/ First Marathon Advice

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JamButty - on 06 Jan 2017
Hi HNY UKCers.
I've signed up for my first marathon in June, a hillyish trail one in Coed y Brenin. I've done a couple of halfs and am fairly happy around 10km. I do a limited amount of hill running. I've never ran for longer than 2.5 hrs and I'm a slow runner so at best I'm expecting around 4.5 - 5 hrs.
Most training programs seem to have 16 week build ups and they're all pretty similar so I intend to use one of those
Does anyone have any advice for me over the coming months.

Much appreciated all.....
Somerset swede basher - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

I find weekly milage is often very high on most training plans and because I run quite quickly I found following one without injury hard. When training in the past Ive stuck to one long run (20km +) a week gradually increasing in distance and 2 short runs (8-10km each) and that has worked quite well for me.
dread-i - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

If it's a trail marathon the aid stations could be either basic (just water) or exotic (doughnuts / whisky (yes really) / tea & biscuits etc). Practice running with a camel back, get used to drinking little and often. Check out gels and other food on the go. Some gels with caffeine can have a laxative effect, other swear by the extra boost that caffeine gives.

As for the running, steady increase in distance. Its time on feet, so if you plan for 5h, try a run walk strategy in training for that length of time. It's ok to walk the uphill bits, but get used to marching at speed, rather than ambling up. Start to back off the long runs about a month before the race. And enjoy it. All of it. The build up and the race, its all meant to be fun so make the most of it.

plyometrics - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Train consistently.
Take rest seriously.
Eat well.
Don't try and wing it.
Enjoy the process.

Finally, DON'T do anything on race day that you haven't tried successfully before (other than running 26.2m!)
Ken.Garner - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to plyometrics:

Make a plan. Stick to it come wind, rain and hail. (subject to illness and injury).

Once you've got to the start line then enjoy it.
steveriley - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Get some hills in. You could prepare well and follow good advice but you could actually bodge it if you're that way inclined. If you're used to days in the hills you can step up to 26 miles on a certain amount of pigheadedness. Get a few 2-3h runs in for sure and get used to being able to eat on the hoof, or at stops. Most plans will be aimed at road marathons. Trail's different, time doesn't mean that much and they're all different. You'll get a PB guaranteed! Things you might find useful - find a nearby hill and rep it. You can get really tired in half an hour and it'll build climbing legs and mental toughness. Get out of bad, maybe have a coffee and set off. Get your body used to fuelling empty. Use a bumbag or small sac to get used to that. Work out the sort of food you can tolerate. Looks like about 4000' of climbing which will be challenging but not outrageous. Start now! Enjoy.
Scarab9 - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

First up - enjoy it. Too many aim for a time of X or train so hard they hate it. You can work on improving your time if you do more later, but for the first you just want to get round and enjoy it. If that involves a load of walking that's fine.

Do you have a kit requirement? (waterproofs/compass/whistle/map/food/water) If it's trail I'm assuming so. Check what is required and get used to running (not all the time because bleugh, but some of the time) carrying that stuff. It does help to have some practice and know that your bag is fitting well etc before the day.

Get to know what you require to wear in different weather. I run reallly warm so I've run some coldish weather races with a vest and a lightweight waterproof that just meets standards, and know if it starts pissing down I'll be fine. Others I know run in so many layers with the slightest nip in the air that I would pass out from overheating! LEarning what you need means carrying less and that will help.

Get used to taking in fuel on the move. You don't need to run with gels and you may be fine running that distance without food, but it might help. At that distance a couple of gels and a quick snack at an aid station to give you a boost is probably helpful if you've got them. If you are not used to eating or taking gels though it could be bad for you on the day. Same goes for sports drinks if you normally use different ones or just water when training. Plenty of us have made the mistake of drinking or eating something new on the day and spending a few miles thinking we're going to have to dive behind a bush (which is very difficult on the Cross Bay half Marathon when I did this, as it's across Morcambe Bay and is completely flat! Thankfully realised what was causing it, stopped drinking, and recovered after a couple of miles of being very uncomfortable!)

Training plans always seem pretty high intensity to me. I'm quite lucky and tend to b e able to do more with less training than many, but more generally I'd say listen to your body. You should not be knackered all the time from training and being like that will lead to injury, hating what you're doing, and you being run down by time race day comes around. On the plus side, you don't have to have run a marathon in training to run one on the day. Work for slow improvements rather than sticking religiously to a plan that is exhausting you.

Feel free to walk-run-walk-etc on the day if you're knackered. we all have bad days, we maybe don't sleep well the night before, or we set off too fast in the excitement and find a few miles in we're knackered. Don't feel you have to push yourself to keep running as far as possible if a short walk might let you recover. And walk-run patterns move you faster than staggering run in to staggering walk and burned out by half way.

Back to the first point - enjoy it!
On the day you have the excitement, you have loads of equally excited people to natter to (and talking to people can eat up the miles very quickly).
Dave Kerr - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Taper properly.
wbo - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:
Lots of training plans havea weekly long run
I think for many that's too often.. one every other or two in three weeks might work better for you
SouthernSteve on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

A couple of extra points

1. Consider a run/walk strategy at the beginning, you will feel how your body is coping with the longer runs on the walk sections and listen to those aches and pains.

2. Do some strength and flexibility training as well as running at least twice weekly

3. Do some hill training 1200m even over 26 miles is quite a lot

HTH. I am going for my first 100k plus ultra this year and the anticipation/fear of failure with a new event is part of the enjoyment in the end. Steve
SouthernSteve on 06 Jan 2017
The New NickB - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

If you have more than 16 weeks, use them. Get your long run up to 20 miles as early as you can and run 20 miles plus at least 5 times. Just do your long run every other week, ideally on similar terrain to the event.

A hard 10 miles (target marathon pace) is brilliant for form and fitness. Mix up the rest of your training and enjoy it.
JamButty - on 06 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

UKC rocks!! Cheers all. I'd looked at runners world forums and the like and couldn't find what I was looking for.
This week I've done 10k on Monday, 8k Thurs and a hilly 5K tonight, although tonight was so misty and driving rain I spent a lot of it walking as I couldn't see my feet!
I'll play around with your advice over the coming months

tom_in_edinburgh - on 07 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Enter a second marathon a month or so after the first.

There's a lot of training needed to get fit for a marathon and things can go wrong on the day so it makes sense to have more than one shot at a good time.

jondo - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to JamButty:

psyche yourself like you have never done in climbing ...

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