With just 10 weeks to go before race day, training plans and choosing the right footwear are vital to getting over the line on race day, writes Robert McNamara
Welcome to the first of my weekly marathon blogs in the run-up to the Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon on June 1.
I hope you're getting the miles in and staying injury free as the reality sets in that you really are going to be running a marathon.
I'll be sharing my experiences of training for the big day with you over the next 10 weeks as I aim to finish my fifth Cork marathon and 12th 26.2 mile race in total.
I'm still new to running, having only taken it up in 2010 - and I'm always learning.
As I document my journey, I hope to learn from you too and you can interact with the blog, share your knowledge and send your training photos to @irishexaminer using the hashtag #IECCM.
So, get involved and feel part of the journey toward the June bank holiday race.
— Irish Examiner Business (@ExaminerBiz) February 26, 2015
There are scores of great races in Ireland. However, there's a real sense of occasion when it comes to the Cork City Marathon.
When you turn onto Patrick's Bridge with just a few hundred metres to go and your body is telling you there is nothing left in the tank, I guarantee you'll speed up a little as the crowd sweep you along and you muster that last injection of adrenaline.
You'll feel like an absolute superstar as you head towards the finish line with thousands of people clapping you and shouting encouragement.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I blubbed like a baby when I finished my first marathon in Cork in 2011.
My body was broken and the emotion got to me.
I was soon brought back to my normal senses, though, when I was handed my medal - and a banana!
I'll never forget that moment.
It doesn't matter if you're running the relay, the half-marathon or the full; you're still lapping the person sitting at home on the couch and therein lay the motivation.
You're the exception, so allow yourself to feel exceptional. Get that medal around your neck and celebrate.
TRAINING PLANS Whether it's your first or the just the latest medal to be added to your vast collection, the way you train will determine how well you do on the day so it's important to train as well as you possibly can - whatever time goals you've set or race distance you're attempting.
Before you set out on training (or even if you have started already) the first thing you need to do is get a quick check-up from your GP to get the all clear.
Once that's out of the way the Cork City Marathon website has a range of training plans which are great to use as a schematic to lay out what you need to do.
The most important thing to remember, though, is that training plans are general and everybody is different.
Life will inevitably get in the way and you won't be able to follow them to the letter.
For example, last Monday I started the week off with a 15-mile run and was feeling fantastic after it.
I woke up on Tuesday with no stiffness and rested, but on Wednesday I had to travel to Limerick overnight and was feeling a little ill, so I missed a day.
Thursday and Friday were really busy for me and I could only get out for about 30 minutes – meaning I was a long way short of the mileage I had intended for the week.
This will happen and it's important to not beat yourself up about it or try to catch up and risk injury.
Doing the small stuff matters, so if your day is packed and you only have a half hour to run, then that's OK.
It's better than doing nothing and getting miles in those legs is important.
So, don't feel like it's pointless if it's short – it all adds up.
It's only when this is happening regularly that you may need to adjust your goals.
With a busy lifestyle, it's important to run as best you can, when you can.
Using the training plan as a guide will help you, but adapting it to your schedule will ensure you get the best results.
FOOTWEARChoosing your trainers for the day can be a daunting experience. There are so many brands and styles around that knowing what to buy can be difficult.
It's important that you wear them in before the race, so now is the time to be looking.
In order to navigate the sea of information out there it's best to talk to the experts and go to a sports store that offer gait analysis to determine your pronation and ensure you get the right balance of support, stability and cushion.
There are loads of specialist running stores that offer this service and it's usually free.
The size you wear can also have a bearing on your running.
I started off with an Asics pair for my first few races that I really loved.
Once that pair had done their time I went in search of the same style. Unfortunately they were no longer on the market, but I managed to source a pair that was a half-size bigger.
They were at a reduced price and I thought the slight change in size wouldn't make a difference, so I went for the bargain.
How wrong I was!
My feet were moving around more than they should have been in the shoes and I was quite uncomfortable as a result. My times dipped slightly and I vowed never to make the same mistake again.
Choose wisely and you'll be thankful on race day!
GET INVOLVEDFollow and interact with @whatrodidnext on Twitter. Tweet your training pics to @IrishExaminer using the hashtag #IECCM
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