As we enter marathon season, we share some tips to help you stay happy and healthy on marathon day, and give some insider knowledge to inspire anyone considering signing up for a challenge.

Wednesday 15 March 2017      Challenge events blog
Peter running wearing a Breast Cancer Now vest

Peter running for Breast Cancer Now

Breast Cancer Now’s Social Media Engagement Manager, Peter Blair, knows a thing or two about running a marathon. To date, he has completed five marathons, including the London Marathon twice.

So, ahead of this year’s London Marathon, he wanted to share his top tips for running a marathon, as well as providing a little bit of inspiration for anyone thinking of taking on their first marathon.

Baby we were born to run!

Taking pleasure in physicality, and running in particular, is a fundamental human emotion. Once you’ve experienced the endorphin high of completing your first marathon, you’ll realise that all the effort you put in was worth it.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

Think of your training like a mileage deposit account. Running a half marathon (13.1 miles) event is a great staging post toward getting yourself race ready. However, if that’s the longest distance you ever run in training, you probably won’t have the necessary deposits in your training account to see you safely through the full marathon (26.2 miles).

To avoid finding yourself in deficit, you need to experience the longer distance training miles, and be able to trust your body when things happen – hitting the wall, running through a stitch. So deposit these long runs into your training account before the end of March, and with these deposits in your training bank account, begin to taper your distance training down in the final few weeks before London Marathon day. Do this and you will be ready.

Don't drink too much before you start

For any runner looking at a 4-hour plus London Marathon finish time, be careful about taking on board too much fluid before the starting gun in Greenwich. It will take you at least 30 minutes to reach the start line after the gun sounds, and you don’t want to be caught short on Shooter’s Hill, just as you’re starting to get into your running stride. There are ample water stops en route, even early in the course, for you to keep hydrated.

Find a friend, or even a stranger

While running the New York Marathon, I spotted a fellow runner ahead in the vest of my chosen charity. We ran together and chatted for the next 40 minutes, during which time I completely forgot about any physical discomfort I was feeling.

Don't dwell on the miles

When you’re padding around the London Docklands beginning to feel the strain, don’t dwell on how many miles you have left to the finish line on The Mall, think about how close you are to Tower Hill, and the return of the big crowds, who will literally cheer you on a wave of noise through the final miles along The Embankment.

You’re on camera! Always put in one last final effort.

If you’ve managed to get yourself through the previous 26.2 miles, don’t just walk over the finish line. When I ran my second London Marathon, I actually made it on to the BBC’s evening highlight show, on The Mall behind two other runners leapfrogging each other to the finish line. So you never know!

Join our team!

If you've been inspired to join Team Now, why not take a look at the runs you can join this year

If you're holding out for one of the biggest fundraising runs and you're interested in running for us in the 2018 London Marathon, please contact