Newbies FIRST MARATHONing in 2011

A friendly thread for anyone aiming for their first Mara in 2011

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14/12/2010 at 06:31

Hi Smurph21 and Casslass, sorry forgot to say hi to you.

@ Casslass - I always get emotional when I watch the London Marathon I always feel such a twit glad to know I'm not the only one. I wouldn't be so sure about the sports massage being relaxing. My physio does something called illiotibial band stripping on my leg when my hips are tight and after a recent knee problem. She works deep into the soft tissue of my outer thigh and I can honestly say it's almost more painful than child birth (if you watched the peogram about Eddie Izzard running round the UK it's what he had done and it made him cry like a girl LOL) - it's very, very effective though even if it does leave your legs black and blue for a week.

@Smurph21 - I also have my hubby as trainer - it's a mixed blessing I find (I've definately wanted to push him off a pavement a few times ). He's pretty nippy and a foot and nearly a foot and a half taller than me (6' 4" to my 5'!) so he can walk at my running speed which is a bit depressing but he is so supportive, particularly on long runs. We run across county so it's nice to know I'm not on my own too. My main problem is I get really snappy with him when my blood sugar drops so by then end of a long run I'm ready to gouge his eyes out - he knows the signs now and carries jelly babies or a sports gel .  Good luck with the half in January make sure you build up a solid base of long runs. I ran the GSR (10 miles) in October I'd been running consistently and built up to it but had only run 10 miles twice in training and I found I flagged towards the end which I was suprised about. One thought I had was my long runs are a mix of trail and road and very hilly where as the GSR was pancake flat but all on road so I think it was the fact I was running on hard tarmac for the whole 10 miles that was part of the problem when I'm used to a softer surface - a good arguement for doing plenty of training on the surface you'll be running on. I went out too fast which was the other problem - must pay more attention to my Garmin.

I do a fair bit of race marshalling for our running club, if they're good they'll give you loads of support and encouragement to get you through.

Slightly fed up with the ice now, I run on ungritted roads to get to the footpaths and they are lethal I'm paranoid I'm going to slip and get injured.

Sorry bit of a long post. Happy running everyone.


ps just hit Amazon with an order for some running books for Christmas for me (shall give one each to daughter and hubby, who both run, as well then I can read them too )

14/12/2010 at 11:31

Hello everyone!

 K - I completely agree with the ice situation - I've just been out and done 5 miles but its started raining and the water on top of the ice on the pavements has made it lethal...I ran on the roads for part of the way but only until I hit the country roads where the cars are all going 60mph!!

Rox- I completely agree - running is so addictive now.  i used to be a real couch potato but now, if I don't get out at least 4 times a week, I get so restless! If someone had told me 6 months ago I'd be doing this much now, I'd never have believed them!  I really hope I can keep up with those 'real runners' in the half in Jan!! Am going to try for 10 miles this weeked (weather permitting) and then hit 12 miles the first week in Jan before tapering...I think!

As for training with the hubby, well it is definately a double edged sword - he is great to ask for advice about running general but as for training with him - I hate it!! He is so much quicker than me so I find I either try and keep up with him (which means I burn out really quickly!) or he tries to run at my pace and literally runs rings round me without breaking a weat - very disheartening!  Now, I tend to run in the morning (he isn't an early riser) so tend to go solo which I love - its nice to have some time to myself before the world wakes up!

Have any of you been out today yet? Need to get the runs in before all that snow arrives again!!

14/12/2010 at 12:52

Pilates is great, I used it a lot to strengthen core, I went to local Pilates classes at first, but they were expensive and we never seemed to move on, so I bought this and did the exercises at home.

I also do a lot of stretching, I had really bad PF when I first started running, typical beginner's mistake, too many miles too quickly with no stretching.  I built up a routine for all over stretching, but particularly, calves and feet.  The Inverted V stretch is great for hammies, calves and back all in one. 

