Last weekend was the day. After an eight week preparation period, I ran a marathon for the first time on Saturday. As you know, there are no competitions due to the Corona, so I was on the road without any competition, just fighting with the clock and myself.
The final preparations
After I ate breakfast on Saturday, there really wasn’t much to do before I could finally start running. I filled up my bottles, one with water and the other with ISO powder. I put out a couple of gels and two bananas to go with it. I also had a few small cans of Coke for rations. With only 150 ml, these have a portion size perfectly suited for sports. With sunny autumn weather, nothing could go wrong.
Marathon – The run
Tie your shoes, put on your heart rate belt, squeeze your watch. Then it started. On my four-lap route, I was always accompanied by a family member on a bike. So I could have a drink or something to eat at any time. It also made me all the more motivated to keep up my pace.
The beginning went pretty well. A bit distracted by the bike I might have started running a bit fast but well within a reasonable range. After 6 kilometers I took my first gel as planned and drank as needed. I finished the first lap of 10.5 kilometers after 56 minutes. A solid split time and no problems so far. I walk a few feet to drink the first can of Coke before heading out for round two. It can go on like this for all I care. And it does for quite some time. Towards the end of the third lap, however, I notice how my legs are becoming more and more noticeable. Here a pinch in the calf, there a twitch in the thigh. After 2 hours 50 minutes and already 31.5 kilometers I am actually well within the time. Another can of Coke and a small bite of banana, then my brother euphorically rings the last round with his bicycle bell.
From here on it gets harder and harder. With each step the consideration swings whether one should not take the speed out a little bit, that I cannot allow myself however. I’m already only running at a good 6:10 min/km. Just when it’s slightly uphill I lack the strength to keep a reasonable pace, but it doesn’t matter now. Again and again my companions play the iconic Rocky soundtrack “Eye of the Tiger” to keep me moving. You have to bite your teeth to stay under the limit of four hours.
Then, at some point, it’s finally done. I run a few more meters to prevent GPS errors before enjoying the feeling of having made it.
With a few days to go, I’d like to give a little summary of my marathon experience. Last weekend’s marathon was definitely one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. The last hour in particular was a pure battle with myself and the exhaustion in my legs. Despite a short training period of eight weeks, I was definitely relatively well prepared. Especially the many endurance kilometres I have done on the bike this year were decisive. So after a short muscular acclimatization I was able to start right away.
Basically, however, I would always recommend to organize the training for the marathon in the long term. Just a few more very long runs of 25-30 kilometers would have been helpful for sure. 3-4 months for athletes from other disciplines and at least 6 months for newcomers are appropriate. This way you can react correctly to weaknesses and causes of pain and avoid injuries.