The London Marathon is in less than 2 weeks. I feel a little bit nervous, a tiny bit excited but mostly relieved. I’m so glad it’s almost over and I’ll never have to say the words “long run” again, well at least for a while. I’ve been training since the beginning of the year for the marathon and it has been tough! I knew the running would be hard as that’s what everyone told me but would you believe me if I told you that the running is actually the easiest part of marathon training? No one prepared me for how hard the other elements of marathon training would be, so here are a few things that no one tells you about marathon training to help you prepare for your first 26.2 mile race.
Avoid spring marathons
In the unlikely situation that I find myself running a marathon again, it won’t be a spring marathon. I’m not doing it again! Spring marathons mean training in the winter and the winter = COLD!. This year we’ve been so unfortunate with the weather, it’s snowed all the way up until March in London which meant some of my longest runs were performed in the freezing cold. Because of this, they were slower than I would have wanted due to ice covering the pavements and it would take me at good couple of hours to thaw out after each run. If it’s not snowing, then it’s raining and of course you don’t want to go out on a 3 hour run in the pouring rain in case you catch a cold. Which brings me on to my next point:
You’re always ill
Marathon runners, I don’t know about you but when it was really cold I found myself waking up the day after every long run with a cough and a sore throat. “Wrap up warmer” is what they said. But the reality is, I wore 3 layers, a windshield, gloves, thick running leggings…what more could I wear! I even upped my supplements and started taking zinc, magnesium, multivitamins and vitamin D daily but it still didn’t give my immune system the boost I was after. That being said, with the temperature rising a little bit I have been feeling more like my healthier self after each run.
You’re always tired
Like always! Especially in the later stages of training. The closer we get to Marathon day the more my energy levels decrease. Whether I get 4 hours sleep or a full 8, I wake up feeling like I slept for 10 seconds. For a while I thought it was just me and my late bed times but after speaking to friends who go to bed at 9am and still wake up feeling tired, I know it’s not just me. It’s the marathon! I’m making it my mission to get 10 hours sleep every single night next week to ensure I feel somewhat refreshed come Sunday.
It’s all you talk about
“Hi Tashi, how are you”. “Yeah I’m fine, got the marathon next week”. I’m a woman possessed telling everyone I meet that I’m running the London Marathon. Most people don’t even care but right now it’s all I talk about. I have so many more exciting things happening in my life but the only words that seem to come out of my mouth during a conversation are “London Marathon” followed by “never again”. I’m sorry, I just can’t help it.
You become obsessed with the weather
A few days before a long run I’d be looking at every weather channel and website under the sun to confirm whether I should run on a Saturday or Sunday. And now we’re a few sleeps away from the big day, I’m stalking the weather hourly because I need to know whats going on!! I want to be prepared for race day weather conditions as it’ll dictate my outfit and whether I run with my water belt or not. I’m secretly hoping that the heatwave that has been forecast happens because if I’m honest with you, I am sick of running in the cold.
I know it sounds like marathon training is all doom and gloom (and it mostly is), but there are a few positives that come with it that no one told me, like:
You start admiring yourself and your running ability
The reality is there is always going to be someone faster than you. But when you’ve done a 30km run knowing that you gave it your all, time doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if Shaun from Kent did 50km at 6 minute mile pace whilst running backwards up a hill. Did I mention that he was running on his hands? It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, your runs are about you. Being able to do something that you once thought you couldn’t is something to be admired.
You become fearless
After running for 30km in sub zero temperatures, there is absolutely nothing that I can’t do. Don’t talk to me.
The Running community starts to feel like a family
One of the things I love about running is the community! Whether it be a good luck message from someone on Instagram or an encouraging pat on the back from a stranger on race day. The running community is what keeps us all running. I love being a part of it and it’s made the Marathon journey a little less scary!
I don’t know if I’ll run a marathon again. Although, I haven’t actually completed it yet so I can’t make up my mind until then. But, I think it’ll be a one and done situation for me. Who knows. I might actually enjoy the day and sign up to another one!