The title of this post probably gives you a clue – in the elated aftermath of the Hackney half, I finally signed up for my first marathon.
Running and racing are part of that weird sub-set of events, like giving birth, or serious injuries, where your body completely forgets the pain at the time and lets you do it all over again…
Amsterdam 2018 is booked and training has begun. It got real.
I thought I would share the tips/successs/failures of a first time marathoner in a
weekly monthly blog post on what I am doing, what has worked well, or not so, and any recommendations.
Firstly, I thought I would talk you through how/why I made my decision, and some recommendations for what to do if you are also contemplating your first long distance race.
Deciding the distance
Before signing up for a marathon, I had completed a couple of half marathons and 10km races. I also run 2-5 times a week depending on what I am training for. The furthest I have ever run is about 23km (just over half the 42km I will be doing in October). It was shortly after completing the Hackney Half marathon with a PB that I decided to sign up for Amsterdam. I realised my fitness levels were good, I felt good doing a half and training and I felt like it was the right time to build on it further.
If you are a runner trying to decide if you are ready for a marathon, I would suggest building up to shorter distances and listen to your body. How do you feel with the training, the distance and the race. If you struggle, maybe take some time and build more.
Deciding the race
I did a lot of research before deciding on Amsterdam. The time of year, the location, the crowd and the route were all factors I considered.
Amsterdam is a new city for me and is not too far to travel (no jet lag or long journeys)and the race: has a good atmosphere/crowd; is in October, so final training is not in summer and it should not be too hot on the day; has relatively flat but interesting route; and I know other people running it- moral support can never be underestimated (both training and on the day).
Deciding the plan
I think there are two keys to a good marathon plan:
- To have one; and
- For it not to be too rigid.
It is easy to spend a lot of time worrying about your plan: is it right? Is it the best plan for me? How many days should I train? How long should it be? Etc.etc.
Whereas, at the end of the day, if you follow a plan that keeps you running regularly, increases your mileage and is sustainable for yourself, then it is a pretty good place to start. Everyone has different preferences, different goals and different abilities – so there is no point in comparing your plan to someone else’s.
I am a long time fan of Asics running shoes, especially for long distance. I think brands of running shoes can be a personal choice – and for me the comfort and stability of Asics are second to none. I previously had the Cumulus 17 and I am now running in the Nimbus 19s. I tried and didn’t like the latest Cumulus.
The Nimbus 19s are very stable, comfortable and supportive. I find them really responsive and I love running in them.
I am going to train in these for the rest of my training and then maybe get a new pair nearer the big day!