I’m still Nikki and I’m still in training for my first marathon. There’s been some highs and lows pver the past couple of weeks. The wind has not been helpful, but I have been lucky, in that I’ve only been rained on, properly, once during a training run. I’m very thankful for that.
This week, I’ve asked Jon Lawrence to tell me about his marathon running experiences. Jon mentioned that running a marathon involves your mind as much as your body. I’ve been told that a few times and it keeps coming up. It seems worth remembering that you have to keep telling yourself that you can do it, in order to keep your legs moving and carrying you through to the end of whatever run you’re doing. Ignore those negative thoughts in order to complete the run. Jon has shared some great experiences and advice this week, so I’ll hand you over to him, beginning with his first marathon experience.
1. Why did you enter your first marathon?
My first marathon was back in 2010 in Nottingham. The reason I signed up was because a running friend of mine challenged me and as I am competitive, I decided to give it a go.
2. What was the most valuable thing that you learnt whilst training for your first marathon?
That you shouldn’t skip any long runs and that you need to build up the distance gradually.
3. What did you learn whilst running your first marathon that no one had ever told you before?
That the marathon is a battle with your mind as much as with your body and you need to keep feeding it positive thoughts.
4. What did you do immediately after your first marathon and the next day?
Immediately after I got on a train from Nottingham back to London. Big mistake as when I reached London, my legs had seized up completely!!!! The next day I rediscovered the art of walking again.
5. How many times have you run a marathon since?
Every year since. 2020 will be the first year I haven’t run a Spring marathon. I have loved the training routine the marathon has given me.
6. During later marathons, what have you learned that you wished you’d known for your first marathon?
That the last 6 miles are the hardest and you need to train, so that you are in good shape by mile 20.
7. What was your favourite marathon you’ve ever run and why?
I have two. 2017 in Manchester as it was my PB and I ran it exactly as planned and finished it feeling great, and last year in New York, which I have always wanted to do and it was such an amazing experience.
8. What tips do you have for remaining comfortable throughout the marathon?
You should set off with a plan for when you are going to take gels and practise taking them during training. Basically, don’t do anything different or new on race day. Train in the kit you are going to run in and make everything a practise for the big day so it’s familiar.
9. What tips do you have for overcoming the wall?
It’s all in the mind – be confident in your training and feed the mind the positive thoughts.
10. Any tips for maintaining motivation during training?
Always remind yourself why you are doing the run and keep focussed on your goals. Also do some pre-race races to see where you are up to in your training. I also find it useful to train with others on longer runs as you can see where you are against others.
11. Is there anything else you’d like to share about marathon running, that hasn’t been asked here?
I think the main thing is to enjoy every marathon and not put yourself under too much pressure. It’s only a long run after all. I am guilty of not following this advice, but don’t put yourself under too much pressure to achieve a certain time and be disappointed if you don’t achieve it. It’s very much how you feel on the day and at the end of it, the only person who really cares about your time is you, everyone else just admires you for having done a marathon at all.
12. Who’s been a big help to you whilst you’ve been marathon training?
My regular training partners over the years on a Sunday, you need great inspiring company on those long runs and the Waverley Harriers have lots of such people – you know who you are if you’ve been on that marathon train. 😊