Follow our guide to preparing for the challenge of running 26.2 miles on Sunday

If you’ve been following our online training plans for beginner, intermediate or advanced levels, you should be well prepared for Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon. The countless hours of training need to be put to good use, no matter what your ability level, and that means getting to the start-line in the best possible shape.

You can’t get any fitter in these last few days but much can done to jeopardise a performance, so follow our simple checklist below and enjoy the day!

» Rest as much as possible in the final few days (elite runners may want to do some short, easy jogs). Rest means exactly that and keeping off your feet as much as possible – walking or sightseeing is not an option

» Increase your carbohydrate intake sensibly in these last few days

» Drink plenty and regularly in the days before

» Plan your arrival to the start area in advance and allow plenty of time

» Come suitably attired depending on the weather – wear some layers of clothing that you are prepared to throw away

» Have a good breakfast – this is down to the individual (keep to what you’re used to)

» Bring a cereal bar or a banana and drinks to the start area

» Don’t wear brand new shoes (if in doubt, go with your tried and tested trainers – they may be slightly heavier, but they have served you well so far)

» Lubricate or protect those sensitive areas that may hinder you in the final stages

» Pace yourself – don’t get too excited at the start and at areas where the crowds are noisy – better to go off easy and run a negative split (faster second half)

» Be sure to hydrate yourself at the water stations (remember to take sips instead of one big gulp – don’t wait until you’re thirsty)

» Finish the race with a PB and then get plenty to drink and eat!

» See the April 23 edition of Athletics Weekly magazine for further race day tips and an in-depth look ahead to Sunday’s action