john headshot


By Rachel Grunwell

It’s less than a month to go now before the Rotorua Marathon event on May 5. So I turned to top coach John Bowden for some tips for final prep and training for all those taking part in this epic event.

John is an absolute run legend. He’s a former elite athlete himself and former teacher (Auckland Grammar by the way). He competed for New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games, and has been an Athletics New Zealand selector and coach. He now trains a lot of elite runners in NZ who win marathons, half-marathons and represent NZ at the Olympics. He trains Lisa Cross who won the Waterfront Half Marathon in Auckland on April 8. He also trains weekend warriors like me (bless him)! And if you didn’t think the bloke was a legend already, then you will after I tell you he is the head of Achilles NZ (a charity that helps Kiwis with disabilities to participate in run events). John will be at the Rotorua Marathon event cheering on some of his runners.

Here are some of his top tips leading up to the Rotorua Marathon event. Take note, these are gold! Better still, really listen to him. We are lucky to tap into his knowledge.

Marathon Tips by John Bowden from The Road Running Collective:

  1. Hydration
  • Despite the weather now cooling and that we are into Autumn there is a tendency not to drink as much either during your day or on your training run… DON’T STOP hydrating. So, during the day the famous 8 glasses of water per day is still a good guide to go to (or two litres)-if anything by doing this you will not be as tired by the end of the day.
  • On your training runs (usually the long ones) it pays to practice drinking what you will use on race day. You can also practice taking water at various spots on your long runs these next 4 weeks (by either having someone on the side of the road handing them out to you, or you can place them there the night before in a secret and safe place). Practice makes perfect when it comes to these four weeks of hydrating yourself…
  1. Recovery & Rest
  • This last month it might pay to concentrate on the little things that might make a difference for your performance on race day-so get some extra sleep, earlier nights, stretch a bit more and treat your self to a weekly massage perhaps.
  1. Equipment check
  • Make sure your training shoes are in good shape for the last month of training. Do not try and get through this critical time with a well worn pair of shoes. Or if you are concerned about them lasting… then change them now! 
  • If you are going to wear a different pair of shoes for the race (lighter ones usually) then practice using them on your last few long runs.
  1. Tapering and feeling good
  • Usually you begin to do less training from 14-10 days out so be careful during this time as you will start to feel better and run faster. Be in control in this phase and listen to your body and hold yourself accountable that you will train with the same intensity and pace that you have previously been doing during the past few months.
  1. Your last long run
  • This should be done about three weeks out with a moderate long run say 21km two weeks out before you begin your taper. It is better to be a little underdone than overcooked for a marathon race – so be smart.
  1. Head Smarts
  • Be confident in your self as you have done all the hard work with a month to go. Talk yourself up, be positive, be inspired by reading or watching achievements of others in any areas of life.
  • Work on your race strategy and have plans A, B and C for race day

To enter the Rotorua Marathon event click HERE

To find out more about John and his coaching click HERE

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon event ambassador, Award-winning writer, ‘Good’ magazine wellness columnist, wellness writer for Run4YourLife running magazine (in Australia and NZ), multi-marathoner (19 marathons at the last count), yoga teacher & Polynesian Spa ambassador (co-leading health retreats in Rotorua).


See other inspiring stories, recipes and go in the draw for health-inspired giveaways by following Rachel via InspiredHealthNZ’s Facebook and Instagram

This blog was kindly sponsored by the peeps behind the Rotorua Marathon event #sponsoredcontent