How Tough Can a Marathon Be?

Marathon Training and Long runs

You have decided to go longer, having been doing your local Park Run, or even managed a few 10K races.  For me it was more the fact I hadn’t run more than 8 miles and decided to enter Manchester Marathon having continually failed to get into London Marathon.

I had NO idea as to what I had just gotten myself into and he results stuck with me for some time. I used a basic app supplied by Asics at the time with projected time and this took me through specific mileage runs without pace week in, week out.

I got to have actual dread when I had anything over 13 miles. Now let me say it wasn’t dread at the start, more my mind asking at around 3-4 miles “Can I just sack this off?”, ” I can do this another day!”. Luckily I managed to beat that voice in my head and always was better for it a couple of more miles in!  These thoughts stayed with me for my first 2-3 marathons, and I have no idea why!

Regardless of what training system you are using, whether basic miles, Mafatone Method, Hansen Method your Long Runs are invaluable in conditioning your body to cope with race day. 

You will learn from mistakes as you go, whether to fast at the start, finding out which gels or drinks work and don’t work for you, clothing including chaffing, fueling during the week and before your long runs, the ever so nice “bowel” movements. Everyone has their own differences, what works an what doesn’t, use the time as your learning curve and focusing on mindset.

Bad Days

We all have them, do not beat yourself up about it. Whether its just you don’t feel energetic, your legs feel like lead, you haven’t hit your pace goals or you have an absolute nightmare due to incorrect fueling.

Instead see what small bits you got right or what you can improve. If you eat something different that affects your stomach, too quick in warm conditions where you could slow down. If your form was good but pace off the correct form is your positive

Carb Loading

Carb Loading is not what we all saw years ago about huge amounts of pasta the night before. 

Start your strategy around the Tues/Wed before hand, by increasing your daily carb intake a little. This can be a pasta meal at lunch where you would normally have a sandwich or switching breakfast types. Your body then has time to store as much energy in the form of glycogens in your muscles over the 5 days rather than just from the night before.


Dont worry about your weight especially when doing long runs. You will be fueling from during the week just like the event week. As your body stores the glycogen in your muscles it also needs more water to be able to hold this in place, meaning you will get an increase in body weight. Off course still try and maintain a balanced diet within normal calorific levels

Since then I’ve gone onto structured plans working on just time running, working on speed and intervals during the week, with periodized recovery weeks.  I now have a structure and its not slogging the miles on the long runs.

Believe in Yourself

This is all very daunting the first few times that you go through the cycle, but believe in the training and that you can & will come out the other end successfully

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