Find out how our Polar marathon runners are preparing for race day - Women's Running

Find out how our Polar marathon runners are preparing for race day

Read Time:   |  October 14, 2021

In September, the winners of our marathon training package competition with Polar pulled out all the stops in the lead up to their race days throughout October.

After months of training with Polar’s innovative Vantage M2, combined with the bespoke fitness training plan specialised for each runner, the runners prepared for their final step over the finish line.

Over the past month, our runners have been focused on their final long runs and tapering to prepare their mind and body for the big event.

Nick Anderson, Polar Head of Endurance, tells us how the runners have found the final part of the training plans he created for them.

“The runners have been given my top tapering tips for training, four weeks prior to race day. Many runners get very caught up with chasing miles in their training and end getting to the race tired from doing a final long run too far or too closer to race day.”

We couldn’t mention Nick’s tips without sharing them with you as well. He recommends the following:

  • cut back on the training
  • practice your kit and race plan
  • attempt to have a clear mind entering the race
  • ensure you have proper sleep before the marathon – an extra 15-30 minutes a night in these final two weeks it could make massive difference to final performance.

Nick also explains how the runners have been using their Polar tech to help them with final race preparations.

“With the runners’ increased familiarity of the Vantage M2 and its incredible innovative features, they have been able to utilise all the watch has to offer in the lead up to the marathon. Weaved into their personalised training plans, the runners have tracked their progress since the beginning and have improved both mentally and physically in preparation for the big event.”

Now, it’s time to celebrate the runners’ progress and see how they do on race day in October. “Many of us will know how tough it is to train for a marathon, and the final long runs can be gruelling,” says Nick. “Our runners have been incredibly dedicated and made exceptional progress – they have all achieved above and beyond mine and their own expectations. They are all now in great stead for their individual marathons and we, along with the Polar team would like to wish them the very best of luck. We can’t wait to hear how they got on!”

Let’s see how runners are feeling as their races approach…

Alice

How has the Vantage M2 allowed you to improve your long runs in the lead up to the marathon?
“The heart rate feature has helped me to monitor my progress within the different time zones, which has been a great way to hit my marathon pace.”

How has heart rate training made a difference with your long runs?
“Training with heart rate helps me determine whether I’m pushing my body hard enough to reach my target pace in order to maintain it for the duration of the marathon distance.”

What Vantage M2 features have you valued most in your training and why?
“Using Phased target to set up threshold & progress runs. It’s a great way to maintain speed and reach my target goal and helps me to improve on each session. I also liked using the different sports profiles so that I can track my barre and yoga classes, which were incorporated in my training programme.”

Amy

How has the Vantage M2 allowed you to improve your long runs in the lead up to the marathon?
“The Vantage M2 has encouraged me to take things steady in my longer runs – usually I tend to get overexcited and run faster in the beginning, before running out of steam just as I need it in the final push!”

What’s the most valuable information that you’ve learned in the lead-up to the marathon?
“My grandad is also a runner, and he always tells me not to worry about my time – just focus on the person in front. This is something I carry with me into all of my races and it keeps me focused on the race experience, rather than the numbers – until afterwards of course!”

How has heart rate training made a difference to your long runs?
“At the end of my long runs, I now feel as though I could run all day, because I’ve been running at a steadier pace. It’s a great feeling!”

 

Felicity

Is there a particular part of your training that has made a real difference?
“The sprint training has had a big impact. I also think that cross training has helped strengthen my body while also being lower impact than running, which has helped me avoid injury.”

Has using your Polar improved your sleep as you’ve followed your training plan?
“I’ve become a lot more aware of what helps me sleep well and what causes a bad night’s sleep. This has helped me to create a better sleep routine. I’ve also learned to take things a little easier the next day if my sleep is compromised.”

How has heart rate training made a difference to your long runs? 
“Previously, I had worried about pace too much, which sometimes resulted in negative thoughts if I felt I wasn’t running fast enough. I’ve realised that it doesn’t make much sense as a trail runner – the terrain can vary so much from race to race. Focusing on heart rate has helped me to pace myself better across long runs.”

