When you start marathon training:
1. Your toenails will be ruined
2. Lucozade becomes your best friend
3. The battle is 75% mental
Firstly, yes, my toenails are shot to ruin. Any long distance runner may well have experienced this at some point as I discovered reading online forums after it happened to me. I see them now as a badge of pride for my endurance runs, but I would like to warn any other first time marathon runners that it is quite common, however, any worries of course see your doctor.
Secondly, the difference training with lucozade instead of water has honestly been phenomenal
Finally, on my run today I realised the marathon has now become a completely achievable goal in my mind. At the start of my training I had no idea how I was going to complete the challenge. Running between 5km-10km pre-training it seemed like a hard journey ahead.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how attainable it has been at my own pace. I’ve trained alone with music or with audio books or the occasional phone call to family or a friend to keep me company. Running my longest run of 20.5 miles pre- race, I’ve realised its pure will power to keep going and pushing through the aches. There are times I’ve wanted to cry, when I ache, I’m all alone and I know I have distance left to run to get home or when I see the bridge which is a mile marker from my flat, then it’s tears of joy!
Here’s a few tips for lone runners to help with the mental battle:
1. Don’t let your mind hold your body back. Try to convince yourself the pain is manageable, tell yourself it is, keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you’ll reach your target, at whatever pace suits you (simple I know, but helped me!) Call someone to take your mind of the aches, I find this also helped me to regulate my breathing.
2. Encourage yourself by celebrating. Smile when you hit a mileage marker, it will help!
3. Enjoy it. When you’re pushing yourself through mile upon mile it is easy to lose sight of why you signed up from a passion for running. Take in your surroundings, soak it up, take a picture whilst stretching/hydrating. This is YOUR race so make it a happy hobby!
Just a week to go now until Berlin for me, I’ve had a blast training, with lots of ups and downs but I can’t wait to run it now.
Hopefully some of what I’ve learnt will help!