Top 16 London Marathon Course Tips

This post is essential reading for anyone planning on taking part in the London Marathon!

As a running coach, one can still learn something new from each race, since no two are ever the same. Particular attention should be paid to the route of the London Marathon.

London Marathon Tips

1. Train for the Flats with Light Rolling Hills

It is commendable to have hills during marathon training, however, having conditioned legs to manage extended strips of streamlined pavement is mandatory. It necessitates continually engaging the same set of muscles without a pause.

If you have been doing workouts on hills that move, you could start to experience soreness or exhaustion.

This means:

  • plotting out long runs that have 400 feet of gain over the entire thing
  • including both short hill sprints and long hill repeats at the END of moderately long workouts (because there is a hill at mile 23 which feels bigger than it is due to fatigue).
  • practising how you control yourself on the downhill running to not burn out the quads in the early miles

You will ascend a total elevation of 419 feet (127m) during your 26.2-mile journey. The course in question is higher than the 243 feet that Chicago is, however, it is mostly a level route with slight inclines when running over bridges.

2.  Marathon Expo

Many expos are not like they used to be.

However, London stands out as a major marathon city, which may result in you running for a longer period. They dub the event “London Marathon Running Show,” emphasizing that there’s a well-thought-out plan in place.

We don’t want that remember? If you want to make the most of it, I recommend visiting on Wednesday or Thursday! Then, you can pick up your shoes that have a New Balance design, have a conversation with some of the sociable people around and then return to your hotel to take a nap.

3. Plan Well Ahead for Your Start Line Arrival

The absolute worst feeling is realizing you’ve already missed the beginning of a nightmare…which is even worse than actually missing it.

Organizing is imperative since there are 50,000 participants and the event necessitates using public transportation to get there. The London Marathon begins in Greenwich Park in the Blackheath district, not in central London.

At 9:00, the female competitors will commence, with the male competitors and the first group of racers beginning at 9:30.

The amount of time from when you enter the water to when the race begins could be anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes, based on the wave you are in. Make sure to plan for that with your spectators.

Remaining close to the beginning does not offer the usual advantage in this situation. Rather than wandering too far from the terminus, you might like to remain near the end so that you may delight in the core of London and make it back in time for a hot bath.

  • Wait for an email that gives you a window for your arrival. This is based on the start time of your wave.
  • There will be three pens at the starting area and each has 8 sections, so pay attention to your big.
  • Red: Southern Greenwich Park.
  • Green: St John’s Park
  • Blue: Shooter’s Hill Road

Transportation to the Start Line

You should take into account the entire amount of time spent on your feet. Countless runners at the London Marathon spent an extended period on their feet before the race, taking the train and identifying the correct station, then navigating through the vast start area.

  • The start line area colour you are going to will determine which train station you want to exit.
  • Blue you’ll exit at the Blackheath station and then be walking roughly a mile to the start area.
  • Red will want to exit at Greenwich or Maze Hill.
  • Green will exit at Maze Hill.
  • Driving to the start is not recommended based on all of the road closures.

No matter which choice you made or which journey you’re taking, you’ll have some free time once you get there.

4.  Start Line Area London Marathon Tips

Here are some points that you may not be aware of and how to use your time efficiently.

Bag Check

Bags cannot be checked at the start line! You ought to submit your bag the preceding day of the race at the fair.

You can only carry items in the transparent bag distributed at the exhibition.


London accommodates hydration backpacks, along with waist-worn carrying pouches and lightweight bottles carried while running. I want to make sure it’s clear that NYC and Chicago won’t be able to ambush runners, and that this doesn’t concern you.

Security Gates

You will be subject to a security check before you reach the starting pens. The queue advances really quickly, but this is the place where they are monitoring for hydration levels or bringing in bags that are not eligible to be examined.

Family and spectators will be turned away. Only participants with a bib will be admitted to the appropriate area.

Sit Down

Don’t waste tons of energy standing around.

You’re going to endure a marathon of 26.2 miles, and remaining upright is using energy and making your legs ache. Sit. Wait. Rise and then do some energetic exercises and move to your starting point.

Take Throw Away Clothes

It will probably be cold. If you have to remain in one spot for a long time, you may get very cold. Shivering again is going to waste energy.

  • Bring throw-away gloves so you can even wear them the first few miles
  • Reuse a mylar blanket from a previous race
  • Bring hot hands!
  • Absolutely cover your head to keep in the heat
  • Bring an old blanket and old clothes – things get picked up and donated afterwards

Bring Your Food

You don’t have to worry about finding supplies like Lucozade or bananas in the starting area or making sure that there are enough of them left.

You must keep providing yourself with energy/fuel between waking up and running due to the considerable amount of time that has passed.

  • Keep sipping on electrolytes
  • Eat a bagel and nut butter, especially if you have a later start
  • In the final minutes before you start take in an energy gel or waffle or some high-carb, quick-sugar energy


Once you have located your assigned area, it may take some time before you reach the beginning of the race. Try to contain your nerves and energy. If you’re bouncing around, well again you’re wasting energy.

