It doesn’t matter what type of a runner you are, whether you’re aiming for sub 3 hours or sub 5 hours, there’s one thing that unites us all – and that’s the challenge of finishing a marathon.
It’s not a challenge to be taken lightly. If the furthest you’ve run is 10k in a race, then a marathon is four times longer; for those who’ve already been lucky enough to complete a half marathon, ask yourself if you could have carried on for another 13 miles: we bet the answer would be no. But don’t worry. You can do it, just don’t under-estimate the challenge of running 26.2 miles.
DOES IT HURT?
Everyone’s heard of the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’. Well, every runner will tell you that running could get painful – and there’s no denying that the marathon is right up there in the pain stakes. The trick is to minimise the pain by laying down a firm foundation.
WILL I MAKE IT?
The answer is a loud and clear ‘yes’ providing you have done the homework. If you have trained for your particular goal, eaten and drunk appropriately, paced yourself appropriately and if you think you can do it, then, of course, you’ll make it.
WILL I BE NERVOUS?
The thought of running 26.2 miles is bound to make anyone nervous. But these nerves – and coping with them – are all part of the challenge. Positive nervousness is what gets you going: the adrenaline pumping around your body on the day of the race will help fuel you to the finishing line.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
That’s a bit like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Most runners will have a target time in mind – whether you achieve that will depend on a whole host of factors. No matter how prepared you might be, there are things beyond your control. If you don’t like running in the heat, for instance, then you definitely have to hope for rain.
WILL I ENJOY IT?
Why do you think that hundreds of runners come back again and again to run the distance around the world? The marathon is an experience like no other. Thousands of spectators will cheer you along the route, helping propel you to the end. Most people say they’ll never run another one when they end their first – and yet, usually, they’re back for more, sometimes only six weeks later.