Seven top tips for the Manchester Marathon from Team GB Olympic runner Steph Kessell

Some of it might sound like common sense but you'd be surprised how much you can forget come race day.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 7th April 2024

Well, Mancs, it’s that time again – time to lace up our running shoes, get our homemade signs at the ready and pray for good weather as the Manchester Marathon is nearly here and we have tips.

2024 is already shaping up to be a historic year for one of Europe’s most popular races and the UK’s second flattest marathon (good news for those of you taking part) and we genuinely can’t wait to see the city and the rest of Greater Manchester buzzing with excitement as hordes of runners descend on 0161.

But before we come flying out of the traps too fast, you know what they say: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Luckily, we’re sure all of you wonderful people have been putting the same graft into training as you do any other day. Nevertheless, we’ve still got some extra bits of useful advice for this final week.

And it’s not just from us part-time runners; Team GB Olympic marathon runner and professional adidas athlete, Steph Kessell (née Davis) has been kind enough to share her seven biggest tips to make sure you’re all sorted for when you hear the starting pistol. Let’s hand it over to the expert, shall we?

Seven top tips for the 2024 adidas Manchester Marathon

1. Taper

In the final week, your overall training volume and intensity should have dropped to less than 50% so you can get to the start line of the marathon feeling fresh and raring to go.


Your last higher-intensity session should be four to five days before the marathon and include some marathon-paced intervals, but not many of them! You can find suggested event week sessions in the Manchester Marathon training plans HERE.


Sounds simple but we can’t stress enough how big a step this is as sleep is the most important recovery aid. Hopefully, you have been getting plenty of sleep throughout your training block but during this final week prioritise early nights and aim to get your 8 hours.


It’s common to not sleep very well the night before the challenge but don’t stress; if you’ve been able to sleep well in the build-up, then this won’t affect your event. If you can’t sleep, try to stay in bed and relax – this is still good rest and recovery time.

3. Hydrate

how much water should i drink during a marathon
If there’s even just one of these tips that you take seriously for the Manchester Marathon, make it this. (Credit: Nigel Msipa via Unsplash)

Again, sounds simple but so crucial. You want to go into race day feeling hydrated, as dehydration has a negative effect on performance, even if it’s not that warm outside. Carry a water bottle around with you to remind you to drink regularly aiming for at least 1.5 litres a day right up until the big day.

If you have some electrolyte tabs handy then take one daily as well as one the evening before the event to ensure you are extra hydrated come your start time.


4. Make sure to prep your kit properly

If you haven’t worn your event day kit for a run yet, then this is your final chance to test it out. You want to feel comfortable, wear the right amount of layers and avoid chafing. Nothing is more annoying than being distracted by an itchy hat or the wrong pair of undies (yeah, we said it).

From sports bras, socks, heart rate monitors, race belts and hydration packs, try absolutely everything that you plan to wear when it’s go-time the night before at the very least, so that way you can feel confident on the start line.

5. Strategise

At the start of event week write out a plan for the event day. What pace will you start at? When will you take on fuel? Where are the water, gels and toilet stops? It all counts and most importantly helps keep you in control. When you’ve planned this out in advance and read over it again and again before the day, it’ll help you feel more relaxed and confident because you already what you’re going to do.

A detailed plan can also be a good distraction from the nerves as it gives you something to focus on. Break it down into five to seven stages or so and take each part as it comes. You can find info on all of this HERE.

6. Plan how you’re getting there

Another one that will help ease your nerves. Don’t leave it until the morning of to decide how you are going to travel there. Plan out your route and leave plenty of time to get there.


A leisurely start to the day will be more pleasant than a last-minute frantic dash trying to find the bag drop and loos. You can find plenty of useful travel information and more in our full guide to the 2024 Manchester Marathon.

7. Stay warm

We mean this both figuratively and literally. Marathons often require an early start which means it can be cold (and it is Manchester, after all), so as well as warming up, stretching and keeping those limbs loose, bring a top or jumper you want to donate to charity to keep you warm at the start line.

At the Manchester Marathon, you can keep wearing this right up until the end of the start chute where you will see signs to show you where to donate it as you get close to the start gantry — just make sure that you don’t drop it too early! It’s a nice touch that we love.

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And that should just about do ya’. We’re strong believers in preparation playing a key part in all walks of life and, in this case, the bits where you’re running too. Cheers for the help, Steph.

At the end of the day, it’s also worth reminding that the Manchester Marathon is also just an incredible day for the city and the region as a whole too, so tips or not just go out there and enjoy it.


We’re glad to inform you that we’ll have feet on the ground representing The Manc as well, so you’re not this alone – in fact, far from it as there’s a record 32,000 of us taking part this year.

See you on the finish line!

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Featured Images — adidas Manchester Marathon