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Running your first marathon

So you want to run your first marathon. Maybe your thinking of signing up to one. Or you may have signed up already and wondering what to expect.

Yesterday I ran my first marathon. Was an amazing experience. Great day and I prepared well. I like the little details. I’m one of those over thinkers. I did bags of research before hand to go over every little aspect. I got advice from other runners and the ginger runner. A YouTube channel I suggest you check out. Followed many of his tips. 

Here are a few things you should consider when training:

Training 

Footwear

Get the right footwear. I would recommend going to a gait analysis and try it out. They will analysis the way you run and what kind of footwear you need. I personally need support shoes but they’re other types. Support, cushion, stability and control. 

As well as this they will suggest socks. Nothing worse than hitting mile 10 and suffering with blisters or your ankles will start to strain.

Clothing

Try out different types of clothing in your training. You might like a tshirt for your 5 miles but come mile 16 it may chafe. It may irritate your skin. Shorts or tights, try them all out. Find what works for you.

Water

While training take water. Work out how much you need. When you need it. I trained with a hydration bag. One I would suggest getting for either your race or training. I started with lots of water and the more longer runs I went on, the less I started to take. Plus when training in hot days it will help you out massively.

Energy gels/ chews etc

Try them all. Try different brands. Try chews, gels or food. Test and test. See what works well for you. What you don’t want is your stomach to be upset or find a certain brand of gel that will make you sick. 

Pacing

Keep to your pace. I use to focus on the time at first. So I would aim to go running for 3 hours. Then 4 hours. Then worked on mileage. Keeping to a consistent pace was great. 

Don’t over do it like I did. On the long runs i pushed it to hard early then crashed. You start to doubt yourself then. Keep possitive and stick to a pace that’s comfortable. Know cares about time. Don’t do more than 21 miles. On race day that extra 5 miles will give you a great sense of achievement. 

Food

Work out your nutrition. What did you have for breakfast? Did it work? What did you have the night before? All factors to work with. Night before did you have carbs? 

Learn

You may make mistakes. You may go off your plan. You may try something different and it might not work. You might hit the wall at a certain mile. Then everytime you hit it, do the same rather than learn from it. Learn more as a runner. 

Get a plan
Get an app or speak to fitness instructors. There are many apps that are extremely helpful. I used Nike run app. There are others like strava, map my run, garmin and Fitbit. The apps will set a plan for you when to do long runs, sprints, recovery runs and shorter runs. You can also speak to other runners. They may have a plan you can implement. Research the internet, so much advice out there.

There are also great golden rules that I use for any half marathon or full marathon. Thanks to the ginger runner and others.
Race day

Nothing new

Don’t use anything new or try anything your not use to. Stick to your breakfast. Stick to your clothing. No new shoes, tshirts or energy gels. Any of this may ruin your marathon experience. 

Start slow run slower

When you start the adrenaline is high. You get carried away at the starting line with the atmosphere, the crowd and the sirens. Start running slow. Then if you think your going to quick slow down. I used this rule many times. It’s 26 miles you don’t want to use up all your energy at mile 4.

Carbo load

Carbo load the night before but nothing huge. I tend to have a decent meal of spaghetti bolognese. Plenty of carbs. Nice portion. The gels on the day will help but what you ate up to 3 days before will come also come in to play.

Hydrate

Everyone needs to drink more water as a general rule. Night before make sure you drink enough water. Make sure you drink enough water in the morning but not to much. You don’t wanna spend most of the race peeing.

Dress for the tempature not the weather

It could be really warm but windy. It could be raining but warm. Wear what’s comfortable if it rains your gonna get wet. If it’s sunny wear cooler clothes. Don’t want to carry to much weight.

Stretching /warm up

Make sure you stretch before the race and warm up appropriately. Loosening up will make it easier on your joints and muscles. You don’t wanna start to stiff. 

Enjoy it
The whole reason you signed up is to enjoy it and push yourself. Stay positive, stay happy if you start to feel down and negative it will be long race. The spectators and marshalls are there to cheer you on. Keep smiling. Cheer other runners on they’ll repay you down the line.

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