Our top marathon training and running tips

News and Blog

Jo Stow is one of our amazing Team StCH runners. Here, she shares her top tips for running a marathon.

Over the last eight years, personal trainer Jo has completed more than 30 challenge events in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice after her brother was cared for by our community nurses. A few of Jo’s incredible achievements include running six marathons (and currently training for her 7th!), 15 half marathons, cycling Ride London, and tackling two Tough Mudders, as well as taking part in three Midnight Walks. In April 2016, she ran the Brighton and London Marathon for St Catherine’s- just one week apart!

To date, Jo’s fundraising efforts have helped raise over £25,000 for St Catherine’s. This incredible donation is enough to fund three days of community care, allowing patients to benefit from specialised end of life care and support, from our hospice nurses, in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own homes.

“After experiencing the hospices care first-hand, it’s satisfying to know that by taking part in challenge events I’m helping raise vital funds so the fantastic team can care for other patients and their families – like they did for us.”  – Jo, on why she joined Team StCH

Here, Jo exclusively share her top marathon training and running tips to help other people taking on this incredible challenge for a cause close to their hearts.

Don’t focus on time goals

You only have one first marathon, and if it’s your first, the goal should be to finish – not focus on a time. You can run other marathons in future and focus on time goals then. This time, just enjoy the experience of your first marathon!

Dealing with race day nerves

Race day nerves are totally normal, we all get them! Nerves help to keep you grounded and can help you do even better on race day. On the day, take your training plan along with you and have a look through it. Look at everything you’ve achieved over the last 16 weeks and believe that all the hard work you’ve put in will get you over the finish line. Visualize yourself finishing with a smile on your face!

Stay positive

When the going gets tough, don’t get yourself down. Be positive, remember why you’re doing it and remind yourself how amazing you are for running a marathon. A playlist of your favourite songs can help motivate you as you run and whatever happens: smile and keep moving forwards, one step at a time!


It’s all about the pace

Run at your own pace and stick to what you’ve been doing in your training. Don’t go out too fast and get carried away with the pace of those around you. Make sure you can finish the race strong by holding something back at the start.


Practice your fuelling and hydration strategy during your training runs, and find what works best for you. Once you’ve found it, stick with it! And don’t try anything new on race day.


Take the taper seriously and follow your plan. In the lead up to race day, cut back your mileage and speed gradually. The best thing you can do in the final two weeks before the race is to rest and let your body recover.

My final tip? Reward yourself at the end of the marathon; a massage is always a great shout and you’ve earned it!

If you are inspired by Jo, you can find out more about joining Team StCH and running a marathon or half marathon for St Catherine’s Hospice here, or by calling the Events Team on 01293 447364.