My Marathon Experience

About 10 months ago at a friend’s engagement party over a couple of champagnes I somehow got dragged into a pinkie-promise between three of us to each complete our first Marathon this year! Thus began my journey to Melbourne Marathon 2014.

So how did I prepare myself for the 42.195 km I was going to run on October the 12th 2014? Making the decision to participate at the very end of February I had seven and a half months, which I broke down into monthly increments so that the task ahead didn’t seem so daunting.

Training: Having a reasonable base line fitness and completing a 90 km bike ride as part of a team at the Busselton Half Ironman in May 2014 meant that the first half of the year was consumed mainly with training on the bike. After the event I allowed my body a month to recover and enjoy some (well deserved) down time before I got stuck into my run training in early June. This gave me about 4 months to mentally and physically prepare myself for this 42.195km run. I tried to keep things simple! For the first couple of months my training my weeks looked something like this:

Monday – 7 km run (to work) Tuesday – Rest day Wednesday – 7 km run (to work) Thursday –2 km swim Friday – Rest day Saturday – Yoga or Pilates Sunday – long run building from 10kms with an extra 1-2 km each weekend until I reached 25kms in late August

In early September, I was very fortunate to cross paths with a colleague who unknown to me was a previous multiple marathon finisher with some coaching experience. That’s when things started to get interesting. Ramping up the runs to four a week, including both a long and short interval session, plus progressing my Sunday run up towards 34km two weeks out from race day allowed me to increase my pace, mentally prepare myself for what to expect over long distances and try out different fuel options for race day. This leads me to my next part of race day preparation: Nutrition.

Nutrition: Having participated in endurance events previously I did have a bit of an idea about what I might consume during my run. However, in triathlons I usually would have the leisure of consuming the majority of my calories on the ride, all conveniently carried on my bike. This meant I was going to have to work out the best way to carry what I wanted during the race and test out what caused the least gut discomfort. I knew there was going to be hydration stations along the way but I prefer to choose my own nutrition and not rely on someone handing me a cup every 5 km or so!!

This is what I ended up settling on as my race day nutrition plan: 3 x 160 ml water bottles kept in my nutrition belt 1 with raspberry Gatorade, 1 with lemon/lime Gatorade, 1 with good old H2O. These were to sip on as desired and refill with water at hydration stations once empty. I also planned to carry 1 banana, 1 Turkish delight cut into three slices, and 4 Endura gels (my gel of choice). These were to be consumed at 45 minute intervals throughout the race. Nutrition is definitely NOT a one size fits all and whatever you choose, you should trial during long training runs on multiple occasions.