If you stick to the instructions they give for getting there, it will likely take you about an hour. Sit down. Eat. Relax, until it’s time to do your warm-up.

5. Download The Runner Guide

In the past, runners got all the details required to attend a race in a magazine, however, in a push to become more eco-friendly, the race organizers now send these details by email, with additionally having them visible on the event site.

Ensure that the last directions are saved to your cellular device before departing for the beginning. It would be unwise to attempt to use your cell phone because the large turnout at the event could interfere with the signal.

6. Get In The Loo Queue ASAP

Almost 39,000 individuals will be participating in the London Marathon. There are many anxious feelings before an event, resulting in many having to rush to the porta-potties. Even if you don’t believe it is necessary, get into the line when you have the opportunity.

It is likely that when you finally reach the top, you will be thankful you made the effort. You will most likely have to visit the place where the race is occurring two or three times before the start of the event. Funsies.

7. Bring Some Old, Warm Clothes With You

After leaving your luggage at the marathon, you are likely to have around an hour to pass before you begin running. Even though the forecast predicts pleasant conditions, it will still be cold if you are wearing shorts and a T-shirt while you wait for the start.

You can bring some used clothes to the beginning of the event which will keep you warm and then donate them to charity when you are done. You might also choose the classic black bag option if you don’t want to give away any of your clothes.

8. The Start Is Not The Start Of Your Race

It may take an interval of two to 40 minutes to finish passing the finish line after the gun is fired, depending on the number of participants running. It can be quite nerve-wracking if you don’t anticipate it. Tension should be alleviated and ensure that you are located in an appropriate area. Speaking of which…

9. Get In The Right Starting Pen

The beginning point of your journey has already been decided to a large extent. The four divisions are Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green, each one containing sections specifically designated for runners predicted to attain a particular speed.

It is essential to stay with those running at the speed you anticipate you’ll be running, so you don’t have to bypass anyone going slower in the initial kilometres, or else you may be carried away and start too quickly.

10. Don’t Panic If You’re Going Too Slowly At First

It wouldn’t be useful to shove or manoeuvre your way through a large group of runners who are operating at a slower speed than you had initially expected. This will tire you out and you likely will still be going slowly as well.

Follow the crowd for a couple of miles and the number of people will start to decrease – then you can pick up the speed more comfortably. It is a distance of 42km to run, so slowing down a bit in the first part of it won’t be disastrous to your time.

11. Don’t Succumb To Adrenaline In The First 7km

You will have an exhilarating experience when the London Marathon begins. The thrill of the occasion as well as taking a few weeks to reduce intensity makes it easy to begin faster than initially anticipated.

From the fourth to the seventh kilometre, the terrain is mainly a descent, although not a steep one. Remaining consistent with your planned speed is critical; don’t get carried away by too much excitement. There’s a lot of distance still to cover. More than you think, in fact…

12. Remember You’re Going To Run More Than 42.2km

Bummer, right? Due to the density of individuals, you are incredibly unlikely to maintain a straight racing trajectory.

Likely, the distance won’t be much larger than 42.2km, so it is more beneficial to go with the flow at the beginning of the race rather than trying to push your way through the beginning crowd.

13. Don’t Be Afraid To Use The Toilet During The Race

It is clear that if you are striving to reach a certain time milestone and you feel the need to go to the restroom, you should not attempt to prevent yourself. Head to the restroom – they are situated every two miles along the track.

Jogging while uncomfortable while attempting to retain control will totally ruin your performance in that portion of the race and any time you waste trying to do so will need to be compensated for the entirety of your efforts.

You will probably feel such a sense of accomplishment after you finish that you’ll end up running the next segment fast enough to be back on track.

14. Look At The Race Map In Advance

Take a look at the London Marathon route to determine what is available throughout the course and when, not to prevent taking a wrong turn, but to comprehend where the route is leading.

You can find water every so often along the route, and occasionally Lucozade Sport is offered too. At mile markers 14 and 19, runners can obtain energy gels should they choose. These items are advantageous because they decrease the number of items you have to carry.

15. Don’t Down Your Gels

It is essential to replenish your carbohydrate supplies while running the race, however, you should only sip your energy gels and not gulp them down. According to running coach Nick Anderson, when talking about long runs, if you hurriedly consume energy gels, it is highly likely that you will experience an upset stomach.

Anderson mentions that people often fill their gel with too much liquid, consequently sending too many carbohydrates into the body, which the body is not equipped to handle.

The consequences of that are abdominal discomfort, the urge to go to the bathroom, and feeling sick to the stomach. It would be beneficial to drink a gel slowly and take a time-out for at least five to 10 minutes to finish it. Then the absorption rates are higher.”

16. Keep An Eye On The Thin Blue Line

You will observe a blue line painted on the street while doing the marathon. This line indicates the fastest course for the event, and the exact distance of the marathon has been determined. If you’re attempting to achieve a personal best, you should try to stay on this line whenever feasible.


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