or how to finish a marathon, by a slightly chubby and lazy 20 something.
So, it’s that time of year where the spring marathon runners are fitting in their last long runs and starting to taper. It’s hard to believe that 2 years ago, I completed the Brighton Marathon. Especially in light of the fact that my foot has just been such a mess, I haven’t managed more than the occasional 1-2 mile jaunts over the past few months. A bit of me is jealous and wants to join in. One day, I will do another one.
For now, I will leave first time marathon runners with my top tips.
1. Mind over matter
If you think you can do it, you will do it. End of. Sure, you’ll have moments of “why the hell am I doing this?” or “oh god, 10 more miles to go”, but tell that voice to be quiet. You’re doing it because you can and you want to. Maybe you’re raising money for a charity. And 10 more miles to go? Pfft to that, you’re well over halfway there. Tell yourself you can do it and you will.
2. Check your equipment the night before
Or even two nights before. Decide what you want to wear and what you want to carry with you and make sure it’s ready. Check EVERYTHING. Tights, t-shirt, even your underwear and socks. I stayed in Brighton overnight and grabbed a pair of sports socks from my drawer without checking them. The next morning, when it was too late, I realised that I’d picked up two left socks and ended up turning one inside out to run in. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing ever.
3. Don’t get pissed the night before, but a glass of wine won’t do you any harm
Are you a serious runner going for a really good time? In that case, maybe ignore the above. But for everyone else, a small glass of wine the night before won’t do you any harm. Make sure you take in plenty of water and keep hydrated, but if nerves are getting to you in the pub and you want half a lager or a small glass of wine, have it. I enjoyed a small glass of red wine. It didn’t do me any harm.
4. Take some tissues in your waist pack
If you need to stop and use the loos, you just don’t know what sort of state they will be in. Be prepared.
5. Be prepared for the elements
It’s always really, unseasonably hot when I run a race. If I’m not doing it, you’ll probably be ok. But if it is hot and sunny and the medics are handing out sun cream, TAKE IT. Even if you slap it on before you begin running, the sweat will gradually rinse it off your skin, you will get sun burnt and you may not even realise it. Better safe than sorry.
6. Look out for others
Marathons hurt. Look out for others and they’ll look out for you. You’re all in it together. If you see someone struggling, ask if they’re ok. Help them if you can. Others will do the same for you.
7. Put your name on your shirt
It is such a boost to hear people cheering your name and screaming encouragement at you as you run by. You’ll especially appreciate it in the later miles. And if a small child wants to give you a high five, do it!
8. Enjoy it!
If you think you’re going to hate it, you probably will. Instead, enjoy it. Smile through the pain, grin at the cameras, wave at the crowds and get into the atmosphere. Brighton was honestly one of the most enjoyable 5 hour experiences of my life. No reason why it can’t be for anyone else, whether it takes you 3 hours or 8, enjoy it!