I also wear orthotics permanently.  I'm tall and had back problems all my life.  A few years ago, I ruptured tendons in my feet and had to undergo surgery.  When that was over, I was prescribed orthotics which corrected my posture and since then, I've been pain free. 

I do think that it's important to build up a good base of mileage, but as someone said, mixing in speed.  My weekly runs include LSR (at slowest speed), tempo sessions (number of repetitions of shorter bursts of speed with recovery,) at full effort, almost gut-busting, and then steadies which are shorter than LSRs, but run at a faster and consistent pace.

I really like HR training, I got into it last year following the January challenge and for whatever reasons, make more progress on that than going by pace alone.  I was recommended the John L Parker Jnr book, "Heart monitor training for the Compleat Idiot".

14/12/2010 at 13:14

Hi guys!  Hope it' s ok to join in... I'm doing my first mara in April in Madrid.  It's the same day as London but much easier to get into and I have friends living there who will offer accomodation and support which is why I chose it.  I've only been running properly since March.  Did my first half in September and have two more halves planned before April (Watford in Feb and Reading in March).  So busy start of the year for me

I've managed to get my LSR up to 16 miles and probably do about 35miles on average per week.  Also run with a running club doing a track session and a 6 mile tempo session each week.  I think I have a good base but I'm a bit worried about the hills in Madrid... apparently the last 6 miles is basically up the hill... can't quite imagine it. 

14/12/2010 at 14:09

Hi all.

I first started running about 5 years but always seemed to keep it up for a couple of months and then not go for up to year! This year I entered the Cardiff Half Marathon and it really gave me that incentive to keep it going and I started running 1-3 times a week from July before doing the Half Marathon in October. I've since done a 10K and have recently started a 20 week beginners schedule for the Great Welsh Marathon in Llanelli in April.

 I'm pretty much bang on schedule at the moment running 4 times a week doing 15-18 miles per week for the first 3 weeks.  From next week it steps up a gear and moves onto 20-25 and eventually 25-30 mile weeks. Christmas period is going to be tough but I've planned ahead and am going to try my best to stick to the schedule.

Good luck with the training everyone and thanks for the tips so far. I’ll definitely be checking this thread again very soon.
14/12/2010 at 14:53

Hi All,

My mind seems to be making the first tentative steps toward a marathon on it's own. I appear to have had no real choice in the matter and slowly I am beginning to think "You know... I'd love to give it a shot!" 

Reading the stories here isn't helping! 

Last January I gave up a 30 a day cigarette habit and began the C25K and now I run about 20m a week (2 fast... ish 3.5m, one LSR of 8m and one 5 mile hilly). I never thought I'd make a runner and although I'm slower than a slow thing, I do love it. I've never entered a race and always said I ran just for fitness but....

I'll follow this thread with interest. You never know, I might find myself signed up.

14/12/2010 at 17:02

Hi everyone

I wanted to complete a marathon before I was 40 and was hoping to do this years Chicago (I have family out there) but.....sciatica struck me down for a good six months (first time, ever) so.....I am slowly working my miles back up. This time I decided I would put a load of marathons in a hat and pull one out for next year. I got the Loch Ness marathon!! (Three times!!) so I am being true to my word and registered as soon as it opened......a hard first one and I can't quite believe what I am planning on doing but I am giving myself plenty of time to train. I am also doing yoga and pilates to try and stop my sciatica from coming back and strengthen my lower back.

Good luck everyone!!

14/12/2010 at 17:21

Welcome one and all.

Smurph take care not to make too big a jump in milage all at once believe me I speak from bitter experience - 10% per week increase with a step back week every few weeks is recommended.

Hi Zoe sciatica is, literally (or can be) a pain in the bum. My magic physio and pilates keeps mine under control.

Go on Gazagirl you know you want to.

14/12/2010 at 19:23

Just back from a long drive with my work and made the mistake of sitting down before going out for a run. It's still too icy to run outside in the evenings and I have almost cancelled tonights running effort. But just read this thread and I'm just about to pack me gym bag up and head to the local gym. I know the treadmill is a bit rubbish, but at least it'll get me off the couch and keep me to my big plan!

 cheers guys!

