The London Marathon Experience
The thought of running your first London Marathon can be an exciting yet daunting prospect.
Every year, more and more people get swept up by Marathon fever. It really is an inspiring, and often emotional event.
So you have harnessed those emotions, taken the plunge and managed to secure your place for 2019.
And suddenly there are less than 6 months to go before the big day!
And if you are a first-time runner, now is the time to start planning ahead.
But here are a few things you should consider before you dive into heavy training.
Your first London Marathon – Getting your priorities right
If this is your first Marathon the priorities probably seem simple enough. Run as much as you can. And by the time next April comes, you should be able to run 26.2 miles (hopefully in a half decent time).
It sounds simple enough. But there are many potential pitfalls along the way. Not least of all injury.
Your number one priority should be to stay healthy. If you start getting ill you won’t be able to run.
Running can very quickly become addictive. But pounding the pavement 4 or 5 times a week, after having been relatively inactive, can quickly deplete the immune system and lead to sickness or injury.
Marathon training – rest and recovery
Part of learning to stay healthy is learning about rest and recovery. In the early stages of your running, you will probably want to push on. As you see improvements you’ll be tempted to run for longer or run more often. However, the best way to ensure adequate rest is to plan for it. And more importantly, stick to the plan once you have it.
Rest is obviously part of recovery, but from a physiological point of view, there is a lot more involved besides rest. As soon as possible you need to start educating yourself about proper nutrition, hydration, warm-ups, and post-run stretching.
You need to get into good habits with regard to stretching very early on. Stretching isn’t something you start to do when problems start to happen, it’s something you incorporate into your everyday routine to guard against things going wrong in the first place.
If you want to find out more about stretching, by all means, book an appointment with a qualified physiotherapist.
As the mileage starts to increase you’ll need more sleep too. It’s one of the fundamentals of a good recovery. It’s useful to start pre-planning your social schedule in advance so that you can factor in more sleep closer to race day.
Many marathon training schedules are 16-week programmes. This effectively means you’ll be very busy with your training between the new year and the day of the London Marathon itself. Plan to keep your commitments to a minimum during that time.
And finally, find ways to keep interested and motivated as you go along. In the early stages of your training, long walks in the country will start getting you used to long stints on your feet. And if you dig deep, you’ll find other cross training methods that will help your cause. Even things like Pilates!
Whatever you do, remember, slow and steady wins the race. Now, that really would be something!