5 steps to running your first marathon on the Gold Coast

About Brad Beer: Brad is the author of Amazon.com best-selling book You CAN Run Pain Free! A Physio’s 5 Steps to Enjoying Injury Free and Faster Running, founder of Gold Coast based physiotherapy group POGO Physio and a regular participant at the Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon.

Text Box: About Brad Beer: Brad is the author of Amazon.com best-selling book You CAN Run Pain Free! A Physio’s 5 Steps to Enjoying Injury Free and Faster Running, founder of Gold Coast based physiotherapy group POGO Physio and a regular participant at the Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon.
The world-class international marathon is famous for its flat, fast and scenic course located alongside the city’s renowned surf beaches and broadwater plus its ideal winter running conditions feature low humidity, little wind and mild temperatures.

New decade, new goals. If you’ve set your sights on going the distance at a marathon, make the Gold Coast your place to shine and let the good times roll, with these steps to get you to the start line.  

There’s a whole raft of challenges we set ourselves at this time of year but the biggest prize of all is the ultimate challenge of the marathon. Completing 42.2km in one hit will put you in the esteemed company of those few who have risen to the challenge. And if you’re looking for the perfect place to make your marathon debut, the Gold Coast is just the ticket to complete the task, and you won’t be alone, with 30% of the expected 28,000 participants set to run the distance for the first time on Sunday 5 July.

No matter your finish time, you’ll feel like a winner as you are championed into the grandstand finish chute located adjacent to the Broadwater in Southport by the cheers from thousands of enthusiastic Gold Coast locals lining the streets from Runaway Bay in the north to the southern turn in Burleigh Heads.

Plus there’s also the added option of staying a little longer and soaking up the Gold Coast’s world famous beaches and theme parks- win-win!

What you need to know

Key 1: Enter the event early

The energy of an uncommitted debut marathoner is very different to the marathoner who has paid their entry

Take a pen to paper (or finger to keyboard if you are using a digital calendar) and schedule the event in right now! But don’t just schedule it in your calendar, take the next and more significant step of officially entering the event. There is something powerful about committing to an event by paying the entry fee a significant time frame in advance and sharing this goal with your family and friends.

There is a certain magnetic energy that draws the best out of your preparation after entering a marathon. This energy helps pull you out of bed in the morning, is present in your training when you’re trying to maximise your sessions and it will work in your favour when you have the inevitable tough days when you are fatigued, sore or lacklustre.

So don’t wait, enter the event right now, and as a bonus you will enjoy the early bird entry fees!

Key 2: Get a running buddy

The accountability that comes with having a running partner will make a huge difference to the quality of your preparation

A pavement pal will immensely help keep your training on track as well as add to your enjoyment of the journey.

Having a running mate do the hard yards alongside you not only helps you physically when you are fatigued beyond measure during training sessions, but also mentally when you wake up already-tired on your long run day and the doona has never felt so good!

You’ll be glad you were wise enough to make yourself accountable to someone when you experience the rush of crossing the finish line! So drop a mate a line and make some running plans.

 Key 3: Leave yourself enough time to prepare well

The ideal time-frame to allow for your first marathon will vary depending on your history of training or competition

One of the common mistakes I see debut marathoners make in their attempt to complete their journey is not allowing enough time to train. Often, they will decide on a whim or choose to accompany a friend – yet the friend may already be a month into preparation.

The problem with too short a preparation is the resultant pressures that are produced, both mentally and physically, as you try to cram kilometres ahead of the looming event date.

I recommend no less than 20 weeks of programmed preparation to allow for a progressive build, adequate recovery, enough long runs and a smart taper before the event. This recommendation is based on the assumption that you’ve participated in fun runs of between 5km and half marathons recreationally beforehand.

Key 4: Act on your niggles early

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring what starts out to be a low-level pain or niggle

At some point during your training you might begin to experience a niggle that “just doesn’t feel right”, and you’re faced with the decision to: rest it (and the pain settles), ignore it (and an injury often develops) or seek immediate medical attention (not always required). So what are you to do if during your preparation for your first marathon you experience low level soreness?

Three guidelines that I give to runners are:

Guideline One

If the low-level pain persists for greater than 10 – 14 days and is not settling, but rather worsening, seek professional medical assistance. Start with seeing a physiotherapist who has an interest in working with runners. The physiotherapist will be able to diagnose, treat, and oversee your return to full pain free running, minimising any training down time.

Guideline Two

If the pain experienced is greater than a 3/10 pain for two consecutive runs, don’t wait to see if settles as with guideline one, see a health professional directly. Waiting to see ‘what happens’ will ultimately cost you time and possibly lost fitness through a longer than required rehabilitation program, than if you had acted immediately.

Guideline Three

Take the single leg hop test. If you cannot perform six pain free single leg hops on each leg than there is a high probability that you have the makings of a nasty and frustrating running overuse injury. If your single leg hop test results in pain, consult your running physiotherapist or other health professional in order to establish a diagnosis, prognosis, and rehabilitation plan.

Key 5: Don’t ignore rest

Rest can be taken in the form of a complete rest day or a recovery session

Sadly, the training programs of many elite and recreational runners don’t pay enough attention to rest. As a physiotherapist, a large percentage of overuse injuries I treat are due to the injured runner failing to schedule sufficient down time.

Take for example a runner experiencing Achilles tendon soreness after a hill run. Rather than rest until the soreness dissipates, the eager debut marathoner runs their next hill session too soon afterwards, with the result being that the tendon now feels even worse.

Rest can be taken in the form of a complete rest day, a rest or recovery session or even some easy weeks of a lighter training load. In order to achieve an optimum training-to-rest ratio for your preparation, I recommend engaging the services of a qualified running coach or seasoned marathon runner.

The 42nd Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon will be held on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July 2020 on the beautiful Gold Coast in Queensland. For information and to enter visit https://goldcoastmarathon.com.au

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