Marathon Training – 7 Tips for Boosting Your Performance

If you’re planning on taking part in a marathon, you have plenty of company. For example, there are around 40,000 runners on the London marathon

What makes running 26 miles so popular, as it’s a significant investment of time and effort?

Maybe it’s just proving that you have full self-discipline. Or is it hearing a crowd cheer for you as you reach the finish line?

What You Need to Know Before You Start Training for a Marathon

Learn how to maximize your performance, and stay safe, as you start training.

Training Tips for Your Safety

Long-distance running puts a great deal of stress on your body. Some studies have uncovered that more than 50 % of marathoners encounter running injuries each and every year.

It’s also imperative to stay alert anytime you practice outdoors by yourself.

Check these tips to stay safe and help prevent injuries:

1. Talk to your doctor

Talk to your doctor and discuss any concerns about your health with your physician. If you have symptoms like recent chest pain or stress fractures, you should be extra careful. You may be advised against running if you have that kind of symptoms.

2. Watch your weight

Exercising comes with an appetite, and the more you train, the more you need to eat. You’re likely to eat more when you start running, so you might want to diet first if you have excess weights to shed.

3. Are you ready for the race?

Evaluate if you’re prepared for a marathon race. Many experts advise that you need to be running for at least a year and try at least one 5K race first.

4. Run with a running buddy

If you train in parks and other public areas, especially in the evening, invite a running buddy along. You’ll lessen your risk of becoming disturbed, and you can help each other receive any necessary medical attention more quickly. Carry your phone with you in a running belt in case for an emergency.

5. Face the traffic

You’ll have more time to avoid risks like inattentive drivers by running in the opposite direction of traffic.

6. Stay hydrated

Drink enough water or sports drinks. Failing in that is one of the most common mistakes runners make.

Prepare to consume lots of fluids throughout the day of your race if it’s hot.

Tips for Boosting Your Performance

Even if you’re racing just for your satisfaction or fun, this is your chance to shine. Knowing how to train efficiently will help you finish faster.

Try these strategies to boost your performance:

1. Have rest days

You probably know that sufficient recovery time supports your body to heal. It also increases your speed.

Research shows that many runners improve their speed when they cut back to 3 or 4 days of training instead of 5 or more per week.

2. Have an active rest

What do you do on those extra days? Swimming, yoga or gym will give you a workout while your running muscles take a break.

3. Vary your runs

Assure you can stay on your feet for 3 hours or more, and shift your long runs with shorter ranges or speed work. The practice is the best way to get used to long distances.

4. Warm-up and cool down

Start and end your exercises with less demanding section like walking to prepare your body for what’s ahead and support recovery afterward. Have your stretches at the final moments when your muscles are relaxed.

5. Vary your weeks

Spend the last two weeks resting more and running shorter distances. Don’t try to run more on the last minute. You’ll feel stronger and fresher on the day of the race.

6. Consult a running coach

Whether you’re a veteran runner or it’s your first marathon, a running coach can design a program for you that helps to reach your goals and stay safe.

7. Family support

Family support is an essential part of the training. Let your friends and family know how they can support you too.


Running a marathon can be rewarding, but you’ll need to decide if this is the kind of engagement you want to make.

As long as you stay active and take on meaningful challenges, you can consider yourself a winner whether you race for prize and glory or just for fun.

You can find more marathon training tips from

Triathlon Guide for Beginners

This general guide for the novice triathlete may help to smooth the path to your first race. I hope it encourages you in the learning process for your first triathlon.

This may be a “one-off” experiment for you, so we understand the need to improvise during that first experience. Invest to the proper gear later once the “bug” catches hold.


Before the race: Make sure you eat well the night before the race and have a good breakfast. You will use as much energy as you can consume.



You’ll need a swimsuit and goggles. Triathlon-specific single or two-piece costumes are made for versatility and extra comfort, especially on the bike. Only invest if you plan to be a regular competitor.


It must be roadworthy and comfortable fit for your size. It can be a mountain bike, a hybrid, or a tourer; it need not be a “racer.”

Many borrow a bike for their first race, which is fine. If you hire, make sure you spend a little time getting familiar with it and check that it is roadworthy.

If you plan to use a non-racing bike, it may be worth investing in “slick” tires. Taking a mountain or hybrid out on the road and “racing” is ok. The resistance caused by the extra tire tread will mean you have to work harder to maintain your speed.

The other mandatory piece of equipment is a helmet.

All triathlon races operate a “no helmet, no race policy.”

You must keep the helmet strapped on leaving transition. You may not release it until you are back in the transition area.



This is the section that you go through between Swim and Bike and Bike and Run.

