Echo runners get marathon tips from Olympic medallist Steve Cram + VIDEO

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The Jarrow Arrow offered his expertise to Echo journalists Georga Spottiswood and Ross Robertson ahead of the Marathon of the North

FRIDAY was a rather unusual day – I went running with Steve Cram!

Georga Spottiswood and Ross Robertson of the Sunderland Echo being put through their paces in Roker Park by Steve Cram in the preparation for the Marathon of the North.

Georga Spottiswood and Ross Robertson of the Sunderland Echo being put through their paces in Roker Park by Steve Cram in the preparation for the Marathon of the North.

The organiser of the Marathon of the North had agreed to put Ross and I through our paces and give us some tips for the gruelling 26-mile challenge.

And boy, did I need them.

I have been having serious doubts about the run lately.

Although the training’s coming along and I’m up to the 10-mile mark, whenever I finish a run I stop and think “great, I only have to run another 16 miles”. I feel defeated already.

So when we headed to Roker seafront for a run with the retired British athlete, I was keen to talk to him about my negative mindset.

“Don’t panic,” he told me. “Picture yourself getting across the finish line and you’ll do it. Keep up your running every day, even if it’s just six or seven miles and in the next three weeks aim to do your longest run, whether that be 12, 15 or 18 miles. You need time to let your body recover in time for the marathon.”

The Jarrow-born runner also told us to plan our route. “Twenty-six miles is a long way,” he said. “Instead of running as far as you can then hitting the wall, plan out your run. The drink stations are a great way to do this and you may want to walk for a few minutes at every station. Even if you’re not tired, stick to your plan. If there’s an incline, like the one at Roker, you might want to walk up it.

“Tick each mile off as you go along too, and when you get to 16 or 17 miles, don’t think ‘I’ve got another 10 or 11 to run’ instead, say to yourself: ‘I’ve just ran 16 miles’.”

The Jarrow Arrow also said keeping hydrated was key.

“Even before the day itself you should be drinking plenty of water. It’s extremely important to keep hydrated, especially on race day. Isotonic drinks are great, too, and the powders – but don’t try anything you’re not used to on race day.

“You’re going to be running for quite some time so you’ll need to keep your energy levels up. Put some jelly beans in your pocket and have them throughout the run.”

After hearing Steve’s top tips, I now feel much more at ease and every day I keep telling myself ‘you can do this’.

For more of Steve’s tips check out our video at www.sunderlandecho.com