A young female runner tearing finishing tape. There’s literally no better feeling than crossing that finish line, but there’s a lot of hard work beforehand [Getty]

Running a marathon was never going to be easy, but many people underestimate quite how gruelling the months of training in the run-up to the big day can be, both mentally and physically. 

In fact, there’s so many things that people don’t think about until they start their training plans, and it’s a huge lifestyle change for many. 

Here’s everything you discover while taking part in your first – and hopefully not the last – running challenge… 

1. First things first – footwear 

It's vital to get a pair of trainers that suit your running style before training for a half marathonIt’s vital to get a pair of trainers that suit your running style before training for a marathon [Getty]

You will need to treat your feet kindly if you want them to be in tip top shape on the big day. 

Nick Anderson, founder of Running With Us and head running coach at Cancer Research UK, advises: “Invest in a proper pair of running trainers from the word go to prevent injury and make the running more comfortable.

And that doesn’t mean going for the most fancy brand. Nick adds: “Go to a proper running store, explain you are new to running ask for a ‘gait analysis’ so that the trainers are properly chosen and fitted to your foot and running style. Good running shops are there to help and make sure you speak to an experienced member of staff.”

Alex Ross, Podiatrist at Pure Sports Medicine, adds: “Try not to make large changes in footwear styles; if you’ve found a shoe that works with your running technique and load stick with it. Conversely if you’re currently managing an injury or having troubles the ‘right’ trainer should help ease symptoms.”

2. Music is your companion 

Music will spur you on when running long distances  [Getty]

You will run long, and often, alone.

Three hours running on a Saturday while everyone is at the pub or out for a nice lunch will be boring, and draining – you’ll want to stop, your brain will be telling you to just give up, which is why you need an amazing playlist or podcast. 

This means also thinking about your headphones. 

For fuss-free running try Sol Republic Relays Sport Wireless in-ear headphones.

SOL Republic have a range of wireless earphones perfect for runningSOL Republic have a range of wireless earphones perfect for running [Sol Republic]

They fit snugly and are suitable for all ear sizes to avoid ay discomfort and being wireless means you can move freely without getting caught up in the wires.

3. Small things REALLY matter 

When you think about your running kit, certain things are obvious.

However, the smaller elements are often forgotten. For example, your underwear and socks matter and don’t underestimate how much of a difference it makes to buy the right type. 

Choosing the right underwear for running is important Choosing the right underwear for running is important [Runderwear]

For chafe-free running try Runderwear.

Their range of crop tops, briefs and socks are designed with comfort in mind and trust us, anything you can do to make your life easier, and more comfortable, while training – do it.

Also, try a few mobile phone armbands if you can, to see which one is most comfortable for you. 

4. Diet is so important 

Carbohydrates are important in a marathon diet Carbohydrates are important in a marathon diet [Getty]

You don’t even realise it, but the amount of calories you’ll burn while running those long runs is insane, which is why your diet is so important. 

Sharmain Davis, Nutritionist at Pure Sports Medicine, says: “Carbohydrates are your body’s main and preferred source of fuel especially during endurance exercise such as running. Carbohydrate food sources such as; bread, potato, pasta and rice are digested and stored in your muscle and liver as glycogen, ready to use as energy, as and when we need it.

“The problem is however, that we can only store approximately 2000 kilocalories from carbohydrate.  Which sounds like a lot, but if you imagine a marathon requires on average 2500 calories to complete, the reality is it isn’t and you may ‘hit the wall’ sooner than you think.

“Consuming carbs before and after training allows you to fuel that training session, it allows your gut to practice using carbs efficiently during exercise as well as supporting your immune system.”

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