You “rack” your bike here, together with any other essential items of kit or sustenance (drink and or food).

It’s a good idea to have a lidded box into which you place your “bits” to snack during and after the race.


You will put on your trainers after the swim and wear them through the bike and run sections. If you use cycle-specific shoes (clip-on style), then change to your trainers on the second transition.

There is no right or wrong way in your first race. If you are a “strong” cyclist, you will go to the “clip-on” route because you’ll feel more comfortable and can use the footwear to your benefit.

If cycling is not your strength at this early stage, you’ll not get help from the clip-on style shoe. Instead, you will lose time passing through the second transition, which you can’t make up over the relatively short bike section.


A good pair of trainers is the primary requirement.


After exiting the water, you will be on the bike for the best part of 30 minutes or more and running for 20 to 25 minutes.

The nature of the event means you work hard throughout this period. Assuming you have done a reasonable level of fitness preparation, you will work at your “aerobic threshold” level. Pace knowledge is not likely to be a huge issue.

Therefore, assuming they hold the race in air temperatures exceeding 10°C, minimal clothing will be adequate.

That is to say:

Clothing Advice to Female Racers

Continue from the pool through the race in your costume. Supplement your dress with the required footwear and a number belt (you must display the printed race number which you get at registration).

You can put a T-shirt on (with a number fixed). The dampness from your swimsuit will make it wet and cause it to lose a lot of its heat conserving properties.

Clothing Advice to Male Racers

You must cover the upper torso in triathlon racing.

Standard triathlon wear is a one-piece singlet or a two-piece suit that covers the upper torso, and matching swim trunks, plus number belt.

Most novice racers will use regular trunks and cover the torso with a T-shirt. You put it on during the first visit to transition, before the helmet!

It is worth considering bringing “arm warmers,” which can be slipped on in transition and rolled up only if the air temperature gives cause for concern.

A final note: nudity in transition is allowed, but not recommended.

Race Format

Familiarize yourself with the bike course. If you can, try it out in the weeks before the race.

Arrive early to prepare for the race. You have to:

  • Find the venue
  • Park your car and access/set up your bike
  • Attend Registration
  • Visit the toilets
  • Change
  • Have a natter to your friends
  • Rack your bike
  • Plan what to wear
  • Arrange your race kit
  • Warm-up
  • Visit the bathrooms
  • Attend the Pre Race Briefing

You’ll enjoy the race more if you leave yourself a good 60 minutes to complete this process.

Tips for the race

Check the Race Briefing

Check the last-minute rules. They usually give instructions to enhance the safety of the race.

Relax for the proper swimming rhythm

Relax at the start and ease into your swim rhythm over the first two lengths.

To overtake in the pool, you tap the person in front’s feet. They pull aside at the next end turn and allow you through. Vise verse if you are “tapped.”

The Pool Race official will stop you if you ignore this basic rule!

Beware of a slippery pool-side as you exit the pool area.

Prepare for the transition

Think in advance the sequence you will use through the first transition (T1).

Shoes on > T-shirt on > (no T-shirt; then number belt on) > helmet on > remove the bike and proceed, in the designated flow direction, to the exit.

They permit no cycling in transition, so you mount your bike at the exit line or beyond.

It’s a good idea to set the bike’s gear in the desired ratio to enhance your getaway. Nothing worse than finding you’re in top gear and there’s a steep hill staring you in the face!

Biking tips

Rules of the road apply. Marshals are there to make sure you go the right way.

Ride hard, but take care. You must obey the draft rules which they explain in the briefing.

Take care when approaching the second transition, and prepare to dismount before crossing the line into the designated transition area.

Transition 2 (T2)

The sequence is:

Rack your bike back where you got it > remove your helmet > replace bike shoes with running shoes (if necessary) > leave T2 in the designated direction on to the run route.

Running tips

It’s just 3k, so press hard! There will be a water station should you need to hydrate.


Smile for the camera as you “cruise” through the finish.

After the finish:

  • Relax, enjoy the atmosphere.
  • Watch the experienced racers as they go through T1 & T2 and see how it is done at speed.
  • Collect your bike and all your gear.
  • Shower and make your way to the presentation area for some food and drink. Allow yourself to reflect on when you’ll be doing it all again!

You can read more about how to prepare for your first triathlon from this comprehensive beginners triathlon guide at

Triathlon Top Tip

Keep hydrated even if you don’t feel thirsty – cramps can hurt big style!

