Last Sunday me and a few thousand others ran a hot and hard Sydney Marathon. What did we learn? A few lessons we should already have known…but at least we had fun!
1. Listen to Marathon World Champions when they give you advice
When Aussie marathon legend Rob de Castella got on the mic just before the marathon started and advised everyone to take into account the hot conditions and run the first half of the race 5 or 10 mins slower than planned, we should of course have listened. So did we? Nah, we’re much too stupid for that and we paid the price!
2. Blazing sunshine is a marathon runner’s worst enemy
Ok, hills, mud and injuries are no fun, but the raking heat poses a danger like no other. Even if you’re well prepared and properly hydrated, the second half of a high temperature marathon will test even the best (so it gave the likes of me a proper whipping .
Around 20 miles/26 Kms I started to get the dizzies, and at that point, in that sun, for me there was only thing to do: slow down. Pushing through the pain in your legs is one thing, trying to run your way out of an over heating body and brain is impossible, and from what I’ve seen results in a very close encounter with the tarmac. I unfortunately bore witness to several people collapsing or stopping to puke over the last third as a direct result of the searing Sydney sun.
3. Old trainers can stand up to 26 miles running impact, but blisters are another story
In training for the race I’ve been experimenting with trainers – switching to a more minimal ideal by ditching my Brooks running shoes and using some old tennis shoes instead. Mad as they may sound, I wanted to see if this could help with an Achilles injury I had and it did – and I didn’t suffer from any impact or body mechanics issues you might expect from running in non running shoes. For more info on minimal and barefoot running, check out the excellent runblogger.com.
But race day did see me get some strange looks in the starting pen – check out the picture of the trainers and you can probably see why!
Plus blisters did prove to be a BIG problem, the blood blister on my big toe was as big as a Gorilla’s nuts!
So now the trainer experiment has been concluded and lessons learnt, I’ll stick to the minimal, but get some new, running orientated trainers in the minimal style.
In case you’re wondering I ran it in 3hr 30, quite fast on the way out, way slower on the way back! 10k splits are here
Training wise, I was Edge Running