I’m Nikki and I’m asking the Harriers that have run a marathon to share their experiences, in the hope that I, and other first time marathon runners, can learn as many tips and tricks before we head out to run our own. The runner I’m speaking to today is Penny Elliott. I know Penny has helped many members of the club to run longer distances and increase their speed. Many of you have told me how she’s helped you to run your first marathon. So, I’ve felt very fortunate to have Penny take me under her wing, write my training plan and drag me out on those dreaded long training runs.
Penny ran her first marathon with very short notice or preparation time, but she loved the experience and has since several more marathons and ultra-marathons. She is a great believer in good nutrition to fuel the race, using gels as well as electrolytes in our water to keep us going (they have been a massive help to me). Penny has also taught me that a marathon is only 25% in the legs and 75% in the head (See Penny? I do listen) and that a positive outlook before and during a run will get you through to the end. So, here’s what Penny had to say when I asked her a few questions.
1. Why did you enter your first marathon?
The reason I ran my first marathon was because they rang me up and asked me. I had entered the year before and got injured doing some gardening, so I rang to tell them why I was unable to do it.
2. Where did your first marathon take place?
3. What was the most valuable thing you learnt whilst training for your first marathon?
They didn’t ring me till 4 weeks before the marathon, which meant I didn’t have any time to train. So I told them I would run 20 miles, then let them know if I thought I could do it. I ran 20mls and then carried on until I reached 26 miles.
4. What did you learn that no-one had told you?
I had a great time, weather was good, marshals were great. There were only 500 in the race, so I ran most of it on my own. I did have a man on a bike ride the last 2 miles chatting to me.
5. What did you do immediately after and the next day?
I had a shower which was freezing and then a massage. Went to work the next day. My legs were stiff but felt really good in myself.
6. Do you have a favourite marathon?
Amsterdam, the first time I really got under 4hrs. 3-53
7. What tips do you have for overcoming the wall?
If you have done the training or miles, then you will come out the other side of the wall. Mind you I always start thinking I can do it, I don’t allow negative thoughts.