What Vantage M2 features have you valued most in your training, and why?
“Being able to programme all my training in to my watch has been so helpful. I’ve also enjoyed having FitSpark for extra training inspiration!”

Finola

How has the Vantage M2 allowed you to improve your long runs in the lead up to the marathon?
“I used the watch to keep an eye on my heart rate on long runs and it’s made a huge difference to how I feel both during and after the run. I’m not overreaching, and I can also run at different paces during the run if Coach Nick tells me to.”

What Vantage M2 features have you valued most in your training and why?
“The heart rate information has been very important, helping me to pace myself in order to gain fitness. The ability to plan a session with different paces, HR zones and lengths of time has also been incredibly useful, because you’re not worrying about what to do next – you’re just running.”

Poppy

How has the Vantage M2 allowed you to improve your long runs in the lead up to the marathon?
“I would reach my maximum threshold way too quickly before. The technology and science behind heart rate training has completely changed my running – not to mention how much more I enjoy it!”

What’s the most valuable information that you’ve learned in the lead-up to the marathon?
“Heart rate management equals running the distance.”

Sabrina

What progression have you made in your marathon time and overall fitness now that you’re approaching the marathon?
“My resting heart beat has lowered from high 70s to 47-50 BPM.”

Is there a particular part of the training that has made a real difference?
“Having the Vantage M2 made me not scared of doing long runs and made be believe that I can do this.”

Do you have a race mantra?
“I tell myself every morning, “I am strong. I am enough.” and that’s been very powerful.”

Sophie

What’s been your favourite part of the programme?
“I’ve really enjoyed the threshold runs – the chance to put on a little speed and have fun with it.”

Do you have a race mantra?
“My mantra is, “just that little bit further.” When you’re feeling tired and want to stop, just go to that next tree, the next sign, or reach the park. It keeps me going.”

Sarah

How has the Vantage M2 allowed you to improve your long runs in the lead-up to the marathon?
“It has given me the confidence and knowledge to run easy. The feedback is far more accurate than any other watch I have used and that makes me feel more at ease with trusting the data and adjusting accordingly throughout the run. The sleep tracking and training load detail also enables you to adjust the time and days of your runs to ensure you are ready and rested which makes a huge difference.”

What has been your favourite part of the programme?
“Structure, expert advice and support, new challenges weekly, feeling part of a community…there have been so many good bits! Each week a new part of the programme became my favourite. As I approach race weekend, I am hugely grateful for the confidence the coaching team have had in me and the structure and advice I have in the bag to draw on when the going gets tough.”

Has using your Polar improved your sleep as you’ve followed your training plan?
“The Vantage M2 sleep tracker has been one of the most enlightening pieces of information I have had in terms of training and my journey. I have become much more aware of what affects my sleep and what I need to do to get good quality sleep. It’s taken a while, but in the last two weeks my sleep has become much more consistent and I am really feeling rested as I head into taper. I sleep more deeply and feel like my mind is rested. I may not have the luxury of lots of hours of sleep, but the sleep I have is good solid sleep which I have come to realise is what works for me and is the most important. I am now more committed to making changes in my diet and daily routine to ensure that good quality sleep is more definite.”

Trina

What progression have you made in your marathon time and overall fitness now you are approaching the marathon?  
“My heart rate when training used to hit 180BPM plus, but now even on my longest run I only hit between 165BMP-174BPM.”

Do you have a race mantra?
“Focus on the mile you’re in!”

How has heart rate training made a difference to your long runs?
“It has made me learn to run my easy runs easy! Doing that is not easy, of course, but I am getting there and have really noticed a difference.”

What Vantage M2 features have you valued most in your training and why? 
“Uploading training sessions – phased targets especially. I really like that you can add notes, too, like a reflective journal after the session.”

Follow Polar on Instagram to stay up to date with the team’s progress!

Written by

Kate Sellers

Kate Sellers

Loves a muddy trail run with her dog in tow

Meet the team

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