Marathon Running Mistakes & Advice by Alix Coe
Up until last year running a marathon isn’t ever something I had a huge interest in. I always thought it looked painful and exhausting, and actually just a bit dangerous.
After gently getting into running a couple of years ago — something that I feel has done good things for my physical and mental health — I started to think that a long-distance run is something I might be able to accomplish, and even possibly enjoy.
Having just about survived my first half marathon in 2019, I went ahead and signed up for the 2020 Brighton Marathon. Thankfully my friend and seasoned runner Jason Walker has also signed up and agreed to run by my side as Team Allsorts.
Fundraising For Allsorts
Allsorts Youth Project is our charity of choice to fundraise for, and they’ve been such a great source of encouragement for our training.
For those of you who don’t know, Allsorts support & connect young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. They work with both young people themselves and their parents or carers.
Knowing that Jason will be running alongside me for my first marathon is a huge source of comfort. I know that he’ll set a sensible pace and keep me motivated. He’s also full of advice and knowledge on all things running, and forever happy to share what he knows.
Jason and I live nearly two hours away from each other, so our joint training sessions haven’t been that frequent so far. We have tried to push ahead and train separately, however, there have been a few struggles along the way…
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made with my training so far is to keep telling myself that the actual marathon is ages away. Signing up to the event nearly a year in advance has meant that it always seems like a very distant thing. For me, this makes it easier to justify not getting out of bed in the morning to run in the rain.
Underestimating just how long a marathon is has also been something I’ve found pretty easy to do. Smashing out a 5k before work always feels great — and is definitely a step in the right direction for training — but the actual race is running a 5k more than eight times back to back, and that’s been easy to overlook.
Another huge hurdle in my training was that I knew (or at least was very hopeful) that I’d be having surgery in the months leading up to the race. As 2019 crept on, it seemed more likely that the surgery could happen right before the marathon, and that I wouldn’t recover in time to participate.
The idea that I might have to defer my entry — and therefore have another year to train — meant I increasingly put in less effort as time went on.
This surgery actually took place mid-December, and I was then able to start running again towards the end of January. At the time of writing this, I still haven’t done more than a 16km run, and I know that I really have to get back to my training plan if I’m going to be able to complete the course in April.
Have a solid training plan - having a plan and sticking to it sounds so simple, but it’s never as easy as it seems. Knowing you need to get out and run three or four times a week is one thing, but fitting this in around your life and work and relationships can be hard to manage.
Get some running buddies - getting a group together for a weekly run on a Sunday morning is something I recently started doing (if you’re in Brighton you’re very welcome to join) and have found to be really helpful. Being accountable to other people makes it much harder to not show up for training, and I would really recommend getting at least one running buddy to have regular scheduled runs with.
Track your progress - I’ve been using an app called Strava to keep track of my running, and this has been invaluable to me as a training tool. It shows you how far you’ve run in how much time, and lets you see your route afterwards on a map. This app also keeps track of all your data and lets you know when you have broken a record or improved your time. You can also connect with other people to see what they’re up to running-wise.
Have fun - On the days that I really don’t feel like putting my trainers on, I don’t give myself a hard time for it anymore. Having some rest and not stressing myself out usually means that when the next day comes around I’m ready to go. If you’re not having a good time with your training then maybe reassess what you’re doing and why you want to do it. There’s no harm in taking a step back and setting smaller and more manageable goals for yourself.
The Brighton Marathon is taking place on the 19th of April and if you are reading this and would like to sponsor us, then you can click here to do so!
Our total fundraising amount is going to be doubled by Jason’s employer upon completion of the marathon, so every £1 you donate will be £2 by the time it reaches Allsorts!