The world of running feels like it’s slowly becoming a little more social again now. It seems normal to run virtual runs now, with a lot of large scale races offering them as alternatives, like the London Marathon has done – at least we can avoid the crowds! We have the added bonus of group club running returning for many of us to enjoy. There are also a few actual events taking place that we can relish taking part in, with the Fox Ultra, the Farnham Pilgrim marathon and the Dorney Lake marathon coming up to name a few. Good luck to all of you taking part in events in the coming months.
For this month’s Marathon Monthly Kat Hobbs is answering my questions and offering tips on how to handle the upcoming marathon. I will be keeping my head up (something I definitely struggle with when I get tired). I particularly found the advice to start slow and not race off at the start of a race really useful and something to practice over the coming weeks and months. So, over to Kat to tell us about the experience of her first marathon…
Why did you enter your first marathon?
My younger sister did London, as the youngest person that year and she loved it. Me being competitive I thought I would have a go at beating her time. I entered the ballot for London and when I was rejected, I was surprised by how disappointed I was, so I decided to run for St Johns Ambulance.
Where and when was your first marathon?
What was the most valuable thing that you learnt whilst training for your first marathon?
A marathon is a long way and to run a long way you need to slow down. You can’t run a marathon the same pace as you run a Parkrun.
What did you learn whilst running your first marathon that no one had ever told you before?
It was very crowded and difficult to run, dodging people and all the water bottles on the ground.
What did you do immediately after your first marathon and the next day?
I found somewhere to sit by myself for half an hour. I was pleased with my time and performance but I was so tired I didn’t want to see anyone. It was really nice to just be by myself and sat down! I stiffened up so quickly that it was difficult to get back up again. When we got to the pub I was disappointed that cider tasted different after all the gels and from being so dehydrated. The idea of going to the pub after a marathon always sounds nicer that it actually is (unless you are Harriet, who can handle everything).
How many times have you run a marathon since?
25 marathons to date.
During later marathons, what have you learned that you wished you’d known for your first marathon?
I have definitely learnt that there is no such thing as getting time in the bag; meaning starting fast, as you will slow down later – this is not true! You need to have a time which you will be happy with. Find out what the average pace is for that time and start at that pace or even slightly slower that that pace. The hardest part of a marathon is controlling your speed at the start! You will feel yours and everyone else’s nerves.
What was the favourite marathon you’ve ever run and why?
The Fox marathon in 2018. I started 2nd from last, with only Ry behind me (who didn’t realise that we had started!). I worked my way very slowly through the field and finished 2nd female, I was chuffed.
What tips do you have for overcoming the wall?
Words of advise which have stuck with me, are from John and Harriet they say, “keep your head up,” it does help. Also, that you need to take in 100 calories per hour, generally speaking, if your mood is low than you haven’t eaten enough.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about marathon running, that hasn’t been asked here?
Good luck! Stay strong
Who’s been a big help to you whilst you’ve been marathon training?
James!!!!!!! He has set me out a training plan for every race.