Running your first marathon

I've been inspired to run my first marathon this October. One of the reasons was because three of the girls in Ancoats run club recently ran the Manchester Marathon and watching them train and supporting them at the event was so exciting.

My other personal reason to take up the enormous challenge is because to achieve the London Classics medal I've only got the marathon left to do. Several years ago I've completed Ride London and last September I saw 2 miles in Regents Park to do the Swim Serpentine - two down one to go. 

So when Catherine Roche, Catherine Alexander and Alex Morgan all were training every week I felt a real possibility, perhaps it was something I could do.

Supporting them  on race day was incredible and so much fun. After the event I wanted to share the story with you from Catherine Roche, featured here because from running with run club several times a week, she made it look easy. I promise......

So inspiring! Here's her story.

So Catherine, how did you start getting into running?

I’ve always done a bit of running, but very inconsistently. I’d signed up for the Manchester 10k a couple of times in the past and then started to do some running a few weeks before in preparation. I always found it difficult and never really enjoyed it, even on race day, probably due to my inconsistent training!

During lockdown I joined Ancoats Run Club, and after a few on and off starts, I got into a consistent routine with running. I made some great friends, which really helped with my motivation to get out and run!

Tell us a bit about your regular exercise and fitness plan?

I was already doing gym classes and training with a PT, mainly doing strength and conditioning, as well as running one or two 5ks a week, before I started training for the marathon. I downloaded a 12 week marathon training plan and incorporated aspects of that into my current routine - mainly the longer distance runs on a weekend, and carried on my usual training. I also started to do a bit more foam rolling and stretching, which really helped my legs when they were tired or sore.

What was the furthest distance you had done before the Manchester Marathon?

The furthest I had run before the Manchester Marathon was a Half Marathon in October 2021. Until I started training for that I hadn’t run more than 5k for a good few years!

Why did you decide to do a marathon?

I never thought that I would run a marathon! I’d been inspired by the other ARC runners who had run the October Marathon and after getting into a consistent running routine, and having run the half marathon, I thought if not now then when?!

How did you come up with the plans and routes?

I downloaded a 12 week training plan and incorporated aspects of that into my current training routine - mainly the longer distance runs on a weekend. These were always run with friends, which made them so much more enjoyable! We asked other runners from ARC who had run longer distances for route recommendations, as well as planning some of our runs around where we could stop for coffee or brunch at the end! We tried to get out of the City and ran out to Heaton Park, along the Fallowfield Loop, or to Chorlton/ Didsbury via Fletcher Moss and Chorlton Water Park - a great way to see more of the local area! We also signed up to a half marathon two months out from the marathon as preparation - we ran the Stockport Trail half which was great fun, although very wet and muddy.

What you did you do In the lead up to the big day?

In the last 10 days or so before the marathon the long runs tapered off. I had started to get a few niggles that I was worried would impact me on the day, and so I saw a physio for an assessment and had a sports massage about a week before, which really helped. The day before the marathon I made sure that I ate lots of carbs and drank lots of water. I also made sure that I had everything that I needed ready for the big day… tried and tested running clothes and trainers, race number, and lots of jelly babies!

What would recommend for others wanting to run their first marathon?

I believe that if I can run a marathon, as someone who really didn’t enjoy running, then others wanting to do a marathon as a first timer could do so! I think it’s good to understand why you want to run a marathon and to be clear on your goal, as the training is a big undertaking and it is easy to get sucked into the the hype of running a marathon and comparing yourself to other runners, or overthinking what you should and shouldn’t do. My goal was never to run the fastest (I’ll never be a fast runner!) but for the accomplishment of having run a marathon, whilst having fun with friends along the way.

How was the day overall? 

Amazing!!! I had the best day. It was really inspiring to see so many people running for so many great causes. The support was fantastic along the route, it was so motivating to see the ARC gang cheering us on, as well as friends and family. There were points at which it got tough, particularly the last 12k - at that point it hurt to walk and to run and it really was mind over matter - I couldn’t have done it without Alex by my side, she kept me going when I really wanted to stop!

What’s next for you?

I’m not sure! Keeping up a consistent running routine definitely, as it is hard to get back into it once you stop. I also love hiking so maybe trying out some trail running?!

Hope you've enjoyed reading, my training is going ok, and I will share more over the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading, keep running.



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