This time 4 years ago I ran my first official marathon event… the Lochaber Marathon – on the 10th April 2011. It seems like a really long time ago, and at the time, I had already run the distance (13.1 miles up the West side of Loch Lomond and back)… but Lochaber Marathon was hard.
After over 3 months of Winter training, it was a warm Spring/ Summer day, with temperatures peaking at around 22’C. I was dressed in too many layers and struggled from about mile 22 onwards. But it was all made worth it when I crossed the line and my friends and family were at the end cheering me on. I learned a lot from that marathon.
Since then, I’ve run a further 9 marathons (11 in total, including 4 ultra distances), and whilst I like doing them – I’ve come to the conclusion that they are HARD. I like the training and the sense of achievement – building up your long runs to finally achieve the distance on race day. But there’s no getting away from it – they’re HARD on your body.
They take it out of you… they wear you down and they require a lot of training, planning and preparation – not to mention the fuelling, hydration and time.
Last night, I posted the following joke on my LP Trains Facebook page:
How can you tell if someone ran a marathon?
Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.
(and it’s true! We tell you about them because they were hard…because they were such an achievement – to be able to say you’ve done it – you’ve run a marathon!)
I’ve learned to run to heart rate and feel instead of focussing on pace the whole time, and I’ve helped others to run to their heart too. I find pace puts far too much pressure on people, where as heart rate is individual to the person, and allows them to run how they feel and based on a number of factors including, fitness, weight, gender and conditions.
Training for and completing my marathons, has made me place an importance on rest and recovery, on being careful not to over train, or risk injury. They’ve made me realise that I like running, but I like strength training too. I like to mix it up a bit and get a balance when I can.
You don’t need to run 6 times a week to train for a marathon – 3 times a week is fine. The important runs are the long ones and it’s also important to take it easy and run ‘slow’ so you don’t overdo it. (I think) Running shouldn’t be ‘hard’… it should be fun.
The last marathon I trained for – Belfast – I did a shorter than normal training plan, of about 12 weeks, and two of those weeks were rest due to an injury I managed to pick up and get rid of before the event.
This year I’ve booked the Loch Ness Marathon – at the end of September… and I’ll maybe do one every two years to give my body a rest. Or maybe one a year if I’m up to it – we’ll see.
Are you doing a marathon this year or next? If so, which one?
There are quite a few marathons coming up, so I thought I’d gather some posts I’ve done about marathons here, see if they might help anyone out there. And there are some top 10 tips included too: