Liz And Martin YellingMartin & Liz Yelling
@myelling twitter, @martinyelling instagram

Martin Yelling (PhD) is the official Virgin Money London Marathon coach and has helped thousands of marathon runners make the finish line every year. His wife, Liz Yelling is a two time Olympic marathoner and Commonwealth medalist. Together they know their way to a successful London Marathon finish!

Congratulations on your place running the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon next April with Team ARUK. It's such an incredible running experience and to be part of such a wonderful team is an amazing privilege. We are sure you are going to have a fantastic time and experience some moments that will change you forever! But first, you've got to make it to the start line and we’re here to help!

Running 26.2miles can be quite daunting. It's okay to feel a little uncertain about your marathon journey. Everyone does. It's unsettling but also exciting. The point of your training over the next 5 months or so is to get you ready so that you feel confident you can give yourself the best chance of finishing. Training gives you the physical and mental tools and strength to go the distance. But we all start somewhere! So, let's make it now and let's make it happen!

Firstly, let's get one thing straight, you don't have to run the whole way, you can walk if and when required, infact, some people even plan to cover the marathon a 'run-walk' strategy. Whilst others will try and run the entire distance without stopping, whilst others will try and run the whole thing as fast as they can!

Now is the time to get ready for training. This is especially important if you've been inactive for a little while (or for a long time!). Use the time leading up to Christmas to begin to build regular physical activity into your week and to start gentle walking / walk running.

Becoming a successful marathoner (whatever that means for you personally) is about patience, consistent, commitment, discipline, kindness (to yourself), strength, courage and determination.

Many novice runners leave their front door and by the time they reach the end of the road they're red faced and puffing on the floor, muscles feeling like lead and thinking, 'I knew it, it's no good, I can't do this running'. They give up and drag themselves home, exhausted, disappointed and dejected. This isn't how to get going.

If you haven't done any exercise for a while, don't panic. There are no hard and fast rules about how long to run for, it's all down to personal circumstances, motivation, fitness levels and goals. It takes time for your fitness levels to improve and don't expect miracles overnight. Spend the first few weeks of your new regime regularly walking and build up until you feel confident and competent enough to break into short periods of jogging with regular walk breaks. Gradually lengthen the time you spend jogging and shorten the time you spend walking. The investment into consistency really is well worth it and will lay the foundations for when you start to pick the miles up in the New Year!


  • Be gentle, start slowly.
  • Build up progressively.
  • Take walking breaks if you need to.
  • Do it regularly. Establish a routine. Protect the time to run.
  • Once you’ve started your running programme, don’t stop! Keep up momentum.