Life after marathon

I’m still walking (hobbling) around in a happy bubble of amazingness. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully shattered and my legs didn’t feel anywhere near normal until Wednesday. And I will stop going on about the marathon I promise but I wanted to do a little ‘wrap up’ post.IMG_6338

I am fully aware that my marathon experience (especially my first ever marathon) was quite rare in that nothing seemed to go wrong – especially considering my training (or lack thereof). It was like a dream. Of course it was tough. Mentally more than physically I’d say. The sheer effort of keeping focused and not allowing myself to acknowledge the aches, the tiredness, and the overwhelming temptation to stop. I remember looking at my watch and thinking “oh my God, I’ve been running for three hours!” But at the same time, it was such a buzz.

The only thing I think I’d have done differently would have been to not have had three gels.

High5 gelMaybe it was the temperature being so warm, but they really messed with my tummy. I know this is completely my own fault having not tested out using more than one gel in a long run before and it was a risk. Thankfully I just felt a bit sick and that was all.

Next time I think I’ll use one gel (probably between 8-10 miles) and then either have nothing or have some small easy-to-eat sweets, like jelly babies or even sugar cubes. After listening to the very insightful interview on Marathon Talk with Barry Murray (a sports-focused nationalist who is against the whole carb-loading premise) I wonder if I actually needed the gels. I do all my morning runs and long runs with no nutritional help or breakfast and have no ill effects. It’s something for me to consider in the future I think.

On another note, as good as running a race in a whole different country was there were some draw backs to it too. You have a whole different routine in a hotel room in terms of getting ready, ‘toilet time’, breakfast, getting to the race…it’s very surreal.


And post-race both Ben and me would have loved to have just been at home with our creature comforts and ‘normal’ food. But the experience of running such an iconic race was pretty amazing regardless.


I’m also somewhat jealous of the Brighton and Manchester marathon race reports with just how much support there was from the crowds. Paris was a bit lack lustre. They did cheer, but it seemed selectively so. And don’t get me started on people randomly walking out into the course to cross the road!!

OK, enough moaning. It makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy it. The truth of the matter is that I can’t smiling. It was brilliant. Epic. Amazing. Life changing. I’ve fallen in love with running again and so much harder.

So what’s next? Well, some easy weeks worth of running for definite! No care for pace, time, mileage. Just easy running and long walks. I have a few local races in the pipeline: a marathon relay where I’ll be doing a 7.8 mile leg, a few 10ks and Endure 24 in June as part of a team with my running friends (24 hours of running 5 mile laps).

And then at the end of September the Berlin marathon. I’m hoping to have a very sensible lead up, having had a good summer of base building and increasing my speed (finger’s crossed). Then head down and focused training. Nothing crazy but a sensible training plan I can actually follow this time. I have my fingers so tightly crossed that I won’t get injured again any time soon. I will continue with my strength training twice a week to work on this.

My aim for Berlin? No idea yet. But all I do know is that I want to enjoy it as much as I did Paris. If that means a similar finishing time, then that’s fine by me! I don’t want to experience 3-4 hours of hellish running.

I can quite confidently say that I am much more a fan of the longer distances than shorter. Half marathons and marathons is where I’m firmly at right now.

What are your future races?

Did you run a marathon recently? What did you learn?

What’s important to you in an event – scenery? Support? Aid stations?

16 Replies to “Life after marathon”

  1. Glad to hear you are still enjoying the post race high 🙂
    And glad that you are loving running long at the moment! Berlin is on my list of races I would love to do, so I shall be looking forward to seeing how you enjoy that one especially.
    I think that scenery would be top of my list, but also timing, as ideally I would not want to be at work the next day, so I need a marathon in the school holidays ideally. Crowd support does not bother me as I get more nervous when races are busy, I prefer the quieter ones as otherwise I get all the adrenaline surges that I can’t control.
    When I did my marathon I learnt that I need to run faster! I was just out there for so long that I decided I needed to speed up over half marathons before attempting another one- I am close to my target time so at the moment just focusing on bringing my time down.
    I like half marathons the most, except when I am running them, and then I think I prefer 10 miles! 😉
    I did have a race signing “binge” the other day so now have a 10K and half booked, and a few more pencilled in when I decide- I love having races to look forward to.

    1. Yeah it must be really tricky because you can’t just take off any day you want really :-S Brighton is supposed to be very good (same day as Paris) – it’s my back up if we don’t get into London.
      I really hate 10 miles. I just haven’t had a good one yet. I struggle to pace them, going out way to fast…well I’ll have another go at the Great South this year to try and work it out!

  2. Sounds like you have a good plan for the future 🙂 I don’t think gels etc. are essential by any means, as long as you can keep something reasonably substantial down before the race. I had tummy troubles before Manchester and literally ate nothing at all the day of the race – I really, really needed something by mile 7 even though I do some morning runs without eating. I think you can build up your tolerance for that kind of thing – I got myself to the stage in 2010 whereby I could crank out a 22 mile long run on no food or water – but it’s not necessarily always ideal. Running on empty is fine for a training run, but at race pace effort for 26.2 miles? I’m not so sure.

    I think a good race has elements of all of the facets you mentioned – it’s really the balance of everything that makes a race a positive experience. A medal at the end never hurts though 😉


    1. I’m definitely going to ‘play around’ with nutrition before my next marathon. I do think I need at least one gel but I’m not sure three was a good idea for me. Maybe need something smaller and more enjoyable like Jelly Babies or even jam. Just to make it less chemically.

    1. They say you can get post-marathon blues because suddenly you’re not training for anything. But for me now it’s all about focused training to improve speed and work on those shorter distances so then for my next marathon I can do it fast. That’s the blue sky thinking at the moment!

  3. I am in two minds about gels. I cannot cope with the gloopy ones, but do get on with the Maxifuel gels as they are almost a liquid consistency. I only plan on taking one at London though, and then surviving on Jelly Babies, as I much prefer these. I listened to that interview the other day as well and it was something I’ve been thinking about since.
    Such a shame that there wasn’t very much crowd support at Paris. I would have thought there would be loads!
    And yay for already booking in your next marathon! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed it. Looks like you are going to see the world the runner’s way!

    1. Yeah the gels I took were very much the consistency of thing yogurt, but it was just so chemically tasting and horrible warm. I’ll have a play around I think before my next marathon.
      That’s the dream plan – run and see the world!

  4. I’m doing Milton Keynes marathon in 3 weeks, then we own the night 10k in May, london 2 brighton 56k at end of May, and of course Berlin marathon later in the year, which I am so bloody excited about! I’m hoping to have a really good training period for that and my goal is to set off much slower for the first half! I think you have to go with what works for you nutrition wise. I am going to work on trying to get my body to be more fat adapted rather than relying on sugar all the time, definitely something I need to work on.

    1. Gosh you are on fire with your races! Looking forward to hearing about them on your blog.
      Yep I’m with on the ‘fat adapted’ thing. That’s what I want to become. I hated taking the gels.

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