Triathlon Racing during the Winter

Triathlon Distances

There are set of standard triathlon distances which are shown below:

  • Novice: 400m swim / 10Km bike / 2.5Km run
  • Sprint: 750m swim / 20Km bike / 5Km run
  • Standard (Olympic): 1500m swim / 40Km bike / 10Km run
  • Middle Distance: 1900m swim / 90Km bike / 13.1 mile run
  • Long Distance:3800m swim / 180Km bike / 26.2 mile run

Official triathlon page – The European Triathlon Union (ETU)

Difference between triathlon and duathlon

  • A triathlon involves a swim, followed, by a cycle, and finally a run (with no rests in between!).
  • A duathlon is similar and has a run, a cycle, and then a second run.

Some triathlons have pool based swims, while some are done in the open water, often with wetsuits.

Triathlon Top Tip

Have two swimming caps. Put the googles on top oh the first one, then another cap to keep the googles securely in place.

Our team

We aim to promote triathlons and duathlons, and other sports, by encouraging people from all backgrounds – whether a veteran marathon runner or someone new to the sport – to take part in them.

All our members are enthusiasts, and far away from professionals 🙂

If you’re interested in finding out more, please feel free to contact us – novices are always best to start with novices.

Triathlon Top Tip

If you lose stroke/breathing rhythm when swimming through overexertion, inadvertent contact, or a giant wave, allow recovery by taking a few meters in another stroke such as side or breaststroke.

Racing during the winter

We had a series of three small races during the winter. The races were popular with entry restricted to 50 places, so early entry was required. The aim was fun, fun, fun! No prizes, no entry fee, no special insurance packages, so have your own. Only some beer afterwards.

This has been a very interesting winter to try to organise races. All races were dependent on weather conditions, we had to be prepared for the worst. Helmets/full body cover had to be carried at all times.

Thanks to everyone for being so understanding and supportive in the circumstances.

As always with these events a huge thanks to everyone including the many volunteers who helped throughout the winter, marshaling, catering, laying out and taking in courses and with the many other tasks involved in putting on these races.

Special thanks to Andy, Will and all the staff at Forestry Commission who have been very supportive as we have all tried to cope with the alpine conditions.

Short (poetic) race report from the last race before the summer

At last, the trails emerged from their snowy covering, and the rearranged short race went ahead on a bright, breezy day with a reduced field of 43 competing despite the higher numbers pre-entered.

The bike course was modified to avoid the icy conditions, but conditions were dry and fast, not slippery at all.

The race leader built a healthy lead of over two minutes on the first running section.

The first junior finished 6th on the run, but then had the fastest bike time and reeled to race leader over the bike leg closing the gap to just 5 seconds by the finish.

Impressive winner of the female prize finished in 4th place overall.

Here you can out more about triathlon for the beginners.

Glentress freeride trail

Outdoors time at Glenntress – Glentress freeride trail. Short and fun little trail with tabletops all the way down.

The trail takes a more direct route down the hill and starts as it means to go on with three logs all in a row. Logs are no more than a couple of feet off the ground, but they pretty narrow, only 10 inches.

Next comes a drop with a long run out which takes you to a left-hand berm. Then you have ladder drops: small, medium and large.

The first ladder can be rolled off. The other ladders you have to jump!

Land on the steep run out and set up for a right-hand berm. Berm fires you onto the first wallride.

You have to be careful with these, and maybe just ride the first one. That then leads to the bottom section.

Video by A. McLean

Glentress Duathlon

We managed all three races in the series and would highly recommend this kind of events if they are as well organized as this was, very friendly, great fun and great value.

It had 7000 feet of ascent over the three races on great tracks and trails, and it was tough.

The highlight was the mtb-trail, it had everything from twisting singletrack to rocky sections with sweet drops and rooty downhill forest track. Brilliant and maybe a bit out the comfort zone for many, but suitable challenging, and hopefully, we can find similar tracks on other races.We had some nice views across the valley as a bonus.

It is a good bonus if you have trails and runs in scenic and beautiful places.  Overall your race needs to be physically punishing in a good way. The friendly competition atmosphere is always welcomed.

And Glentress Forest has nice mountain biking trails, even without any race.

Glentress Duathlon

The Glentress Duathlon was a series of three races run in the winter months. It was held ten times, and the last race was 2012 with 100 entrants.

Each race consists of a Mountain Bike Cycle and a Hill Run, not necessarily in that order.

The races could be run as a solo or a team (one runner one cyclist).

The first race is medium with the winner is expected to cycle for 30 minutes and run for 30 minutes. The second is the short 20 minutes each and the third is the long 40 minutes each.

The course, bike and run, were always exceptional, laid out around all the obstacles area has to offer from fallen trees to forestry work.

The weather was usually varying, but last year the weather was kind, kind being a relative term.

It was very well run, and it had a fun atmosphere.

Here you can find more about the differences between triathlon and duathlon.