Here's everything you need to make yourself sound like a London Marathon veteran


So that guy in your office, the really annoying one who judges you for what you're eating for lunch and the fact you didn't realise the gym opens at 6am, is doing the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday?

Writer and runner Anita Chambers offers six things to say that will make him think that you're a secret Paula Radcliffe.

"Oh right, you're doing the marathon, how's your training been - done many fartlek sessions?'

A jogger running in the woods
(Chris Radburn/PA)

No, that's not a rude veiled insult about how his excessive protein intake may be causing that stink in the office, you're merely asking if he's been doing much speed work in his training. Literally meaning "speed play" in Swedish, fartlek training involves bursts of quicker running during a longer run.

"How's your taper been? Are you suffering maranoia yet?"

Tapering sums up the week before the race when you cut down on your running and take it easy in preparation for Sunday. Maranoia, apart from being one of those annoying, made-up words, is what happens when you slow down on the running front and every twinge from your little toe to your ear becomes a source of worry.

"Are you carb loading?"

Pasta bake
(Matthew Mead/AP)

Carb loading is as the name suggests - gorging on delicious carb-laden goods to build up your muscles supplies of fuel for the run. However, while you might think this sounds like an excellent idea to hit the pastry counter, we're talking more wholewheat pasta and brown rice than cinnamon swirls.

"So are you aiming for any time in particular? Perhaps you were thinking about a GFA?"

GFA, aka good for age time, means that next year you can go in another special ballot for all those that have run a predetermined time for their age group. In other words, you're ruddy good. For reference though, the average finishing time globally for 26.2 miles in 2014 was 4hr 21min 21sec.

"Have you got a race plan? Are you sticking to negative splits?"

Runners in a marathon
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Negative splits refer to running the first half of the race slower than the second, with the idea being that you finish strongly after starting steady. It's a lovely idea but it's not always easy to pick up the pace when you're already knackered 14 miles in.

"Are you worried about hitting the wall?"

If you're stood anywhere from about 18 miles onwards, those people trotting by with a desperate glint in the eye and the face firmly set in a grimace are likely to have experienced the fun of "the wall". Basically, it is the human equivalent of a car running out of petrol and it hurts like hell. You might want to remind your colleague of that...