Jack Lines
Posted by

Some handy tips from a first-time marathoner!

Jack Lines
Posted by
08 Apr 2016

A few things that helped me out on the day, and some I wished I'd known...

This time last year I was pretty fit; I'd taken the plunge and accepted a place on Bloodwise's team for the 2015 London Marathon after another runner had to pull out due to injury.

When I'd first accepted the place however, I was far from fit. Yes, I still played football a couple of times a week, but I remember going out on my first run - a nice and easy 5k - and having to stop about three times because I was so out of breath! Running non-stop for 26.2 miles felt like a long way off.

Luckily a friend of mine signed up at a similar time and we started training together. We followed the training plan we got from Full Potential as best we could - but I must admit I definitely didn't manage the 5/6 days a week they suggested! 

They gave some great advice, as did loads of friends and people I met along the way who'd all completed a range of marathons. The main thing connecting them all was this common phrase; "you'll be fine". Well, from about miles 19-24 I most certainly did not feel fine. In fact, I thought of nothing else other than how I would get my revenge on everyone who said I'd "feel fine". However, we made it through, and just managed to squeeze through in the 4 hour target we'd set ourselves. By which time I was too delirious to remember my vengeful thoughts, so all the "you'll be fine" lot were let off the hook.

Anyway, as I said, I got loads of great advice and tips, here are my top ones I did (and wished I'd done...);

1) Practice your marathon morning routine - get up at the time you'll need to be up at, eat the breakfast you plan on eating and go for a run at the time you'll roughly be starting, just so you'll have an idea of how you'll feel when you start and if you'll be hungry, too full etc.

2) One for the men - vaseline/cover your nipples! I didn't, until half way through when I found a St John Ambulance worker who had a massive tub and saved me a lot of pain.

3) If you're taking energy gels, get something comfortable to hold them in. I ended up using a sweatband, but hadn't practiced with it and found it quite irritating on the day.

4) Start slow! It's really hard at the start to stick to your planned pace, but do it, you'll regret going out too fast - I learnt the hard way!

5) If you're running with a friend and make a toilet stop, make sure you confirm a meeting point! We didn't and ended up losing each other for about 4 miles. 

6) Go to the toilet before you get to the start point - the queues are massive.

7) Enjoy it! I wished I'd soaked up the atmosphere a bit more rather than focussing on my pace, time etc.

Hopefully you'll find some of this useful! Best of luck and thanks again for running for Bloodwise!