Training for your first marathon is so special. It’s a real mix of new experiences, new challenges and learning new things. In October I was offered a place in the London Marathon running for JDRF, a charity that funds vital research into type 1 diabetes and also provides support for those living with T1D on a daily basis.
The last few months have been a whirlwind of training, and thanks to my run angel I’ve never felt alone on my long solo runs. It has been a really steep learning curve and as the 22 April is rapidly approaching I wanted to share the top five things I’ve learnt whilst training for my first marathon.
1. FOOD IS LIFE
I love food, I am a champion at eating. I’ve been known to eat two dominos pizzas to myself. However, my love of food has reached a whole new level during marathon training. I think about food a lot, I eat food a lot, I think about food some more. Then came the weird post run cravings. During the last few miles of a long run I think a lot about cheeseburgers.
Prior to marathon training I didn’t eat beef. In fact I had swerved beef since 2014, but one month into marathon training and I had already made three trips to different burger joints around London. Luckily I eat pretty healthy the remainder of the time. I’ve mostly given my body what it wants during marathon training, I figured my weird beef obsession was linked to iron. I think it’s important to keep listening to your body as cravings are often telling you something.
2. BRITISH WEATHER (& stroppy teenagers have a lot in common!)
Anyone who has been training for a spring marathon this year has been treated to a real mixed bag on the weather front. The weather certainly has had many Kevin and Perry style mood swings. One minute you’re feeling all spring like then the next it is snowing, then suddenly it’s a running on the beach in a t-shirt kinda day. You learn to adapt, but who knows what will happen next.
3. PARKRUN SANDWICHES ARE BETTER THAN ACTUAL SANDWICHES (I told you food is life!)
I’ve seen many people rave about a parkrun sandwich. For those of you thinking that this means sandwiches at parkrun you would very sadly be wrong. This is the concept of running to parkrun, running parkrun then running home as a way to make a long run seem less daunting and much more bearable. Most of my long runs have been Saturday morning parkrun sandwiches, it means you get to run some of the way surrounded by people (and off road so no stopping for cars) and you can have your long run done before lunch leaving your whole weekend free.
4. 13 MILES SUDDENLY FEELS LIKE A SHORT TRAINING RUN
You know you’ve reached a whole new level of crazy when this happens, but it will happen. Let’s face it you’ve got to be a bit mad to be running a marathon in the first place.
5. 'MARANOIA' IS REAL
Maranoia is like googling your symptoms when you feel under the weather. You have fake pains, you become over dramatic, anyone who sniffs near you is public enemy number 1 and I don’t know about you, but I’ve suddenly found myself purchasing lots of vitamins and hand sanitiser (which I lent to a germy looking commuter on the tube). Maranoia has no shame and knows no limits.
So there you have it. Running a marathon certainly will change your life. You’ll learn new things about yourself and you’ll suddenly be an avid weather watcher / germophobe. But craziness aside, I’ve loved the training and I cannot wait to be on the start line on the 22nd April.
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