The marathon. It’s the golden egg of the long distance running world. A goal that most long distance runners aspire to complete at some stage in their running career. There is history, prestige and something about putting your body through 3-6 hours of pain that appeals to us and so, in growing numbers we flock to the start line in the pursuit of being able
call ourselves a ‘marathoner’. If we flick through our Facebook and Instagram feeds on any given weekend, it’s clear that someone, somewhere is completing a marathon. For some, it’s their third or tenth! Surely, the training therefore can’t be that hard.. Can it? How much can it really take?
To be perfectly honest, the marathon is a BIG deal.
Reflect back to when you aimed to run your first km. Was it tough? Well, multiply that by 42 and add a little extra. It is going to hurt.
So why do it? Well, why not? Training the body to do something as incredible as the marathon- to physically and mentally accomplish something so amazing is a worthy aspiration but there is going to be an impact on your life. Here is what it is going to take…..
You think you’re busy now? Well, prepare to get busier because every minute of your waking hours are going to be spent preparing for your marathon. If you’re not running, you will be thinking about when you will be running and you will be planning when you are running. You are going to need time and lots of it. Time to get out for your run. Time to rest. Time to plan your training. Time for your long run and time to refuel.
There are things that you will have to sacrifice during your marathon journey. One of them is your time (see above) and then there are things like going out. In order to complete the kms and long runs necessary for your marathon, you need to optimise sleep and recovery otherwise you simply will not get through it. Be prepared for your runs early the next morning. If you like a glass or two of wine well, you can scrap the drinking session too as you have a long run to get through! Expect for your family and friends to see you less because you guessed it…You will be out running! Sure, you can make it work around them, but it is going to involve them, so plan well and everyone will be happy.
A marathon is something that you are going to need help with to prepare for. Whether you:
take on a coach to help you; get help online; or request help from friends who have been there before, you will need guidance. Guidance with your training, diet, fuelling, recovery and mental preparation. Seeking out people that have run a marathon before and asking them questions and advice, is going to help you on your road to a successful race experience. Surround yourself with those that can lean in and give you the guidance that you need.
There is going to be a lot of training. Running 42.2km is a LONG way. I remember when I was training for my first half marathon and I didn’t know how I would get to 21.1km at the 16km mark. Well, it’s double that distance and you are going to need to train. You are going to have to build yourself up for this distance. This can take some people a long time and others can work up to it faster, but as a general rule you want around 3 months to train for a marathon and remember to build your distance up slowly. Gradually building the volume and distance will prepare your body for the training loads that will be required to run the 42.2km and at the same time, decrease your chance of injury. The number one mistake in training for a marathon is building your distance too quickly. This leads to injury and can prevent you from making the start line at all.
Not only will you have a lot of training, but you will need ample recovery. This can be in the form of active recovery like a gentle yoga session, or a walk, or swim, or total days rest. Making sure that you take your recovery seriously will determine how well your training will go, limit injury, and ensure race success. Over training will just lead to injury, fatigue and burn out and probably no marathon.
Yes, money. Running marathons doesn’t come cheap. There is the gear. You are going to need at least one, if not two to three pairs of good quality running shoes during your lead up to and the running of your event. You may need race packs for hydration for example, if you’re running on trail, and of course you need clothing. You are going to need to pay race entries and if the race isn’t in your home town, flights and accommodation for your event. You will be eating more to fuel your body more and re-fuelling it after your training, so your grocery bill will rise. And don’t forget those maintenance checks like regular massage or physio to keep you nimble and free from injury. Marathon’s can be expensive and most cost over $100 to register!
Commitment: If there is anything your going to need, this is it. There are going to be times in your training when you are going to hit the wall mentally, physically and emotionally. You need to know that you have got this. You need to be totally committed to your end goal of the finish line. After all it is your commitment that gets you up at 4am for a 30km run, your commitment that keeps you going when you just want to sleep and don’t feel like running, and it is your commitment that will see you cross that line on marathon day. Remain committed to the goal and see yourself become, a MARATHONER.