Welcome to everyone who is just as mad as me for signing thereselves up for the big M.

14/12/2010 at 23:38

Urgh urgh urgh blurrrr grrrr urrrrgghhhh..... I did the dreadmill tonight!!!!! How can something be so bloomin DULL?!?!??! why does 3 minutes feel like 3 and a half months and 9 minute miles feel like a speed only made for springbok?! I don't get it.... shouldn't the fact that the floor is moving making it easier?!??! Rant over...........I got home mega late tonight and my husband banned me from going out so i dusted off the treadmill (bless it, it's very retro with walnut panels and everything!!) and decided to put do ten minutes warm up then 30 HARD minutes doing intervals with an 8 % incline thrown in for good measure. Am feeling quite magnanimous that i feel like i had a good work out AND more importantly i didn't actually die from boredom. an achievement me thinks!!!

Casslass - way to go you for not caving to the lure of the sofa and hitting the gym! i hope you have a less soul destroying relationship with the dreadmill than me!!

Zoe H - welcome & thanks for joining us! I love the fact you tried to beat the hat three times - hilarious!!! Fairplay to you for movig the marathon goal on a few months and not abandoning it all together, i hope you sty on top of the sciatica. I think i might try this names out a hat game to determine which marathon its gonna be, thanks for the idea!

 Gazagirl - hahahha! Go on do it!! There's no turning back after a race mind, you enter into this whole new competitive era... not with other people, its entirely with yourself and no-one else!! The world of PB's!! keep us posted where your mind takes you (with or without consent!!) oh and a massive congrats for kicking the fags and swopping to running... that's a massive turnaround!

Ledgend777 - Ooooooo thegreat welsh sounds amazing, is it full yet? i might add it to my "hat"..... If you can stick to that plan over xmas you're going to be well proud of yourself.... go on, we reckon you can do it!!

Mon 77 - Welcome and of course it's ok to join in! wow Madrid in April sounds fab too... that might go in the hat as well!! You've come a really long way since march and have a really enviable training base going on. Just think that last hill section will be the bit that gives your "marathon tale" extra gravitous when you're regalling the tale to anyone who will listen afterwards......" and the last 6 miles were up hill!" yep that's definately impressive! Do you have hills / motorway or railway bridges you can do hill training on? Failing that definately hit the dreadmill at the gym to get some hills in - they're a mental challenge every bit as much as a physical one. Wishing you the best of luck an keep us posted!

14/12/2010 at 23:54

Jeepers - youve really been through the mill health / injury wise haven't you, its inspiring that you are training at the level you are after that! I haven't tried HR training at all, is it complicated? I think i might need to upgrade my garmin for that as mines virtually an antique off of ebay!

 Smurph - you are a "real" runner - its a state of mind! and anyone who's out running on rain on ice in this weather definately has that state of mind!!!

K - you cracked me up with the risk of gouging eyes out statement!! My husband has just started training with me, i am revelling in the fact that i can outrun him for at least the next 48hours, after which i will be well and truly into eye gouging territory!!! Top tip about the tarmac definately taking its toll if LSR's have been on mixed terrain - i can vouch for this. Oh and a cunning plan about the books!

 Casslass - let me know how the book goes! I think you should book a sports massage AND a nice pleasant holistic massage to help you recover from the sports one!!

 I might be sounding a bit vague about which marathon i'm planning on... that's because i'm holding my breath and crossing everything till thursday when the results of the RW Asics Super Six competition are announced. I applied about a month ago for this competition and was stunned to make it to the longlist and from there to the final in the sub 4:15 category. The winners get full pro support and coaching from Asics and entry into the Paris marathon in April! The two other finalists in my group are both very worthy winners so i'm not holding out a lot of hope but being immensely superstitious i refuse to enter an alternative tilll friday!! I'd hoped on Brighton but its closed now so i'm accummulating a list to put in the hat".... whatever the outcome of the competition, i will be training for a marathon in the spring and i'm so glad to have already found so many others heading towards the same goal!

15/12/2010 at 06:11

Well done on the super six Rox and really good luck for Friday - fingers crossed. I'm not stalking honest I just read about all the contestants some amazing people out there. Pretty photo by the way and the pedalo bit was hilarious .

With you about the dreadmill, fair play for sticking with it. It is sooooooo booooooorrrrrring, now I know what a hamster feels like.

Club night for me tonight so a bit of company on my run - just to assure you club members are safe from the whole eye gouging thing.

Isn't it funny that thing about being a real runner (and does it annoy you to be called a jogger? I hate it personally), I agree it's a state of mind (in my mind I'm a gazelle in reality I'm a hippo). I always think it sad that some sniffy people make you think you can't be a real runner if you aren't running x miles per week or  over a certain speed. I may be really slow but  I'm getting out there and doing it and I'm still moving a heck of a lot faster, and further, than 98% of the population who sat on their sofas in front of the telly.  

Have a good day one and all, happy running.

15/12/2010 at 22:00

Hi K - Thanks for the luck and feel free to stalk this thread so we can keep it going for those that've joined already and see if we can all make the big M this year!! The pedalo experience was flippin terrifying at the time but wholly hilarious ever since!

I'd really like to join my local running club Burnham Harriers but i have to sort my work life balance out first as i have a long commute and never make it back i time during the week, i think i'm gonna put it on my new years resolutions actually to sort my hours out and join! Are you in a big club or little club and what do you get up to on training?

JOGGER yep that gets right on my tripe too!! That said there may be people who are perfectly proud of their jogger label??!

You are a Hippelle!!!!!!!!!!!! Me too!!!! say it loud and proud and jog on!!!!!!!

Happy running peeps - make the most of it cause i think we'll be skiing for the forseeable.....!


15/12/2010 at 22:57

Hi all   I am doing my first marathon in May - the Halstead & Essex. I have done a few 5K's and a couple of 10K's in the past, but it's been a while, and I am having to build my base back up before I start training proper. I decided to sign up for a marathon to give me a real focus to get me running seriously again, and the main reason I wanted to get running again is to help my depression, which has been bad of late. My GP has been nagging me to do some exercise as it is meant to help depression. I have always wanted to do a marathon, so I thought, why not? I picked the H&E because it is in May, which suits me in terms of time for training, and because it got rave reviews on here - not too big, well organised, plenty of support, and nice scenery.

 I'm going to be using the book " The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer", which is a 16 week programme, so I'll be starting that mid-Jan. As I said, just working on getting my base back at the moment. I'm off work atm, as the doc signed me off due to stress, so I'm making the most of being able to run whenever I like instead of having to fit it in round everything else.  So far, so good

Edited: 15/12/2010 at 22:58
16/12/2010 at 04:36

Welcome lacebylady. Know exactly how you feel and have been there myself. One of my main reasons for running is stress management and it really does help, sometimes I find it difficult to get out of the door but I force myself as I know I will feel better if I do. One of my mantras

One day you will not be able to do this, today is not that day. (not original I found it on the US runners world site,but I find it motivating)

I'm early awaiting the non runners mara book (Amazon must have had a run (no pun intended) on them lately)

Hippelle - love that

Running with the club is fantastic, we are a really friendly club (no sniffy speed merchants - though we do have some very speedy merchants) you couldn't find a more supportive bunch if you tried. We have a club runs  one night ( various lengths and speeds), hill sessions another night, and track sessions with a trainer on Saturdays (not been brave enough for those). We run in a county short league through the summer, have a cross country team and there is a group that cycles as well. Plus we organise a big 10k every year. Running with the club has definately made me faster (I don't want to slow people down - although they wouldn't mind if you did and there's usually someone going at your pace any way. They've also given me the encouragement to try things I didn't think I'd be able to do. I'd definately join your club if you can.

16/12/2010 at 05:59

Thanks for the compliment, RR, although I'm not sure that I'd say inspiring, more determined old bag!

Sorry that you're going through a tough time, lacebylady, all I can say is that it will get better and you're right, running can help.  Set yourself gentle / easy targets for the time being and it's a good idea to start building your base. (( ))  - plenty of folks around here going through or who have been through a similar situation to you, so you'll find a lot of sympathy.

Re the HR training, I find it very easy and have followed the principles in the book recommended to me "Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot" by John L Parker.  You have to work out your RHR, then your max HR, the latter being your actual max based on exercise and not an estimated one.  There's a calculation that you do which then gives you your HRs for specific training zones.  Once you've got those, you just ensure that you run your session at the appropriate HR.  The difference between that form of training and pace-based training is that if you run to HR, your pace will vary but your HR shouldn't (+/- 5bpm or so), whereas if you run to pace, then your pace should remain constant but your HR will vary.  You do include tempo sessions, but the emphasis is on less hard sessions which use up glycogen stores tiring you out more quickly. 

I like it - but maybe it suits me as I'm older!  For a host of reasons (most out of my control ), training with me is always sporadic but I had managed to get my LSR pace down by 1 - 2 m/m and was able to knock out some 8 - 8:30m/m (not many, but I did manage it!), so I'm going to carry on with it, once I'm back on my feet.

16/12/2010 at 06:05
Thanks for the tip about the book Jeepers off to check that out now. I use an HRM but only really to check I'm not overdoing it on LSRs and I feel it's something I could utilise more.
16/12/2010 at 06:19

Morning k

I got mine from Amazon, about a year ago, cost £10, not sure if they still have it, but a good read.  I started doing higher mileage last January, had a lot of (enforced) time off this year, then picked up again in the summer, back to 45 - 50m/wk, all on the back of HR training and without injury etc.

That's one of the reasons why it gets my vote

16/12/2010 at 10:24

Hi guys,

 Thought I would drop in and say hi!  I have been running on and off for 4 years - due to ill health I had to keep dropping out, but thankfully I have been very well and I have been training hard from May time this year.

 I am also hoping to do my first marathon this May and possibly my second marathon 3 weeks later!  Bit ambitious??

With regards to training I haven't been doing a lot of running due to snow and ice but I normally run 4 times during the week and a longer run at the weekend.  I also do other training - core work, weights, cross training, pump and spinning on occasions.

 I am having really serious issues with the psychological side of my training.  I am so afraid of not succeeding, not being fast enough, not being fit enough that I have really isolated myself.  I know a few people that do run, and I would love to join them, but even thinking about it gives me severe anxiety!!!   I don't know how I will ever be able to race.  I know I am just putting far too much pressure on myself!

Any tips on how to overcome this would be more than welcome

16/12/2010 at 10:57

Morning all,

I was out doing my 5 miles early doors this morning to try and avoid the dreaded snow - although the snow hasn't materialised yet and its now drizzling....fingers crossed the snow stays away cos I really want to do my long run on Sunday on tarmac instead of snow/ice or the treadmill!

 I have that book too - The Non-runners marathon guide - although was slightly sceptical about the training plan in it - the longest run only goes up to 18 miles - that's 8 miles short of the full marathon distance - I know on the day that the adrenalin will carry you through a few miles but I'm not sure my adrenalin will carry me 8 miles!! Any thoughts on this?

Morgan - welcome to the thread! Maybe with regards to your anxiety, if you go on a run with someone that you know really well and you won't feel self-conscious with it might make you feel better? It could be one of things where when you've done it once, you'll be fine...I used to hate running in the daylight for fear of ridicule for being too fat/too slow/too red faced (!) but then one day I had no choice so headed out and when I realised it was ok and most people ignored me, I was fine!

2 marathons within 3 weeks? You're very brave! I think it'll take me 3 weeks to be walking normally again!! I am debating entering another marathon in September (my first one is in April) but part of me wants to wait to see what my frist experience is's tough though because the registration closes in February...tough decisions!

Anyway, happy running to you all!

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