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Marathon Training

Inside the London Marathon Bubble with Jared Ward

With 36 hours left before the London Marathon, Jared Ward shares what it's been like in the bubble, his last week of training, and how he feels heading into the race.

Jared Ward’s Notes from the Bubble

When I departed on Sunday, Sept. 27, the Salt Lake City airport was totally different since the last time I flew. I would have never recognized it. But after about 30 minutes in the airport, travel (and, really, the odd idea of travel) quickly began to feel just as normal as it did a year ago. But the planes are empty! Maybe 20% on my overnight red eye from Atlanta to Heathrow. I laid down across three seats and slept better than I’ve ever slept on a red eye in my life.

In the bubble when I’m out I wear my “bump” (a device that starts beeping at me if I get closer than 2 m to another bump), and I wear my mask — unless I’m training (Running 5 to 8 minute loops), or in my room.

For the first couple days I loved the downtime. I’m not used to laying around all day reading, listening to audiobooks, and watching movies. I’ve watched The Wolverine, Remember the Titans, Miracle, and read Boys in the Boat and Bill Roger’s Marathon Man. I’ve caught up in my journal, studied my scriptures, listens to faith-promoting sermons, and listened to various clips of Malcolm Gladwell books. I only wish I could have brought my wife Erica with me!

But now the end of the week I am beginning to feel bored… I’m ready for the race! Training has felt really good here, especially considering the hilly running conditions in this bubble.

Jared Ward and book
Photo: courtesy Jared Ward

Last Week of Training

Monday: Around 60 minutes around a grass field. It felt great. I tried to lay down after getting into my room following the red eye, but I just wasn’t tired so I went for a run.

Tuesday: I woke up having not slept as well, and stuck to 50 minutes easy running and some strides.

Wednesday: I ran Coach Eyestone’s taper-week, patented four by mile at marathon pace. I sort of had to guess on how far a mile was, as my watch was beeping Ks — but the kilometer that fell inside of each mile read: 3:00, 3:00, 2:59, 2:57 [roughly 4:45/mile]. So probably a bit aggressive for marathon pace, but I felt great on the grass.

Thursday: I ran 43 minutes with Scott Overall — a 2012 Olympic marathon runner for Great Britain who I’ve come to really enjoy being around. He’s helping out with the race.

Friday: I ran 30 minutes, and then ran one minute at an estimated marathon pace, and did two strides.

Saturday: I’ll run 20 minutes, and do a few strides.

I saw Rory, a PT here, on on Monday to help loosen my hips. On Wednesday I saw a PT named Fiona who analyzed my posture, and helped get me moving a little better even. I loved the approach of both of them. And I enjoy learning from the different physio staff that the various races employ.

No Bangers and Mash

The food has seemed very American! No fish and chips, no bangers and mash, and no steak and kidney pie. In fact, no pasties of any kind! Not that I particularly indulging these foods pre-race, but I’m beginning to be concerned that I’m not going to be able to enjoy some of my English favorites post race… I’m eating pasta, beets, chicken, curry, steamed vegetables, and potatoes. Lots of potatoes.

For the first few days I ate less carbohydrates, and more protein. These last couple days I’ve eaten almost entirely food that is primarily carbohydrate dense.

Rested and Ready

I’ve enjoyed tracking my rest the last couple weeks with my new watch (Polar Vantage V). It’s been fun to wake up in the morning and have a little bit more feedback explaining how I feel. It seems when I get my deep sleep, I feel all right. But even if I sleep for 10 hours, but don’t get my deep sleep I’m a little groggy.

Photo: Polar

I’ve also always enjoyed watching my resting heart rate drop as I taper — and getting a reading on my heart rate from the middle of the night in my sleep has been a fun, consistent way to gather that data. This week I get low resting heart rate each night between 32 and 33 beats per minute, and breathing between 10 and 11 times per minute. I’m pretty happy with that. I remember recording a resting heart rate of 30 a night or two before I raced in Rio, but that is the lowest I’ve ever felt my heart rate.

I really feel good. I feel rested. I expect to feel good early in this race, and the test of whether my volume was enough this training cycle will likely come in the late miles of Sunday’s race.

When and Where to Watch Jared Ward run in London on Sunday.