Three time Virgin Money London Marathon veteran, and Gogglebox star, Baasit Saddiqui offers his tips for first-time runners
Prepare to be shown the love…
This will be my third London Marathon in a row. The atmosphere’s incredible, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s the only marathon that I’ve ever done, and am likely to do, where there is literally support from the second you start to the second you finish. Even on half marathons you have quiet moments, where it can be a little bit soul destroying, but the London Marathon is just noise and cheering and music and fun all the way along.
Find your motivation to train
It does get harder to get motivated in the run-up, particularly when the weather’s bad, so you need to find a reason to do those long runs. My new puppy is mine. It’s a chain reaction, if I get up early to go for a run, then I usually end up waking up the dog. The dog then wakes up my 3-year-old daughter, who then wakes up my wife and then I know I’m going to have to run until she calms down. It seems to work, if I’m honest.
Think of the time the race starts
I’m more of an early morning runner so I’ll get up at crazy o’clock just to go for a run and eat when I get back. But on race day, because it’s a little bit later, you can’t do that. I’d make sure that race day is not the first time that you’re eating and then going for a big run. I didn’t really consider that the first time I ran and couldn’t work out what to eat when, so it’s worth preparing for.
While fundraising make it clear that every penny counts
Online fundraising is fantastic, but I think some people get put off if they see on your page donations for twenty, thirty, forty pounds, if they can only afford a quid or two. Every little bit adds up, so if you can encourage them to donate something then it slowly adds up.
You’ll always have your inspirational music, but I think for long runs you need to make sure that you go at a steady pace. I’ve done runs where I’ve just listened to something that’s going to boost my adrenaline, Eye of the Tiger on loop, and within a couple of hours I’m just done. But a podcast is something you can kind of get lost in, it’s not boosting your adrenaline too much, you just get into a nice steady routine. And, then you can stick on the Rocky soundtrack at the end.
It’s not too late
I’ve been in the situation, if I’m honest I’m kind of in the situation now, where I think I’ve left it too late to train. It’s tempting to think ‘Oh I’ll just run on my own terms, and whatever happens happens’. There’s still like six weeks left, so even if you’re feeling a bit nervous now and don’t think you’ve done enough, you can make such progress in the weeks left. You really can. So just go out there and do it.
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