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FAQs about your London Marathon Race Day
FAQs about your London Marathon Race Day

One of the biggest running events in the world is fast approaching! Here are Frequently Asked Questions with our tips for London Marathon!

George avatar
Written by George
Updated over a week ago

The London Marathon has a storied history since its first running in 1981, with crowds and an atmosphere that many would agree are unmatched! The race from Blackheath to the Mall may be better described as a journey for many, and is a culmination of your hard work over the past weeks and months of preparation! Here are a few common questions we're asked ahead of race day.

πŸ’Ό What should I pack?

It goes without saying that packing your running shoes, clothing and any nutrition you'll be taking is an essential step for your preparation! If you're travelling on the day, staying overnight or longer, you may need more items, but here's a few helpful options for race day itself.

  • Your running kit (worn, as there are minimal opportunities to change) and race-day shoes

  • Any gels, chews or other sports nutrition that you've previously used

    (remember, nothing new on race day!)

  • A snack and some water for during your morning travel to the start line

  • A jumper and/or bin bag to stay warm. Old clothes discarded at the start are collected and donated to charity too! Make sure any old jogging bottoms are easy to remove over your shoes, if you choose to wear these.

  • Your drop bag (see below) with anything you'll need for after the event. A spare warm top, recovery snack (such as a protein flapjack) and typically avoiding leaving valuables in this bag is a sensible idea

  • Your phone, watch, headphones and Runna! Make sure you download any power-playlists ahead of time, charge everything the night before and be sure you've tested your race day tracking!

🏒 What should I expect at the Expo?

The TCS London Marathon Running Show features a dizzying array of stalls, talks and more, from Wednesday 17th to Saturday 20th! Be sure to check the exact opening times and give yourself plenty of opportunity to collect your bib number! Currently, these are:

Wednesday 17 April: 10:00 to 20:00
Thursday 18 April: 10:00 to 20:00
Friday 19 April: 10:00 to 20:00
Saturday 20 April: 08:30 to 17:30

You won't be able to collect your number after a relatively early finish on the Saturday, so be sure to get this done first! Directions to the show at the London ExCeL can be found here! Friday and Saturday are also typically a lot busier, so choose the best possible day for your circumstances.

When you reach the registration point, you'll need to present your sign-in email to receive your personal running bib number. You'll also be given a plastic drop bag, which you'll need to attach your runner number sticker too. Be sure to attach the sticker and not your whole bib number! You should also be given safety pins for you to attach your number securely to your running vest or top, be sure to do so before race day so you can line this up neatly and ensure it won't rub or come loose!

Lastly, we'll be at the Show with our own Runna stand! Come along to stand E70 and say hi, get some last-minute advice and meet your fellow Runnas! πŸ‘‹

πŸ€” Should I run the day before the marathon?

Sometimes tapering or a few days away from running can leave your legs feeling like they've 'forgotten how to run'! Some runners swear by a very short, very easy run the day before, perhaps even just a mile or 1km to reassure themselves they can still put one foot in front of the other!
If in doubt, stick to your plan, or reach out in the last week or two of your training now for some advice! We'll have our Runna shakeout run at 10:30 am, Saturday 20th April, meeting at Red Bull HQ London (What3Words location here: ///, so please keep an eye out for more details on our socials and our website here!

πŸ₯ͺ What should I eat the day before the marathon?

Your main goals with your food intake in the days before the marathon should be carbohydrate-heavy to top up your glycogen stores in your muscles, making sure you're hydrating well with water and perhaps electrolyte drinks and sticking to simple foods you enjoy, and probably nothing too spicy! Pasta, rice, potatoes and other easily digestible carbs are perfect choices! You may find your appetite reduces a little towards the end of your taper, with the reduction in your running volume, so don't eat to discomfort, but be sure to fuel well!

🀳 Should I share my charity again?

For those of you running for a charity, firstly congratulations! The London Marathon generates a huge benefit for every charity, so well done on your amazing work! Be sure to soak in the support and well-wishes from the crowd as well as your friends and family in the lead up and on the day, you've earnt it!

You may want to share a few last training updates, a few pictures, and reshare your charity donation page in the last few days, so reach out to your charity for more advice on the best way to do so too! A picture of the kit you'll be wearing, a selfie collecting your number or just some sightseeing pics from London are a great way to involve the people supporting you!

