Find out how our Polar marathon runners did on race day - Women's Running

Find out how our Polar marathon runners did on race day

Read Time:   |  November 17, 2021

In June we ran a competition with our friends at Polar to give ten of you expert marathon coaching. This month, we find out how they did on the big day!

Since July, Polar have been working with ten lucky competition winners, providing them each with a bespoke marathon training package by Nick Anderson, Polar Head of Endurance, whilst optimising the breadth of fantastic features that Polar’s premium Vantage M2 sports watch showcases.

After months of preparation and hard work from every runner, they have all successfully run past the finish line and achieved their ultimate goal of completing a marathon!

With their feet finally over the finish line, we would like to congratulate our runners on their determination and motivation, persisting through all challenges they have faced in their training, and overcoming what they previously would’ve deemed as impossible. We now want to reflect on the entire experience with the runners, the big day, and their incredible achievements.

Nick Anderson, Head of Endurance at Polar, reflects on the last few months of training, and tells us about the runners’ outstanding race day achievements.

“The runners have all made exceptional progress since the beginning of their bespoke training plans and first sessions,” says Nick. “They each had different goals to their race, and all of them achieved above and beyond their initial expectations and personal beliefs.”

“With the help of the tailored plans complimented by the breadth of features offered by the Vantage M2, the runners were able to successfully train, prepare and run their marathons. The final marathon times have shown amazing progression, as well as the overall mentality of the runners. I’ve been delighted by their positivity, determination and focus on smashing their PB and running over that finish line. Congratulations to all our marathon runners – what a fantastic achievement!”

Let’s hear about the runners’ race day experiences, and how they’re feeling now that their challenge is complete…

Alice

How did you find the big day?
“It was challenging and I was definitely out of my comfort zone but we had the perfect running weather. There are pros and cons to running a virtual marathon as opposed to an actual race. When I ran the London Marathon previously, the atmosphere and spectators did help push me along and build my confidence. With the Virtual, you get to choose your route, which is great, but don’t get the support you get in a race.”

Do you have any tips to utilise the Vantage M2’s vast array of features to complement marathon training?
“I encourage everyone to incorporate the Serene breathing exercise into your training, which helps calm and relax you. I find it especially effective before or after a run or any other exercises. I also found the Phased Target feature useful when programming the different runs, you can track your progress.”

What was the best lesson you learnt through Nick’s sessions and being able to track your performance through Polar’s Vantage M2?
“You benefit as much from the sessions as the effort you put into them. Tracking them through the Polar Vantage M2 helped me tackle the sessions in various ways and see improvements.”

Amy

What elements of the bespoke training plan provided by Nick do you think assisted your progression up to race day?
“Steadier runs, and a more consistent plan. Previously I have relied on luck to get me around, maybe doing a couple of long runs, but no real structure to what I was doing.”

What tips would you give to other runners looking to sign up for a marathon race?
“In the run-up to the event, make sure you give yourself the time to get some long runs in before the event. Prepare yourself, and try out different methods of fuelling to find the right one for you (this is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation!

Self-belief is also so important – when it comes to the event, trust your training and you will make it around. Don’t try anything new on race day, from kit to fuel – there are so many little things that can influence how you get on.”

Do you have any final thoughts or messages about your experience with the marathon?
“I have enjoyed having this opportunity to train with a coach, sharing my experiences with other ladies who were also training for their events, and having a decent watch to help me to work towards my goals – I’m going to re-focus and aim for sub 3h45 in April, so watch this space!”

 

Felicity

How did you find the big day?
“I was nervous when the day arrived! Crossing the start line knowing that I’d prepared so thoroughly over the 16 weeks was a great feeling. The race was tough, with some sections along beaches, and I gave it my all.”

Do you have any tips to utilise the Vantage M2’s vast array of features to complement marathon training?
“Pay attention to the Nightly Recharge and Cardio Load Status. Using these has helped me to become more in tune with my body and listen to how things are feeling. For example, I lowered the intensity of training if I slept poorly, to ensure that I’m not detraining or overtraining.”

What was the best lesson you learnt through Nick’s sessions and being able to track your performance through Polar’s Vantage M2?
“That the easy, recovery runs are just as important as the speed training and long runs. I also learnt to pace myself better over long runs – rather than running too fast at the start and going slowly at the end.”

Do you have any final thoughts or messages about your experience with the marathon?
“I just wanted to thank Running with Us, Polar, Saucony and Women’s Running, and all of the other runners, for all of their support.”

Finola

Was your marathon result what you were hoping for?“Yes, I had aimed for 4 hrs 45 mins, and did it in 4 hrs 47 mins so I was chuffed!”

What was the best lesson you learnt through Nick’s sessions and being able to track your performance through Polar’s Vantage M2?
“Running slower improves your fitness! Sticking to the heart rate for easy runs for most of my training was difficult at first but as my body adjusted I went further and felt better.”

