The March to Becoming a Marathoner

March is a big month in the training journey towards the 2015 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. The Sunday runs get really serious pretty quickly now, hill training starts, and by the end of the month you’ll run 29km on a single day.

If you’ve been putting in the training, then this will be the month that you start feeling like this whole marathon thing might just be possible. The Sunday runs (ranging from 19km all the way up to 29km on the Running Room marathon training program) will both excite and maybe terrify you.

For first-time marathoners, the last Sunday of March likely features the longest training run you’ve ever run by a long shot. If you’ve trained for and run a 30km race before, it’ll be a familiar few weeks of challenging Sunday runs that remind you why you do this.

Pro tips for getting through March

Probably the worst part of marathon training. But also an important part.

Probably the worst part of marathon training. But also an important part.

I figured some advice would be welcome for those taking on the marathon for the first time. My pro-tips as a seven time marathoner on how to approach March:

  • Slow down on Sunday: these are long training runs and there are no medals for racing them. Take it easy, run them at the conversation pace and enjoy. That includes Around the Bay 30km if you’ve incorporated that race into your training. Take it easy, and remember the real goal is the marathon in May.
  • Figure out your nutrition and routines: these fairly long runs are a chance to experiment with carb-loading, breakfast choices and also with what gels or drinks do and don’t work for you. Better to get a good idea now so you’ll have things figured out for the super long runs in April, and for race day too.
  • Don’t skip the hills: repeats aren’t fun to do, but if you skip out on the Wednesday hill repeats, you won’t build the leg strength and cardio that you’ll need on race day. Who knows? Maybe you’ll actually enjoy the challenge.
  • Get any pains checked out: make friends with a physio if you are feeling any pain or dealing with an injury. Long runs put more stress on your legs and body so if you are already dealing with an injury, all this running in March isn’t going to magically make it better. Go get it checked out now.
  • Stay positive and don’t get discouraged: you’re pushing your body and mind this first time up the training ladder to 29km. It’s supposed to be hard and you will likely be asking yourself how you could possibly go another 13km at the end of your first 29km run. Trust me. By the end of April, you’ll know you can do it.

Just keep on running

The single best thing you can do in March is the same thing you’ll do on race day in May and the same thing you’ve been doing since January: Just keep on running. Look at the training schedule each week, and each day and run it. When you are tired and you don’t want to run, go for a run. When you are 25km into your first ever 29km run and your legs feel dead, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and finish it off.

These 31 days of March are such a great part of the marathon training journey. You’re going to learn a lot about yourself this month both as a runner and as a person. Enjoy!

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