While training for and then running a marathon is one of the most rewarding things you can do, there’s no getting away from the fact that putting in the miles week in, week out for months in the build-up to race day can be a long, hard slog.
If you have the iron will to smash every run on your marathon training plan solo then more power to you, but for many of us one of the smartest ways to stay on track is to plan some social runs, because pounding the pavements with other people is a great motivation to keep going.
In the build-up to the London Marathon, New Balance has joined forces with community running group GoodGym to organise free training sessions with a difference. On every GoodGym run, participants also undertake some community work like painting, gardening or visiting vulnerable people. If you think about how much effort goes into your runs, and consider what could be done if you channelled some of that effort into community projects, it’s easy to see how much GoodGym could achieve with an army of runners at its disposal.
The three London Marathon sessions will also each focus on a different aspect of training that will help you with the race. The next session, which takes place on 20th February, will impart advice on how to hold the right pace during the marathon. During the 16km run you’ll also be stopping off in Surrey Docks to paint a farmhouse on the London Marathon route – something to look out for on race day.
The following run, on 20th March, is 18km long and the topic of discussion will be endurance, which you should know plenty about at that point in your training schedule, while the charitable work involved is weeding and planting a community garden in Greenwich.
The final New Balance and GoodGym run is just a few days before the London Marathon itself, on 17th April. The run is just an 8km shake-out where you’ll get advice on preparing for race day. At the halfway point you’ll be stopping to help Rhythms of Life – a charity that supports homeless people in London – sort their food donations.
All the free sessions will last around 2½ hours, and they all start from the London Marathon store in Spitalfields. You can sign up to attend at newbalance.co.uk/londonmarathon or on the GoodGym website.