Running a marathon is amazing. When you cross the finish line you feel invincible. It is the culmination of many months of hard work in training. Here are some things I wish I’d known before starting marathon training….
1. It’s just another run – don’t be overwhelmed by the distance
There is no denying that 26.2 miles is a long way but it is totally achievable. A lot of getting through those marathon miles is mental. It’s important to believe you can and then you will. Don’t listen to those naughty internal voices of self-doubt. They are wrong. Although at around mile 22 they will be very loud and insistent.
2. A short run is not a short run
Remember before all of this marathon training nonsense when nipping out for a short run might have involved running a mile to buy prosecco and then home again? Those days are long gone. You will start to class anything under ten miles as a short run. Honestly.
3. Vaseline is an essential kit item
Chafing is painful. Over the course of a marathon something will rub. It’s guaranteed. Slather yourself liberally in Vaseline or face the horrendous sting when you shower later. I speak from experience.
4. You will be hungry all the time
As the miles in your training plans increase so will your hunger. This has sparked a new term in running circles “rungry”. Feel smug as you eat the entire contents of you fridge. You are simply taking your recovery seriously.
5. You need support
Running a marathon is not an individual pursuit it takes a team. Family and friends will help you out with childcare and support you when you’re flagging and feeling low on belief. Another great source of support is the brilliant online women’s running community Run Mummy Run. On marathon day amazingly complete strangers will cheer you on like you are a hero and fellow runners will smile and offer an encouraging word during the tough times.
6. Maranoia is real
Towards the end of your marathon training you will have a couple of weeks of tapering where the mileage drops and the maranoia begins. You will start to feel phantom aches, pains and niggles and will carry anti-bac gel everywhere. Avoid snotty children and coughing colleagues like they have the plague. After all these months of training you can’t get a cold in the last week right?
7 . You are stronger than you ever imagined
Running a marathon will prove to you that you are stronger than you ever imagined. You will overcome blisters, long runs in horizontal rain or a sudden heat wave, force down porridge at an eye-wateringly early hour, feel like you can’t possibly do it and then suddenly you will cross that finish line with arms aloft and a huge grin. You are a marathoner.