Newbies FIRST MARATHONing in 2011

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

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11/12/2010 at 23:56

Hi I'm Rox, I started running in february 2010 originally to loose weight but am now completely hooked! I've completed two half marathons,  a couple of great fell races of 12 & 15 miles and some regular shorter distance races on and off road. I have absolutely no structure to my training i just love running as often as i can over a variety of distances ,speeds and terrains.  I've set myself a personal goal of completeing a marathon in Spring 2011, i know that this is a major step from what i've done so far and where i'm at right now - approx 25 miles per week. Its going to need some proper structured training if i'm going to a) start the race in one piece b) finish the race in one piece and anywhere near my target of 4hrs 15mins.

I'd love to chat to anyone eIse out there aiming for their first marathon in 2011 and exchange apprehensions and thoughts on training and working towards this shared goal!

have you entered yet? if so where? are you following a plan? whats your target time? and a million other questions.......!!!

Running Rox

12/12/2010 at 09:14

RR, I can't pm you as you've got your pm facility turned off, otherwise I would.  But great idea for a thread and this is what I was trying to explain and suggest to you the other day.  I hope that you get a lot of people coming on here and joining in.

I was hoping to do my first one last week at Luton, but couldn't, so I'd decided to do one anyhow, just running around my local area, the weekend before Christmas when I had enough time to myself.  I had marked out my route, 10m lap in one direction, 10m back, which would take me, at 20m to my front door.  I was going to use it as a water station, leaving spare bottles and Shot Bloks which I'd then pick up for the final 6m, as I have a route that I use regularly.  My target time would be around 4hr 30, but I'm hoping to be able to improve on that.  Training has been hard lately, but I've just been diagnosed with asthma, which I think was the cause of the problems, so all training is off for the moment and my A********  Marathon will have to be put back into January.

I run about 50m a week, every day except Saturday, for my weekly runs, I get up at 5am in the morning, as that's the only time I can do it.  Sundays are my LSRs.  I do HR training, which I find works well for me.

I'm looking for spring marathons, but due to family commitments, I'm very limited on dates and locations - but I prefer to support small, local races anyhow.

12/12/2010 at 11:57

Hi Jeepers - thanks for ur post! i had a good rootle around and couldn't find a thread in recent use aimed at first timers so rather than hijack an older one i thought i'd take the bull by the horns and start one. Do you know of a sub 4:30 thread that i could join as well? I seem to be able to find sub 4 & 3:30 etc etc i'm sure there must be one but i was getting dizzy looking!!

Wow ur plan to do ur own marathon route from ur own front door shows serious commitment to completing one, it would take some real grit & drive to get around in target time without the andrenaline buzz of race day so would be twice the accomplishment i reckon!!

It must be frustrating for u to have been diagnosed with asthma but on  the plus side if you've been struggling for some time hopefully now with the correct med plan you'll be able to move forwards all the stronger. I  had asthma quite badly up to my late teens by which time i'd grown out of it to a certain extent, it only flaired up if i got a cold etc When i started running in Feb though it was my nemesis, i had to double dose inhalers before going out, whilst out several times and when i got back and still i'd get to the point where i couldn't get enough air in so would be wretching which was NOT attractive!!! A friend trained with me up to my  first half M, she started fine but as we started trying to pick up our pace she seemed to be struggling with running generally more and more, i thought i recognised the signs and suggested she see her GP who said she had exercise-induced asthma which is quite common apparently - as soon as she started using inhalers ahead of running she felt like a different woman... so i've no doubt you're gonna be firing on all cylinders again really soon!!

Have you got any spring mara's in mind? I'm stuck between two - Taunton 3rd April (v v local, small event) or making the trek to Brighton on 10th April for the atmosphere. I love my local events but am gonna need all the adrenaline in the known universe to get me round!!

12/12/2010 at 14:02

Brighton's already closed, I looked, the only places are charity and I'm not prepared to pay for those.  I did my charity run in the GSR last year - never again - hate the crowds!

There are two threads that people use:

shades marathon training


The 2010 Marathon Thread

so you could post on there too if you wanted.

It would be interesting to have a time-specific thread, there may be some around, I'm not sure, if there are, then they'll be under "hot threads".

I haven't managed to find a local race that suits me time-wise, think the earliest is May! 

The asthma is annoying, looks like it was triggered by an infection that I picked up a few weeks ago.  But it's a relief to know that that was the reason for my struggling, I kept thinking that I was going backwards, very rapidly in training, for no apparent reason.  I'd done a 20m quite easily a few weeks before, yet last week, could hardly make it out of the front door.  Anyhow, quiet week or two to see how I get on, managed to walk around the shops for an hour without feeling too bad, so things are improving .

