On 15th January 2017, I completed my first full marathon, and boy what a mix bag of emotions it was!
The full marathon, that is, a distance of 42.195 kilometers, took me 6:36 hours to complete, which is 6 minutes above the cut off time. Hence, I don’t get a rank, but I can say I finished atleast above 500 more people. This post is about my experience from the marathon and some do’s and don’ts. It is mainly for people who have already been training, considering running the 42K and are looking for information from someone who has already done it. For anyone who wishes to take up running, can hang on for sometime for my follow up posts, where I’d be giving running routines, exercise schedules and some nutrition plans. I will also be talking about a few marathons that i have run in, in and near Mumbai, to give you an idea of which ones to run, especially for first timers. A very good first experience is what inspired me to get to where I am today.
Fair disclaimer, I am not a professional coach or trainer, all that I post here is based on my running experience for the past 2 years. I have been reading a lot of articles and studies regarding the same, and can give you a certainty that I won’t be leading you on the wrong path. I also take professional coaching from one of the best runners in the country as far as long distance running is concerned, so you can say I learn from one of the best.
So this marathon for me was quite educative. I have run a lot of Half Marathons before this, and that experience helps to a certain extent but this is a different ballgame altogether. My initial aim was to finish it within 5:30 , but given the circumstances, i am happy i was able to finish it none the less. My initial plan was divided into 4 phases.
Phase 1 – The first 10 kms – 75 minutes.
Phase 2 – 10 To 21 kms – Around 2:20 to 2:35 hours.
Phase 3 – 21 To 32 kms – Within 4 hours.
Phase 4 – 32kms To 42.195 kms – Whatever time it takes.
Let me start by saying this, it is not so difficult if you have been training well, maintaining a good diet and have a strong mind. Your body will support you to the finish line, But it is the mind that will drive you home. Also a good rhythm during the 1st and 2nd phase will make all the difference.
One of the biggest mistakes I made was I did not follow my own plan. I did not push myself, but I ran at my average Half Marathon pace of about 9.5kms/hour. This did not affect my run so much, but it did leave me exhausted and gasping for air after the first 15kms. This is not a problem during half marathons cause you have only a few more kilometers to go, but for the full marathon, you are still 27kms away from the finish line.
I did not get accustomed to the extra humid climate on that day in the first phase of my run, and that to an extent affected me in the later part of the race. For the full marathon, all these small things can make a big difference. Another important aspect is hydration. Since the weather is cooler and one is not sweating too much, one ignores drinking water until he is thirsty. This will lead to dehydration during the later parts of the race, cause by the time you realize you’re thirsty, your body has used up/lost a lot of water via sweating or to cool yourself from within.
It is also important to eat something during the marathon, as you’d be on your feet for more than 5 hours. Most marathoners carry chocolates or dates in their pockets, and consume bananas or oranges with salt during the run.
My run was mostly foiled due to an injury. I covered the first 30kms within 4 hours, slower than I anticipated but still at a comfortable pace. I had a severe pain in the cuboid bone, that is the bone to the outer side of the sole of your feet. This is when your mental determination counts the most. When your body gives up, and you want to quit, is when the small voice inside your mind will start to take over and not let you quit. It is only to keep my head high and to not hurt my pride, and thanks to my determined mind that I was able to complete the race.
And the goal becomes clearer and gets nearer with each counting step and before you realize, you are jogging/running the last kilometer.
I hope this is post is helpful, and i shall be writing shortly for people who have just started or want to take up running.
You can always reach out to me, if there is something you need help with, or some topic you wish for me to cover, till then , enjoy and stay healthy!
Until next time,