Friday 25 October 2013

Running my first marathon: HOW?!

After getting my head round WHY I had decided to run a marathon, the question remained: HOW do you even begin to be ready for the assault on the body that is 26.2 miles of tarmac?

Let me be honest: I have never run more than 13.1 miles (once), and I have no idea how to run a marathon. ‘Just put one foot in front of the other on the day’ clearly isn’t going to cut it.

Fortunately for me, there are plenty of people who have survived such events and who have lots of advice to give. Even more fortunate is that, thanks to the world of Twitter, these people can hear my cries for help from The Tower of Marathon Terror and, with their advice and support, swoop in as my virtual knights in shining armour. Eat your heart out, Rapunzel!

It’s 25 weeks until London marathon and I know that I want to give myself the best chance of injury-free training success and get started ASAP. So, I hollered at my Twitter homies:

Runners! What marathon training plan have you followed? What training plan advice would you give to marathon 1st timer?

Here’s some of the responses:

I followed one from Runners World (free download) with the last one I ran. Always tailor to suit your own needs though!

I made up my own :) Increased the weekly long run every week and had 1 short run + 1 medium run a week + 2 crossfit sessions
I believe the strength training keeps me injury free and it helps that Crossfit is a lot fun too :)

@melissawebb_ (this girl is gonna be taking Paris marathon, 2014, by storm!)
I'm going to be using this Hal Higdon one for Paris:  There's more advanced ones on there too.'s a bit standard, so I'll make some of the sessions speedwork too. Will def go crazy if I can't continue yoga as well!

@Cat_Simpson_ (an Ultra-marathon runner, no less!)
take an online one (lots @runnersworlduk) & make it your own to fit around what you can realistically do training-wise...
:D It's all about making it work for you, not complicating things & enjoying it as much as poss-you'll get far more out of it

the weekly long run is so, so important. Stay within a weekly increase in mileage of no more than 10%

run consistently. Cross train too. Keep stretching as much as possible. I stretch 2-4 times a day.
Reply from @UKRunChat: 
great advice, also core work will improve your running massively and your tummy tones up. #result!

I used Hal Higdon novice for my first one and currently using his next step for my second!

LSR [long slow run] is absolute key to your training plan each week. Don't be a slave to the plan. Drop back weeks are key. Stretch!

From these pearls of wisdom I have deduced that the key steps to marathon training are:

Cross training (i.e. swim, bike)
Long slow runs
Stretching (hello yoga!)
Tailor the plan to your own needs
Have fun & try to enjoy! (Eh... we'll see!)

So I’ve taken the advice, downloaded an online plan and modified it around my life. As Rhianon says: “don’t be a slave to the plan!” I really want to get the most out of marathon training without losing heart too much as it takes over my life, so I’ll listen to this sentiment and aim to make this plan MY bitch, not the other way around! Yeah, yeah, you’re right: I’ll believe it when I see it too...

Have you run a marathon or are you training for one? What’s your approach? What would you change if you had to do it again?

1 comment:

  1. I really want to run a marathon, ahhh, this post has got me very excited, I just need to sign up for one....!