A picture with your medal at the finish is also a great way for some bonus donations, and you may just inspire someone else to tackle their first event (or maybe even full-marathon) too!

πŸš‹ How do I get to the start?

Unlike many running events, the London marathon actually has three start lines! These are all found at Blackheath, but to access your start pen and then your designated start line, you'll have to head through slightly different entrances! Be sure to check your pre-race emails thoroughly to avoid any issues on race day, but there'll be plenty of helpful marshalls on hand to guide you!

With your London Marathon race number, you will get access to free public transport on the 21st April for most of the day, and this can be the best way to access the start line area given the number of road closures around the area! Once you've access your starting area, you should be sure to soak in the atmosphere, prepare for the race and be sure to drop off your drop-bag to your designated bag lorry in good time!

πŸƒ How should I pace myself on race day?

Pacing can be tricky, but by now you should have practiced this during your training runs with race-pace intervals and some long run practice attempts too! Be sure to iron out any final details for how you're going to use Runna (whether on your phone or with another device), if you plan to use Audio Cues and much more!

Download any playlists in advance, if you plan to listen to music or a podcast, and be aware that, with such a large number of runners around you, you may have some issues with Bluetooth signals clashing with other devices! If you're using headphones, make sure these are suitable for running safely and consider leaving any music off for the first few miles/kilometres as things can be quite crowded on the roads! Equally, with such amazing crowds and support from fellow runners, you may want to soak it all in on your big London Marathon day, perhaps saving a few power ballads or pump-up jams for those tough latter stages around Embankment!

Here are a few more tips on marathon pacing for you too!

πŸ›°οΈ How should I navigate GPS issues on the day?

By now you've certainly got plenty of experience recording your runs using Runna! We'd advise using the same method as you've been training with, just like mentioned above, sticking to the same device and testing this ahead of time too!
With the tall buildings in London, heading around Canada Water and Canary Wharf, as well as the sheer volume of your fellow runners with their devices too, you'll perhaps find clashes and issues with your GPS. Don't panic, trust your innate pacing from your experiences in training, race pace taper reps and let things settle during your run!

Check out more tips on how to troubleshoot common GPS issues here too!

πŸ‘‹ How do I meet up with friends and family after?

One of the trickiest things on marathon day is meeting up with any friends or family who have come with you or are supporting on the day! Leave any spectate spots planning for them, focusing on your run, and let them tell you where you might see them on the night before! After being presented your medal, a goodie bag with a bottle of water and a snack (and a t-shirt if you've chosen one), you'll find yourself on The Mall!

With the tall buildings, huge number of people all recording their run and sending congratulatory messages and more, it's not uncommon to have problems with both your phone signal and GPS location finding/sharing. Helpfully you'll find a selection of large letters at St. James' Park, just around the corner from the finish. Choose one in advance, maybe an initial or the first letter of your chosen charity, to meet up with your friends more easily! You may also find that your completed run may be a little delayed uploading to Runna, as well as GPS hiccups or more, so be sure to save your activity and try refreshing your app with a good Wi-Fi connection or strong signal a little later! Reach out to our Customer Experience team if you have further issues, with a dedicated inbox for us to help our London Marathon Runnas!

πŸ”œ What's next after the marathon?

You've done it, 26.2 miles, 42.2 km completed and what a journey! Enjoy, celebrate, be sure to recover and remember the day fondly! πŸ…

Hydrating, having a snack and loosening your shoelaces are all super helpful in the immediate aftermath of your race. Pop on that warm top you packed, make sure everyone can see your medal (you've earnt it!) and have a little gentle stretch. Following the typical recovery from the long runs you've completed in training might not be as easy as normal, but be sure to take care of yourself!

Once you've met up with any supporters or charity partners, then please do join us for a post-race celebration at Red Bull HQ, just a quick 10-minute stroll from the finish line, perfect to stop your legs from seizing up! We’ve got you covered for everything you need post race - food, drinks, snack and much more for you and your friends/family to enjoy. Unwind and raise a toast to your success with all of us from Team Runna!

Come along with your Medal and time and we will create you a custom race posters so you can forever remember your incredible achievement! Food & Drinks on us!

🫢 Good luck with your 2024 London Marathon!

Good luck, you've got this! Check out the video below for some more of our Coaches' top tips for race day!

Once you have finished submit your race details to our weekly race round-up form found here to be featured on our Instagram!

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