These have been my life over the last 14 weeks as I train for my first ever Marathon -Amsterdam (oh and the iron man 3 weeks later 👀). From going from 13miles being my longest run ever last year, to 22 last Sunday I have had to learn what works for me! So as a newbie to marathon training, I thought I’d share with you some of my findings from trial and error of my long run experiences.
The night before I always make sure I know my route. I make sure my pouch is packed with gel/food/water and that I’ve laid my clothes out. Yes I go that far 😂 the more prepared I find I am the less daunted I am the morning of. Panicking wastes energy!
On my long run days I always wake and have breakfast two hours before I run. Mainly Weetabix for those intrigued!
This not only gives me more time for natural bodily processes to occur-you know what I’m talking about 🙃, but allows for relaxation time pre run. For me a bit of self talk and relearning the route helps to prepare me for what I’m about to do. It does also allows for the 29 pointless toilet trips I make before I go out the door 🙈
Out and back route for the 18-22mile runs
For all of my long runs I have done out and back loops. (See my two below) I did this because mentally I find it easier.
For example when I’m at certain point I’ll acknowledge my surroundings. Such as a train station or even as far as some rubbish on the floor- yes I properly learn my surroundings. This is so when I’m on the way back mentally I know “oh that banana was 5 miles from the start” and it helps to motivate me that the end is in sight!
Now I will tell you my personal plan. But I must say EVERYONE will be different! My fuel of choice which seem to work well with my stomach are Clif Shot Bloks. I take one cube every 5/6miles to keep my carbs/electrolytes topped up. I also carry a 500ml bottle of water with me on the 16-22 milers. It’s essential to play around with your fuel and water intake, as only you’ll know what’s best for you! The “WALL” people refer to happens when your bodies carbs have depleted beyond a point and can’t generate any more fuel. This is what you hear about most when people run marathons.
Pace is ALMOST irrelevant
When you are first hitting the big number distances. Ignore you pace. Seriously. First time I ran 18miles I just hung on and kept plodding through. 10minute miles were the outcome. Fine it’s what my body could run that time round. The 3rd time I did 18miles? I managed 9min miles. What I’m saying is your body adapts. Don’t push it, the long runs is where your body learns and almost self paces. It’s fine if your aim is a sub 4hr marathon to be running your long runs initially at 6:10km or 10:30mile pace. Only when you’ve done a distance once should you then attempt to run it a tad faster!
Ultimately you’ve set out on this marathon challenge to see what your body can achieve. You have to try and enjoy the process! The hardest part of the marathon training isn’t actually the race day; it’s surviving and succeeding in the gruelling months prior.
So go out there, believe in that body of yours and smash it 🎉