Paula Radcliffe on the London Marathon, training and RunFestRun

We speak to the three-time VLM winner on why you should head to Windsor in May
Paula Radcliffe marathon tips

With an all-new RunFestRun event taking place at its new home of Windsor Park in May, we decided to speak to Paula Radcliffe, one of the festival's team captains, about why you should think about going.

2019's inaugural RunFestRun saw thousands of runners make their way to the festival grounds for three days of running as well as a wide selection of run-related activities spanning the weekend. The 2020 event is set to be bigger and better, with heaps of new things to do and, we'd imagine, a few things we haven't even been told about yet.

And don't worry. We wouldn't have spoke to Paula without getting a few last-minute tips for all of you London Marathoners coming into the final stages of your training. Scroll to the bottom for some expert advice.

For the 2020 event, the location is moving to Windsor. What can we expect from the new RunFestRun home?

Windsor Great Park is a beautiful place to run. So I think we get all the same great fun and scenic runs as last year, but in 2020 there are more events added so more fun. The runs will take in all the area and give everyone a chance to explore the beauty of Windsor.

What's your favourite aspect of the festival?

It’s very hard to choose! I love the family aspect, the way we can do the runs together or separately at our own paces and then join together afterwards to enjoy the music, atmosphere and food. It’s such a friendly environment and everyone gets on so well.

What would you say to people who have just started their running journey and aren't sure whether a running festival is for them?

I would say definitely try it and I guarantee you will have a brilliant time and be hooked for life! It’s so much fun, not at all intimidating and the perfect way to enjoy your running in a festival with family or friends or both!

And equally, what about those seasoned runners who compete at a high level, is RunFestRun for them?

Yes, absolutely. What is wonderful about RunFest is that it caters for all levels. Whether you care what time you run or not. Serious runners can race at their pace and not feel at all guilty. Everyone enjoys it and gets enjoyment from it and there is no judging – no matter whether you run very quickly or very slowly!

What part of last year's event really stood out for you?

My personal favourite is again very hard to choose but I loved sharing the night run with my kids. We ran with head torches and glow sticks after enjoying some excellent music and had a lot of fun.

Paula Radcliffe on the London Marathon, training and RunFestRun

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What are you most looking forward to at the event this year?

All of it! Selfishly though I am also looking forward to the three Families on Track events. I am honoured that RunFest included them and very grateful to Extra Mile events and Events of the North for helping the idea to come to life. Looking forward to sharing lots of family fun with everyone taking part.

London Marathon Runner Tips

Do you have any advice for people coming into what can be a scary final training period, both physically and mentally?

Stay focused on the big picture. It’s good to stick to the plan but also listen to your body and be flexible. If you are over-tired, add in rest and if the weather is risky don’t be afraid to switch things around. If in doubt, take a rest day!

What's the most common worry you hear from people running the marathon for the first time?

The most common is that they are afraid of hitting the wall and running out of energy or that they won’t be able to keep going. I always tell people the race is like the party at the end. After the training it is easier when you are fully motivated, rested and encouraged by all the crowds. To avoid hitting the wall, don’t start too fast and be sure to fuel well in the days before and first part of the race.

Paula Radcliffe on the London Marathon, training and RunFestRun

Aside from sticking to a training plan, what advice could you give to people in the final period before the big day?

Prepare everything well, practise with the drinks you will get on the course and the feels etc you will use. Also be sure to run in all the kit and shoes you will wear race day beforehand to make sure they are all comfortable and run in.

And on race day, when worries and fears are high, what can people do to stay on top of things?

Stick to your race plan. Don’t get carried away in the early miles by going to quickly. Take something old to the start to keep yourself warm and dry while you are waiting and that you can throw away when you get going. Stick to a pre race breakfast and drinks that you have tried before. Allow time for the bathroom queues!! Above all remember how hard you have worked and enjoy it.

And finally, what for you is the best way to celebrate after running the London Marathon?

By doing whatever you want to do and eating whatever you want to!! Be proud of your achievement and celebrate it in style with all those close to you.

RunFestRun 2020 takes place on 22-24 May. For more information on the event and to pick up your tickets click here. Weekend tickets cost from £155 with individual day passes starting from £45.

Tags:    Running
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