Running a marathon for the first time turned out to be  a great experience! So after starting running on 31st December 2016 and completing many half marathons I decided to enter the Rememberance Day marathon.

To say I under-prepared is an understatment. By the time race day arrived, I had still only completed a run of 13 miles. Foolish? Maybe a little, but I was lucky to have a running husband with nearly 200 marathons behind him to guide me on my journey.

So what tips have I gleaned from my first marathon?

Start off slow, dont go rushing off like a bat our of hell. You need to conserve energy and try and maintain a steady pace. By the end, and looking back at my stats, we actually kept a pretty consistent pace for the entire run.

Drink, drink, drink! Even though you may not feel thirsty, taking on fluids is vital for your long journey ahead. Regular and small amounts, dont wait until you feel thirsty.

Chocolate raisins, jelly babies or anything with high sugar content to give you that extra energy. No, don’t scoff the entire packet just because you are hungry, but take a little bit when you feel like maybe a burst of energy is needed. It’s not an excuse to down an entire bag of Haribo in one go!

Enjoy the day and find a run where other runners support you. These friendly, small events, like ours too, are great for creating a family feel.  Everyone welcomes you and gives you encouragement as you either speed by or look like you are about to die. If you prefer the huge crowds, then take in a big event where the crowd support will help carry you through.

Of course it will be painful and you may be a little stiff for a while after. I bounced back amazingly well considering the lack long runs prior, and even managed a 5k with my running buddy two days later.

The main thing is the sense of achivement at the end and being able to look back at what a phenomenal feat you have achieved. I can hand on heart say I “ran” all the way (some may argue I was very slow jogging) but I can hold my head up high and fianlly call myself a marathon runner.

Anyone can run no matter what you age, size, background or ability. In fact, you dont really need any ability, just determination and a good mental outlook on running. Certainly half or any race is mental. As another runner pointed out, a marathon is just a very, very long walk!