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London Marathon’s fancy dress

19 April 2016

Virgin Active opens its door to London Marathon’s fancy dress #FitFam race entrants in fancy dress will be able to train in select clubs for free this week

Runners across the country that are donning Rhino, giant chicken and superhero fancy dress to take on 26.2miles can rejoice at the news Virgin Active will be opening its doors to London Marathon runners in costume, giving entrants the chance to pound the treadmills and trial their technique in fancy dress before the big day.

Those in fancy dress will be able to access the gym floor – testing out their cardio and core strength the week before the London Marathon on 24th April.

Participating clubs near the London Marathon route include Tower Bridge, Canary Riverside and Strand, as well as Manchester Didsbury and Glasgow for runners living further north.

To guarantee entrance the gym floor, London Marathon runners must arrive with their costume, ID and proof of race entry.

Andy Birch, Head of Fitness for Virgin Active comments, “Finishing the London Marathon is an amazing achievement in itself, however those runners who accomplish this feat in costume have our serious respect. We know how important preparation is when it comes to Marathons which is why we’re offering 2016 runners taking part access to our gym floors anytime this week to make sure they feel ready- no matter their attire!  We wish all those running the London Marathon this year the best of luck – see you at the finish line!”

Virgin Active’s last-minute London Marathon tips

For those running the London Marathon, with costume or without, Virgin Active’s Product Innovation Manager James Trevorrow, has pulled together the following last-minute tips for preparing for the London Marathon:

A week to go…

  • In the last week of your training, you should be tapering down your miles and focusing mentally on the race. You shouldn’t need to run more than two or three times in the week before the race, but it’s good to avoid not running altogether. Focus on short, relaxed runs to encourage blood flow around your body and to keep your muscles in tune without being strained
  • Avoid trying anything new – by the time of the race, you’ll have a tried and tested training programme, including the preparation to each long run, so stick to what works best for you
  • On the day of your race, your body needs to be fully stocked with the fuel required to provide you with maximum energy – glycogen, which comes from carbohydrates. In an ideal world, aim to increase your carbohydrate intake 3-4 days before the race by eating a wide variety of energy dense foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables and grains, plus a little protein and fat to help protect and maintain your muscles and soft tissues

The day before…

  • While it’s important to carb-load the day before, that doesn’t mean you can gulp a huge bowl of pasta the night before. Eat high carb meals throughout the day before the race to give your body the best chance of taking on as much glycogen as possible. A good choice the night before would be a chicken and pasta dish, made with a simple tomato sauce that’s low in fat
  • Some people like to rest up the day before and wrap themselves in cotton wool; others like to shake themselves down with a very easy leg-stretcher. The best approach is to try both options in your training programme the day before a long run and see how you feel on the day.

Race day…

  • When it comes to the day of the race, many people can become daunted by the scale of the task ahead of them. Try to focus on what you’ve achieved so far in your training and all the successes you will have had along the way. On the day of the race, I normally have a mantra in my head – marathon running is not just a physical test but an exercise in restraint; you know you can go faster, but you’ll need to reign in it and save your energy for the race itself
  • Above all else, enjoy the day. Keep waving to the crowds cheering you on, high-five all the kids on the streets and smile for every camera – you’ll feel a lot better at the time and you’ll look back on the photos after and remember the day with pride. Only 1 per cent of the population have completed a marathon – that’s a pretty elite club and a reason to be proud of yourself!


Notes to editors

This offer is available from 18th-23rd April. General Managers of participating gyms have the right to refuse entry if the costume is a health and safety hazard on the gym floor. Participants must bring their costume, 2016 race confirmation email and ID on the day to participating gyms. Entry will be to the general gym floor and participants will not be able to join classes, visit the swimming pool or book personal training classes.

About Virgin Active Health Clubs

Virgin Active’s first club opened in 1999 and, since then, it has grown to become the leading international global health club operator with over 1.4 million adult members, 14,000 employees and 272 clubs spanning four continents and ten countries (South Africa, UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Namibia, Botswana, Thailand and Singapore).  For more information, please go to www.virginactive.co.uk.

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