What to expect when you sign up for your first marathon

I remember saying that I would NEVER run a marathon. I ran my first half marathon and as I approached the finish line I thought I would never be able to walk again, so how people ran that distance again straight away felt crazy to me!

Well 5 marathons later, and another already booked for next year, let’s have a little look at what happens when you book a marathon.

London Marathon Medal 2016
  1. You feel all brave and hit the button to sign up for your first marathon. The excitement is great and you are raring to go.
  2. You share your news on social media and everyone is happy for you. This is going to be SO exciting.
  3. A couple of days later, when the adrenalin has worn off, you think F*#k! What the hell was I thinking of?
  4. With the fear and negativity truly ingrained, you start to google training plans. Wow, training seems to go on forever and how can you possibly run for (insert longest training run on the plan).
  5. After choosing your training plan, you actually can’t wait to get started. The anticipation of the start date of your training cycle is immense.
  6. Prior to the start date, you think about all the things that you are going to do alongside your running; eating sensibly (possibly lose some weight), stretch daily, strength train, get lots of sleep, foam roll… the list is endless.
  7. Your start date comes and you are loving life. The first run was a dream, you got back and had a protein shake, you stretched, foam rolled, you are going to enjoy this journey.
  8. Your first long run comes and goes and although you struggled to slow down enough for a Long Run you are very pleased to get that ticked off the plan. How is week 1 completed already?
  9. 6 weeks into the plan, you are glad to have gotten over your cold. You are starting to feel tired. Stretching, what’s that? How have you not lost weight? You have only missed a few sessions off the plan!
  10. Week 11; when is this going to end. It is relentless. You are tired, your runs are getting longer. You are hungry ALL the time. You are doubting that you will ever be able to complete a marathon. You also have your longest run EVER looming and that scares you.
  11. Once your longest run is completed, you are so happy to start the taper time. Although taper isn’t all you thought it would be, as you still have to get out and run x number of days a week. Even though the mileage is coming down, some of the runs are still LONG!
  12. The final weeks before the marathon, you start to feel sluggish. How can you have just completed all of those weeks of training, yet you feel the most unfit you have in a while. Why did you sign up for this? What were you thinking?
  13. You attend the expo/your bib arrives, the excitement builds.
  14. You stand on the start line of the race, all the nerves, excitement, and anticipation. Then just as you are about the start, again, it hits you. You NOW have to run 26.2 miles!
  15. You complete the marathon. It was like a rollercoaster. You loved some bits, you were scared at some parts, you wondered if you would stay alive, you constantly wonder if it is EVER going to finish.
  16. You finish. NEVER again.
  17. You can’t quite believe what has just happened. You want to eat all the food and drink all the alcohol. You take one bite and one sip and actually you don’t want anything at all. You are walking like you have had an accident. You just want to sleep. 
  18. Well, you do want to sleep, but your mind won’t let you. Also, who knew sleeping hurt! Every movement hurts!
  19. A week later you are feeling a little lost. What do you do with all this free time that you now have?
  20. You are not quite sure how this just happened, but somehow you have just signed up for your next marathon. And so it begins again!!
Chicago Marathon Medal 2019

I have written about my training cycles here. reading back over them allows me to see the progress, or to compare cycles. I think my training cycle for Manchester Marathon should have started really, but this one will be slightly different as I think a 12-week programme is going to have to suffice.

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Do you agree? What other thoughts cross your mind? Are you running a marathon in 2020? Comment below and let me know.

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