to be sufficiently fuelled and hydrated before and during the marathon and run out of energy or a combination of these. The best way to avoid the wall is to prepare for it not to be there. If on the day however you do find yourself significantly struggling in the later stages you’ll need to slow down. (You’ll probably have no choice). Drop your pace, allow yourself to find a new rhythm and get things under control. This might mean walking more than you had planned or expected. This is just fine. Focus on getting some fluids and fuel on board, cooling and calming down, composing yourself, breathing and relaxing, then continue putting one front in front of the other until you reach the finish line.
- The hurty bits. You need to be physically and mentally braced for the battle with yourself that lies ahead in the final few miles. Although your effort level will be higher, your fatigue greater and the pain more intense you’ve got to keep moving and keep striving to hold your even pace. This is the part of the marathon that physically and psychologically can be very tough. The roads seem long, the surface hard and the finish still some way off. You really have to dig deep. But know that everyone else with you is also sharing the same physical and psychological space as you. You’re in it together and everyone experiences tough moments in a marathon. It’s how you respond and react to these that will ensure your finish. You’ll have many doubts and anxieties. It’s physically demanding, psychologically challenging and emotionally draining. At points in the race everything is going to hurt and you are going to want to stop. Yet at the same time the truly amazing thing is that this experience can be quite transformational. After you’ve run a marathon you’ll feel like you can do anything.
- Think beyond what you think is possible. When you started your marathon journey you may have struggled to run just a few miles. Now you’re passing mile after mile, your improvement, strength and courage will take you to the finish. Never stop moving forwards. When you’re feeling rough and questioning if you can do it remind yourself of you far you’ve come, how much you’ve invested to reach this point and how much you want that finishers medal at the end! Lock into that feeling of success and keep running.
- When you see the finish. Keep as relaxed as possible. Run tall. Run strong. Hold your form. You don’t need to muster a sprint. Lift your spirits for the final push across the line. Raise you arms high in the air to celebrate your personal marathon success. Soak it up. Smile. You’ve earned it.