Do you have any final thoughts or messages about your experience with the marathon?
“This whole process has been amazing and improved my confidence both in my fitness and also in life. I am so proud of myself and I don’t think I’ve ever achieved something that’s meant so much to me. I would encourage anyone that has dreamed of running a marathon to go for it.”

Poppy

What are you most proud of about completing the marathon?
“Completing it! I’d never thought it would be possible – it was the BEST feeling!”

Do you have any tips to utilise the Vantage M2’s vast array of features to complement marathon training?
“I will never go on a run without my watch. It’s my training buddy that knows what my body can handle better than me!”

From the start to finish, what physical/mental challenges did you overcome with your training plan and the help of the Vantage M2?
“I guess working with my heart rate is what made it possible. I had previously been running to my maximum threshold and peaking way too quickly. It made running a lot more enjoyable feeling like I was in charge and not getting depleted very quickly.”

Sabrina

What are you most proud of about completing the marathon?
“My journey from a beginner in January 2021 to a marathon finisher in October 2021!”

From the start to finish, what physical/mental challenges did you overcome with your training plan and the help of the Vantage M2?
“Physically, the Vantage M2 gave me confidence that I was training my heart properly and mentally. It allowed me to believe in myself and push a little more.”

What tips would you give to other runners looking to sign up for a marathon race?
“Get yourself a Polar! I love the Vantage M2 because it gives me data without an overload of information and Polar Flow is such a confidence booster when training.”

Sophie

Do you have any tips to utilise the Vantage M2’s vast array of features to complement marathon training?
“There are lots of interesting features, but I think my favourite was using the FitSpark feature to get stretching and core exercises in. They are right there programmed into the watch and even have little animations! ”

From the start to finish, what physical/mental challenges did you overcome with your training plan and the help of the Vantage M2?
“Learning a different running style. Previously I had been doing some great walk running! I learnt how to do solid heart rate running without scheduled walk breaks. I found trying to keep my heart rate low difficult, as I ran so much slower than I expected. Tracking my progress in Polar Flow and seeing how my easy running pace was increasing helped me and set my mind at ease!”

What was the best lesson you learnt through Nick’s sessions and being able to track your performance through Polar’s Vantage M2?
“One of the good things Nick taught me was proper fuelling, which was useful come race day. When race day came I had gotten used to my fuelling and hydration process. I set it up on the Polar watch to remind when it was time for gels throughout the run!”

Sarah

How did you find the big day?
“It was an incredible day full of positivity and happiness. I had fond memories of my last London marathon in 2015, but this one was something extra special indeed. The coming together of a community like no other, smiles, kindness, cheers and compassion from runners, supporters, family and friends. I think the London marathon is the best in the world. I was nervous, apprehensive and a little stressed on the morning of the event, but I knew as soon as I started running I would be absolutely fine and I was!”

Do you have any tips to utilise the Vantage M2’s vast array of features to complement marathon training?
“Take your time to study the data, focus on two or three key parts of data at any given time, otherwise to a relative novice it can feel a little overwhelming. If you take it in small chunks then it’s so helpful to see your progress both with one single run and by comparing runs over some time. Pay attention to the sleep data and make necessary adjustments to lifestyle and training to allow your body to recover fully. This was valuable to me as I could understand why I wasn’t performing as well in training when I looked at what had affected me that day or the days leading up to it. The training load information is also really really beneficial in helping you see how your benefitting from each session and enables you to change up sessions to get the maximum benefits over some time, I loved checking in to see where my gains had been made and that became a real confidence boost.”

From the start to finish, what physical/mental challenges did you overcome with your training plan and the help of the Vantage M2?
“I started out battling the idea of running slowly and to heart rate. I felt I wasn’t progressing and that I was getting slower. The Vantage M2 heart rate tracker was much more accurate than previous devices I have used and I found that I did need to slow the pace on long runs to enable me to get the benefits of building endurance and having energy left for my harder sessions. Trusting the tracking and the coach (thanks Nick!) enabled me to overcome the little voice in my head that said, just push hard every time. I also found a strength (mentally) that I didn’t have previously and that came from being able to see the progress I was making, both from the heart rate zone information and the pace and distance… I can now see how my ability to maintain pace with a lower heart rate for longer has significantly improved.”

Trina

What elements of the bespoke training plan provided by Nick do you think assisted your progression up to race day?
“The training plan consisted of a variety of run sessions and working towards a particular pace which was a great learning experience. It taught me how to pace myself during my runs.”

What was the best lesson you learnt through Nick’s sessions and being able to track your performance through Polar’s Vantage M2?
“Bad runs make you a better runner. It is not the end of the story but part of the journey.”

What tips would you give to other runners looking to sign up for a marathon race?
“Make sure to have a support system/experienced runner/coach that you can turn to as it can get hard at times.”

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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