For almost everyone, registering for your first marathon is like taking a huge step into the unknown. Here’s our founder’s thoughts on his first experience, plus some things to think about, before you sign up!
“I remember when signing up for my first in 2012 – the off road classic, Clarendon Way Marathon – experiencing a deep feeling of uncertainly and fear! Could I do it? What would it feel like? How do I prepare? But as with most things in life, there really is only one way to find out…GO FOR IT!
Here’s 5 things I would recommend considering, when deciding if a marathon is for you!
My reasons were twofold; Firstly, I was seeking out a new challenge and secondly, I was inspired to raise as much money for Prostate Cancer UK, in honour of my Grandpa, who had recently lost his battle to the disease.
Whatever your reasons, you’ll need to understand them well and keep them close to you, as when the tough days in training come (and they will), this above all else will keep you going!
There is no way to know for certain without simply trying. However you should consider your running experience to date. What is the furthest you have run? How did you feel? How regularly have you been running during the last 3-6months?
I had never run a race further than 10K when signing up, but I had run 16miles a couple of times in training, so I knew all too well how tough it would be! The thought of running another 10miles after completing those runs was unimaginable at the time!
These questions should help to determine how long you’ll need to train. The good news is, even if you haven’t run a huge distance before, you can take as much time as you need to prepare for the marathon, by carefully selecting your race date.
With over 100 marathons to choose from in the UK alone, this is a big decision. Don’t rush into it. Everyone has different preferences. My decision to take on the Clarendon Way marathon, which is 90% off road and notoriously hilly, may have seemed crazy for someone entering their first marathon. Despite this, the thought of completing a race which was in a stunning location, where I would have to constantly be thinking about the terrain, appealed to me much more than simply pounding the pavements for 26.2 miles.
The hilly elevation profile for my first Marathon, The Clarendon Way!
Ask anyone who has done it. Training for a marathon inevitably means making sacrifices to your usual way of life. What these are, will be entirely dependent on your lifestyle. It might mean cutting back on your alcohol intake, switching to a healthier diet, getting up earlier to squeeze in a run before work, spending less time with your friends and family…
Only YOU will be able to anticipate what sacrifices YOU will need to make. Give them serious thought and factor them into your planning from the start.
The good news is, the rewards of completing your first marathon, will almost certainly justify the sacrifices!
Support comes in many different forms. Maybe it’s your local running club who can offer you guidance and experience? Maybe you have a friend or two who are looking to embark on this adventure with you? You can do it all on your own, but it will certainly be easier, if you have a good support network.
One final thing I would recommend, is to make sure your friends and loved ones are aware of your decision and the reasons why you have made it.
You will be amazed by how much support you’ll receive, if you share the journey and ask for help when you need it!
I hope these considerations help. It’s not an easy decision, but if you go for it, I’m sure you will not regret it!
The feeling after completing your first Marathon, is something you'll never forget!
We’d love to hear about your marathon or indeed any distance running experiences! Make sure to keep sharing your story with us and our community, on the Ripl Sports social media pages, using the #myripleffect !