A couple of friends have offered to run part of the way with me, which will be nice, but I'm quite happy running on my own. 

Come on all those of you lurking, start posting!

12/12/2010 at 23:04

Hiya Jeepers - thanks for the pointers to those two! I've also found a sub 4:30 on the VLM thread now - they're a lovely bunch! sub 4:30 or thereabouts

Am glad to hear ur on the mend again, sounds as if you really took a hammering from that infection. Do you think you will get back on track for your solo marathon attempt? My neighbour was just saying that Gloucester is in january (haven't had a chance to look ths up and verify!) not sure where you are and what radius you can travel in though....?

12/12/2010 at 23:07

Hi to those dropping by..... please drop a post!

It would be nice to hear who's entered what as their first marathon goal or what races people are considering signing up for..........?

what's motivated you to embark on a marathon?!

13/12/2010 at 06:10

Hi there I'm planning my first marathon in 2011. Was a bit reluctant to post on your thread because I am MUCH slower than you (and probably a lot older too) but after your invitation here goes...

I  returned to running in April after a six month hiatus for major surgery so it's been a long haul. I'm also asthmatic and don't find it causes any problems as long as it's well contolled. In fact, if anything, running has improved it. I take the usual precautions - take inhaler, cover mouth with a Buff if very cold (I find changes in temp set it off) avoid catching colds, if I can, as they always go straight to my chest. You'll probably find once it's controlled it won't cause too many problems although sometimes it can be a bit of trail and error finding the right medication or combination of medications that work for you (e.g ventolin, the standard blue inhaler, does nothing for me at all so I use double strength Symbicort.

Anyway aims for 2011

  • Lose a few pounds
  • Get faster
  • Shakespere half in May 
  • Fingers firmly crossed if I can save enough pennies - New York in November on my 50th birthday (because it's actually on my 50th, it's in New York and even slow as I am I know I won't be last by a looong way LOL.
Edited: 13/12/2010 at 06:11
13/12/2010 at 14:18

Hi Newbies,

I am a 45 year old man who only took up running in May this year. My Mum sadly died of Cancer 2 years ago so I decided to raise money for Cancer Research in her name by running a marathon. I am fairly fit but not built for long distance running at all. I am built more like a rugby player than a runner so training and running a fast marathon was always going to be tough.

On Saturday 11th December 2010 after 6 months of training and over 750 training miles I ran in my first marathon. It was very hard work. At times my body felt like stopping but my stubborness and determination carried me through. I managed to complete my first marathon in one piece and despite the pain I loved it and feel on such a high. Not just through raising money for a good cause but on a personal level for proving that a non-runner could get off the couch and in under 6 months complete a marathon.

What tips could I give you? Train hard and stay focused this is important because the more miles you put in while training the greater benefits you will get on race day. Marathon running is lonely but keep thinking of your goal and every step you take in training will bring that goal closer. Fitness is only a part of what you need to finish the race. Get your head in order, if you can pschologically focus on running and forget the pain you will be halfway there. For me the last 8 miles were the worst my legs were tired, my feet ached, my back was shouting at me to stop but somehow i kept on. People told me that when you hit the wall you just have to carry on and you will come out the other side. It is true there are points when you feel another 100 metres would be impossible let alone the 6,7 or 8 miles you have left. Keep going and I promise in 10 or 15 minutes you will feel better and can run on. The pain may return but it will go again and before you know it you will be at the finish line with a medal round your neck.

Keep hydrated before and during the race and take fluid and energy gels with you. Don't rely on the water stations they might have everything you need when you need it but then they might not. Dress for the weather. If it is cold wear layers rather than thicker tops because then at least if you warm up you can take a layer off as you run and either disgard it at a water station or tie it round your waist. You should aim to be feeling slightly colder than you would like at the start of the race because once you start running you will soon warm up. Aside from running training try some sit ups or anything to strengthen your lower back as you will feel pain there later in the race. For my feet I wore a pair of anti-blister running socks with a larger ordinary pair of running socks over the top. On my toes where I had previously experienced blisters in training I applied plasters making sure they were comfortable. I think this helped because i have no blisters only one black toenail which is a small price to pay.

As for training plans I used a book called The Nin-Runner's Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett which is an excellent book for new runners with limited time who want to run a marathon but not put in hours and hours on training runs. The book is good because it gives you the physical preparation and also the mental techniques which will get you through those last few miles.

Remember I am a slightly overweight 45, year old man with a young family and not much spare time. If I can do this then so can you. The training and the marathon itself are hard it wouldn't be a marathon if it wasn't hard but looking back every second was worth it. Only two days after my run I feel fine and I am already thinking what shall i do next.

Good luck to you all.

13/12/2010 at 14:23

Hey K Welcome & thanks for posting!! Time & age are utterly irrelevant here, trust me.... We're hoping to add the Marathon letters after our name!! What an fab goal to have in mind for your 50th it sounds perfect and i'm v jealous but crossing my fingers you save the pennies too - it would be an experience of a lifetime wouldn't it.....

Fairplay to you for making the comeback from that surgery - one of my team had that op earlier this year so i know it must have been a challengestarting again!!  The Shakespeare route looks great being in such a historic location, I'm contemplating signing up to the marathon there - the only thing that is putting me off is that its laps of the same route and i'd prefer an a-b or out and back but i really could be tempted! sounds like a great plan for a half though .... had you been doing half's before you had the op? whats your target do you think for May? What tictacs are you using for building on your speed?

13/12/2010 at 15:41

K, you're not older than me, you're younger, so no worries on that score!

Thanks for the info re asthma, I'm breathless just typing this, so  but I'm sure it will get better - some day!

Good luck with your training, one thing that I would  say is that if you can get some miles in before starting the marathon, then I think that that would help.  A lot of people go from 0 - marathon miles and it's asking quite a lot.  If you're going for NY, then you'll have plenty of time and with the HM in the middle, you should do really well.

FWIW, I would concentrate on building up a good weekly  base if you can, the minimum would need to be around 25 - 30m (is that feasible?) then when you're comfortable doing that, look at marathon training, but possibly not starting at the very beginning.  I know that a lot of bods on here have adopted that approach and it works well for them, avoiding the niggles that sometimes come with going in cold.

Well, that was the advice given to me and I've followed that, leaving my first marathon until now.  I've got a good base of miles and I know that I can comfortably do 20m, then it's only another 6m after that. I've found that HR training works well for me, it might be something to look at as if you're coming back after injury, you need to be careful and HR training works on the basis of more, slower miles, not depleting glycogen stores.  I've had major foot surgery and was being conservative, not wishing to incur further injury, so was only running about 30m (3 / 4 days) per week, but by doing HR training, I've been able to increase mileage and run 6 days without (touch wood) any problems.

13/12/2010 at 19:45

Hi all,

Thanks for the welcome, encouragement and tips.

Definately need to build more of a base Jeepers, at the moment I'm only running about 15miles a week tops. I keep thinking next November is ages away but I really do need to get my arse into gear. I must admit reading this and Peter's thread have really inspired me to get on with it. Going to sort out my diary and training plan over Christmas and work out when I can get those extra miles in. The lighter mornings will help when we get them (can't abide the dreadmill).

I use an HRM anyway so will take a look at HR training.

Rox I'd been doing 10 milers until I was forced to stop but never managed to get further - mainly through lack of goals and focus. I've been doing just some simple fartlek so far but contemplating joining track sessions that our running club do (again need more focus). I'm a bit Run Fat Boy Run (or rather girl) I need someone behind me with a spatula yelling at me to get a move on.

Good luck with the training Rox, hope the asthma calms down soon Jeepers (sometimes takes me a couple of weeks to get it back under control if mines gone a bit off the wall). Peter thanks for your tips will reply on your other thread, enjoy your R and R and good luck with your next  venture.

13/12/2010 at 21:16

Hey folks!

 I'll be running my first marathon in 2011. I have chosen my home city marathon -Edinburgh.

Running a marathon is something I have always wanted to do. I get quite emotional watching the london marathon and hearing all the great personal stories that go alongside this. I got into running 5 years ago but for some reason I never stuck at it and haven't run in about 4 years. That was a big mistake. I started running again in October and I am absolutely loving it, I'd forgotton what a buzz you get from it. I'm up to 10km now, so pretty pleased with my progress, although the snow has got in a way a bit of the training. I'm just trying to build up the miles slowly and get used to running again before the real hard work begins next year.

 It will be good to get inspiration from others going through the same thing on here. Although my main inspiration is my sister. She suffers really badly from M.E and she is so brave. I'm going to run it for an ME chairty. I haven't told her yet. In fact I've only told one person so far. I was waiting to see how my initial training went before i made it public.

 I hope you can save the pennies K - NYC would be amazing

13/12/2010 at 21:43

Hi all,

I'm running my first marathon in April and have entered a half marathon at the end of January as part of my training...

I have never really run any real distances before but my husband has done 6 halves and 3 marathons so I thought I would jump on the band wagon! I've been running 4 times a week since September and feel really good for it...I ran 7.5 miles on Sunday which is the longest distance I've done although I had to stop a couple of times due to really bad ice/snow on the pavements.

As my training has progressed, running has become such a big part of my life and I really love the feeling of starting the day with a run.  I know that completing the marathon will be such a great feeling and I can't wait!

At the moment, I'm more apprehensive about the half marathon - I dind't realise when I entered but I think its quite a competitive course and lots of the runners last year seemed to do it in a really quick time! There is a time limit on it and if you don't finish in 2hours 45mins, the marshalls pick you up and drive you to the finish line! I just hope I'm quick enough that this doesn't happen!

Anyhow, good luck to all those who are training/running...I'm sure we can all keep each other going through those long, cold (although hopefully not too snowy & icy!!) winter days!

13/12/2010 at 22:45

Peter - thanks so much for dropping by and sharing this experience, its given me a real insight into whats ahead, i felt like i was there with ur blisters and black nail reading that then!! You've given me real food for thought and a bucket of inspiration to shake off the fear thats set in from reading alot of threads on massive mileage and massive frequency being the only way to enter into marathon training. I know that would be the ideal approach point to be at with a spring mara in mind but i'm not there but still desperately want to do this so thank you once again for the reminder that people from all walks and rund of life embark on this journey!!

I'm gonna start on the back exercises straight away as on my long runs its always my back that tells me im tired so i already know thats going to be a major factor in my "wall"!!

I wish you a fab r&r time revelling in your achievement and keep us posted on what you book up next!! Rox

13/12/2010 at 22:56
Rox I have problems with my back and see a sports pysio every so often for massage and ultra sound treatment. She recommends pilates for strengthening the core and protecting your back, it's made a huge difference to controlling my back pain and my general running style etc.
13/12/2010 at 22:56

K - sounds like you're really getting in the zone sounding determined to plan out the training! As Jeepers says there seems that theres no doubt that building on the base mileage and long runs is crucial but i can definately definately recommend mixing up the shorter speed sessions for giving you a real confidence boost as this seems to show real results really quickly which can't fail but keep you more positive! I signed up to a five mile series that started in sept and have had that and the marathon as simultaeneous targets - that way i get to play mind games with myself to keep me going with all the different training: i know the more long runs i put in the easier the shorter distances feel and the more fast shorter races / sessions i put in the more and more comfortable i feel on my LSR's....... yep definately my top tip (not that i know anything about anything!!) mix it up and feel the results mentally & physically!

13/12/2010 at 23:09

Freaky we posted simultaneously.

I agree I've noticed my LSRs seem much easier when I've done I faster session in the week and week by week I'm getting a little faster. I used to cross train during the week but that's fallen by the way side recently so will so will pick that up again too.

13/12/2010 at 23:18

Hiya Casslass & Smurph and welcome!! This is great, i'm loving chatting to people all heading in the same direction, thanks for posting!  

Casslass - you should be pleased with your progress!! thats a quantum leap in a really short time and its gonna pay off when you start telling people your plan and seeing the admiration on their faces let alone what it might feel like to cross the line at Edinburgh! Jeepers can offer some great advice about buidling up that mileage,  i think you and i are both gonna have to be warey of incurring injuries as we are starting from a less than ideal base mileage! Peter has suggested a book that sounds like it might have some top tips and K and I are mulling over methods of improving speed so I hope we can all help each other out here!

Smurph - it's seriously addictive once you start int'it!! i never in a million years would have ever believed i'd make a runner, madness!! You're gonna have your very own coach in your husband keeping you on track then, i'm sure this will be a great help 97% of the time but there might be the odd 3% where you want to push him off the pavement (at least thats what my husband says he wants to do to me when i'm giving him "advice"!!!!). I reckon the competitive edge to the half you've entered is gonna be a real bonus to your training, having it in the back of your head that this is a race for "proper" runners will keep you focused pushing towards that target time, then when you get there you'll realise that their all perfectly "normal" runners after all and you'll be running with loads of others at your pace and you'll discover you are infact a proper normal runner!! Keep us posted on how that mileage is building up &  Good luck!  Rox

13/12/2010 at 23:22
K - spooky!!! great pointer re the sports physio & pilates, thanks... I know my core strength is hindering my progression now so i've gotta get to grips with the cross training too, its hard though isn't it t give the cross training the same focus as the running? the running always feel more important but i know it isn't, just have to put that into action!!   
13/12/2010 at 23:33

Yeah the low base millage might be a problem - i really hope we dont get injuries.

 I want a massage now you folks are talking about it! Not coz my back is sore, it would just be so nice and relaxing,lol!

I've already bought the book Peter was talking about, i was chatting to him about it on another thread.I've read chapter 1 and then the other chapters relate to specific training weeks so I'll read them in the New Year.

 That will be great to run with your husband Smurph, it will be nice to share a common goal. I'll need to find myself a hunk to run alongside!

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