Callum Hawkins

What is it like to prepare for a World Championship Marathon?

With the IAAF Athletics World Championship taking place in August, we asked Great Britain middle-distance runner, Olympian and HIGH5 athlete, Callum Hawkins  about his recent training in preparation for the World Championships Marathon on Sunday 6th August.

March saw me finish off my winter racing season with a hard fought 2nd place in the New York Half Marathon. I was slightly disappointed to be beaten by only 4 seconds and just being on the wrong side of the hour mark. However, I’ve got to be happy with running so close to my personal best on a tough course and pushing Olympic silver-medallist Feyisa Lilesa.  Racing through the streets of Manhattan was a great experience, it’s a fantastic race to be part of and the race organisers treat you like one of the family. It’s most definitely on my list of races to do again.

After New York, I took 10 days off as it had been a long winter season, after which I headed to Boulder, Colorado for a 5 week altitude training camp where I was staying with marathon legend and ex world record holder Steve Jones.

Training at altitude is harder, so recovery becomes hugely important especially as I was starting back from a rest period and ramping up the miles quite quickly. So packing lots of HIGH5 products was a necessity.

However, I quickly got into the swing of things and got some quality miles and sessions in with Steve’s group.  The weather in Boulder was great until my Dad (Coach) turned up and the weather went from slightly overcast to a few inches of snow.

Thankfully, my Dad and Steve did manage to keep the track clear for us during the session but they were definitely struggling for fitness at the end. Maybe I should have given them some Protein Recovery?

The training camp has set me up for my marathon specific training-block as I gear up for the world championships in London.  This is the hardest training block I do but it also has one of my favourite training sessions which is 11 x 1 km with 1 km float recovery or 1 km in and outs as we like to call them.  We reverse the session and start with a recovery pace effort first so, we finish on a fast one.  Paces for the fast kilometres are about 8 seconds faster than marathon race pace (3 minutes) and the recovery kilometres are around 3-8 seconds slower than race pace (3:10-3:15 minutes).

During the session, I also practice my race hydration and use EnergySource every 5 km, simulating what will happen during a marathon. I also keep an EnergyGel on hand in case I need a bit more fuel.

With warm up and cool down the session is around 20 miles and takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to complete.  It’s one of the hardest sessions I do so, recovery and refuelling afterwards is vital.

My immediate refuelling after the session is Protein Recovery mixed with milk and a ProteinBar. Those particular products are really good after a hard session as sometimes I can find it hard to eat a big meal so soon after training. I follow that up later in the day with my favourite, Spaghetti Bolognese using my Grandpa Drew’s secret recipe. It has a great balance of protein and carbohydrates which are essential for refuelling after a big session, especially when it is over 20 miles.

There’s one week to go until the World Championships on 6th August in London and I can’t wait to go up against the world’s best marathons runners again at a home championships.

Follow Callum Hawkin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/callhawk

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