DEEP DIVE

Ace the long race

Start your marathon training now.

It takes nearly six months to train for a marathon. Four to eight weeks to build general fitness and then 17 weeks for your marathon-specific training programme. According to the London Marathon's official training advice that is.

If you've signed up to a marathon challenge, there will be 26.2 very hard miles ahead of you race day – and many more to cover just to get you to the start line. Luckily, these apps can help do some of the legwork for you.

Hit the road

For an easy-to-follow training guide that tells you how far you should be running each day, try Runkeeper’s marathon plan. When you pick your goal, the app asks about your physiology as well as the distance of your longest recent run. It then builds a custom routine for you, based on that information. You choose the days you wish to work out and Runkeeper sends you friendly reminders.

You’ll always know exactly how far to run with Runkeeper’s personalised routines.

Since old trainers can lead to injury, you can opt to let Runkeeper keep track of how many miles you've run in your shoes. It then sends a prompt when it’s time for a new pair of runners.

To improve your endurance, try an Interval Run workout. Build your own session by adding your own interval times and the number of repetitions, using the Custom option under the Workout tab. You'll get audio prompts from the app to tell you when you should be slowing down or speeding up.

    Runkeeper- GPS Running Tracker

    Best Run Tracking and Mapping

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Strengthen and lengthen

If you want to ensure all-round fitness and finely tune your whole body, supplement your running routine with some alternative activities.

Yoga app Asana Rebel will help you lengthen and stretch your muscles to complement your run training. Try the specific Yoga for runners programmes designed to alleviate muscle soreness after running.

Asana Rebel makes it easy to create a yoga plan that matches your run training.

Add strength training to your exercise regime to get your muscles extra-prepared for the 42 kilometre grind. Strong is a tracker aimed at weight training. It allows you to create custom routines of squats, lunges and deadlifts, for example (to work those legs and glutes even harder) and tracks your progress as you increase the weight and number of reps.

Cycling is easier on the knees than running, but will still get your heart pumping. Download cycling tracker Strava and start pedalling. The GPS app maps your path as well as recording data on the speed, distance and elevation of your bike ride, as well as your heart rate data. Handily, the app also works for running too.

    Strava: Run & Ride Training

    Activity & distance tracker

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    Strong Workout Tracker Gym Log

    Build strength, muscle, power

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    Asana Rebel: Get in Shape

    Workout and nutrition plans

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Beat the boredom

The wind in your hair, the pounding of your heartbeat – it may all be thrilling at first, but after hours of running every week it's bound to start getting a little dull (dare we say, run-otonous?).

Serial Box is the solution. This app's bite-sized audio dramas will keep you entertained. When you're several miles in and need a change of tune, get TuneIn for live radio – to keep you up-to-date on current events and live sports. Or, tear through some podcasts with Castro Podcasts. This clever app lets you make a playlist of shows – perfect for long runs.

Hear something interesting? It only takes a tap to rewind with TuneIn’s Apple Watch app.

No matter what you listen to, it’ll hopefully take your mind off that stitch in your side and push you through the hardest kilometres.

    Serial Box

    Audio + ebook | Orphan Black

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    TuneIn - Live Sports & News

    Free Music, Radio & Podcasts

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    Castro Podcast Player

    Play, Track & Manage Podcasts

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While 13.1 miles is no small feat, with so much help, you’ll be all ready to run on race day.

Now...how about a marathon?