I’ve never been a runner. If someone had told me I would set out and actually complete a marathon, and the London one for that matter, I would have laughed them out the door! But, you do surprise yourself with what you can achieve when you put your mind to it! A lot of people have told me they would love to run a marathon, but don’t think they could do it without keeling over (I feel ya guys), and have asked me questions such as ‘how long did you train?’ and ‘did you walk any of it?’ – so I decided to do a post all about it.
I actually dislike running a lot. It’s painful, it’s not actually good for your joints & bloody hell isnt it boring as f***?! There are some who love running, and after doing a marathon I understand that more, but I must say I’m still someone who prefers being horizontal! I took to Twitter to get you guys to ask me any questions you may have on running / training for a marathon for a person who is, quite frankly, awful at it.
It goes without saying I am NOT an expert and you should always seek professional advice, so if you leave any nasty comments, well then you just dumb.
Thank you Rachel! I will take that credit cause running a marathon is definitely not an easy task! Good on you for setting yourself a goal – this is key to making progress with your running! To answer your question though, I always eat a carbohydrate rich meal about an hour before I decide to run, and made sure I was well hydrated by sipping water. This was mainly for the long runs I did every weekend when I had time to be a slow snail.
If you work full-time and need to have training runs in the evenings, I usually don’t worry about eating until after I get back (I liked to use the thought of lasagne waiting for me at home as a motivator to run quicker). Lastly, in respect of warming up, I literally did quick 5 min warm ups of star jumps, high knees and dynamic stretches, being stretches where you move into them. Examples of these would be lunge stretches for example!
Time, patience, perseverance and determination! I NEVER thought I would ever run 26 miles, so it is all about the “slow and steady wins the race” mentality! In terms of food, I carb-loaded the week leading up to the race to the MAX. I’m talking pasta for breakfast, rice everyday and just complete overeating. This builds up the glycogen stores in your body for race day to push away that dreaded moment of “hitting the wall”!
In terms of outfit, always wear what makes you feel comfortable! I love running tights but had to wear shorts on the day because of the heat. My trainers were tailored to my foot to provide the most comfort, and I bought insoles in the shape of my foot. I had to run on a treadmill in store to determine my running style and therefore the best shoe, which I recommend more than anything!
I put together a few bits I own (or would own if I was super rich) for outfit purposes!
SHOP A RUNNING OUTFIT
For breathing, all I did was breathe in deep through my nose and then slowly out of my mouth. You should be running at a pace where you are still able to hold a conversation with someone. If you can’t do that – your pace is too quick!
It may sound obvious, but to get to 10km you just have to run it! Even if you take walking breaks,the first time you cover 10km it will be your personal best. Then just keep doing it until you cut your time down and run it comfortably! To avoid burnout, get LOADS of sleep, have a bath weekly to unwind and relax, and most importantly do not overtrain. Listen to your body as it will tell you a lot!
Motivation was a main issue for me too! I genuinely used the thought of an insanely tasty meal as a reward for running to make myself go! Girl loves food, what can I say?! Make a killer playlist & remind yourself how amazing you will feel once you are done – that worked for me too!
Pacing yourself with training is SO important (I feel like I am saying everything is, but it is true)! I ran 3 times a week – twice during the week and once on the weekend. The runs in the week would be shorter and only went up to around 14km as the longest distance, however the weekend runs would increase by 2 miles every week. The first long run was 6 miles, then 8 miles then 10 miles… and you catch the drift!
I found out I had a place in the London Marathon in the October, with the marathon being held in April. This gave me about half a year to get my shit together. I actually started training just after Christmas, and followed a plan that took me all the way up to marathon day!
Although I had a plan, I wasn’t half as strict as I should have been. I missed plenty of runs as trying to work full-time, blog AND train for a marathon was quite a tough task. I always tried to do the long runs on the weekend though so that I could get the miles in. Even if you can’t run the whole distance, doing walk/run alternations is perfectly fine to do to ensure you meet the distance!
Did you walk any of the marathon?
Hell yes I did!! Not only that, the extremely experienced runners walked parts of it and I personally think you have too. Unless you religiously run, it’s kinda impossible not to! That doesn’t mean you won’t get a good time though, as it all depends on your pacing, how quickly you walk and how long you walk for! I walked a fair bit of the marathon due to helping out my friend / offering her support, and we still managed to finish in under 6 hours!
What did your training consist of?
Now if you are reading this then you are like me: wasn’t interested in running it too quickly, just wanted to be fit enough to do the distance! There are all sorts of marathon training plans that incorporate speed work, HIIT training and long runs, which are good for people who want a fairly quick time. However as I outlined above, I just did normal paced running. I also tried to do one core session a week, to A) break up the routine and B) strengthen my core (obvs, why else Char?)! A strong core is actually one of the most important parts of being a good runner; it provides a good base to support your poor legs.
What do I need for a marathon?
Firstly, you will want gels and a decent running belt! I used Torq gels when I ran as they tasted great, worked really well for giving me the energy boost I needed and come in a variety of flavours! I bought two running belts, but my Nike one was the best as it was very stretchy so could fit as much or as little as you want! The other one had pockets to hold mini water bottles, which came in SO handy if you don’t fancy carrying water.
There you have it! I am all questioned out for now, but please leave my any comments with other questions you may have and I will get back to you! Hopefully you now may decide to run a marathon, and hopefully this post has helped!