Top Tips for training for the Marathon!


Nutrition is the foundation and basis of everything we do in our lives. I don’t think there is anything else that plays such a massive part in our day to day living. Nutrition effects how we feel, look, perform, sleep and much much more. I could write a book on how important nutrition is but for the purpose of this post I will keep it as short and as concise as possible.

What you eat the day of a run or the hour before a run is useless if you eat crap the other 6 days of the week. It is like going for a run for 10 mins once a week and sitting on your bum for the rest of the time. You won’t make any progress. 


A few simple rules that if followed will bring you a long way.

*Start each day with breakfast
*Try not to leave massive gaps go by without eating during the day
*Try to eat natural single ingredient food e.g. A chicken breast has one ingredient – Chicken. A breaded chicken fillet has multiple ingredients
*Minimise the amount of processed food in your diet – if you need a chemistry degree to read the ingredients it probably isn’t good for you
*Eat up to 5 portions of veg a day – try to include as much colour variety as possible
*Aim to eat 2 portions of fruit a day
*Try to avoid highly refined sugars & trans fats
*Aim to drink at least 2 litres of water a day (more on training days)

With regards nutrition based around your runs/gym sessions then I would suggest having a complex carb about 2 hours before your run – a bowl of porridge would be ideal. Also try to have some form of carb after your run for recovery. What you have and how much really depends on the distance and intensity you have done but for a beginner even something like a piece of fruit post-run would be ideal. I would then try to ensure you have a substantial meal 1-2 hours after you complete your run comprising of carbs and protein. Try to ensure you have enough protein in your diet – i.e. eggs, poultry, lean red meat, fish etc. It is very important to combat the effects of heavy run training and maintain muscle strength.

These are very general guidelines and everybody is made up differently, so find what works for you and stick to it. Any specific questions please feel free to mail me on my PT Facebook page.
Being injured is one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. Imagine putting in all the hard work in preparation for the Mini Marathon in June and then the week before getting injured and not being able to run. For this reason, stretching is essential. Your muscles will be getting a lot more use then normal with all the exercise and you need to incorporate a stretching routine into your training to ensure you keep them supple, loose and prevent injury. This is also known as prehab. 

There are a number of different stretches that benefit running. It is very important to warm the muscle up properly before holding any static stretch so my advice would be do 5-10 min light walking/jogging before stretching. You could do a light stretch before your main run (holding each stretch for 10-15 secs) and a longer stretch afterwards (holding each one for 20-30 secs).
Stretching will also enable you to become more flexible and will assist you in day to day life. 


As I said, there is nothing more frustrating than being injured. It happens to the best of us, even if you warm up, stretch daily and cool down religiously it can happen. The key is to recover to the best of your ability. 


If you do pick up an injury over the course of your training for the run in June please follow these initial steps. 


    • First of all stop doing what you are doing. I have done it myself a hundred times, thinking that you can run it off. More often than not – you can’t. 



  • Then self assess the damage, how painful is it? Is the pain easing or getting worse?




  • Thirdly get the opinion of a physio. If it needs treatment – get treatment. If they say rest – then rest. 









The key is to give yourself every opportunity of getting back out on the road or into the gym as quickly as possible. I have seen in the past where people ignore small injuries until they turn into big ones and eventually lead to a long lay-off from running.

If you have any questions or would like to update me on how your training is going please get in touch via my Facebook page.

Steve Barry Personal Trainer - Facebook Page

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