Things I learned training for my first marathon – by Marieta Stevens

I am not an avid runner, I am slow but when my husband entered his first marathon I decided it will be a great opportunity for us to spend lots of quality time together and I wasn’t wrong.  If I totally bombed out on my marathon the time spent training with the man I love was worth it. That being said there is a lot of lessons I learned along the way.

  • Your perception of distance change.

When I started out 8Km was a long run, you would prepare for it like it will take you hours to finish.  Now, 8Km is the short weekday run.  Long runs are now anything above 18Km and a 5Km is something you use to warm up with. The other day hubby and I were discussing a run and we said it was JUST 18Km since when did 18Km become a Just?

  • You are always hungry “rungry”

I mean the kind of hungry where your pets start to walking wide circles around you; and where you find yourself wondering if coffee beans are actually edible.

  • You will learn new things about your body

Ouch, your knee is sore, turns out you are swinging your arm wrong whilst running, and then you rewrite the age old song. “Your head bones connected to you toe bone’.  Seriously everything is connected.

  • You can push yourself so much more than you thought possible.

When I started out I told my husband the furthest I can see myself running was 5Km, it is really funny taking in consideration our very first race was a 12Km.  Every time I conquer a new distance I am truly amazed at what my body is capable off.  I had plenty of runs when I would think to myself I cannot do another step if my life depended on it, yet somehow I manage to push through to the end.

  • Pain is much more manageable

The same blister that would have prevented me from running, in the beginning, is now just a nuisance, you will learn which pains you can ignore and which pains you should listen to.  Sharp stabbing or slicing pains is a no, no.  Dull, throbbing pains is ok as long as it doesn’t last for more than three days.

  • You’ll torture yourself so that you can torture yourself some more

Those modern age self-torture device called the foam roller is your worst enemy and your best friend.  When your muscles are really stiff and sore you will get on one of those and make all kind of primal noises while rolling out those muscles, but you do it so that you can run tomorrow.

  • A training plan is a must

If it wasn’t for a training plan that gave me the amount of Km’s I have to run every day I would have over trained in the beginning and stop training in the middle and try to catch up in the end.  The training plan we followed made me feel for weeks that I was balancing on the knives edge between training enough and overdoing it, a good training plan is essential.

  • Anti-chafing cream is your friend

As the distances picked up you learn a lot of new things about how your body responds to this constant movement, my short shorts didn’t work, and some of your bras will hate you.  If in doubt add some chafing cream or plasters, those seem to work better in most places.

  • Sleep

A five letter word that is one of the most important words during your training, it will also be much easier to fall asleep and take catnaps.  If your friends say let’s go out partying you will save lots of money because you’ll rather just catch some shut eye.

  • You’ll have great runs and you’ll have horrible runs

One day you will have a 20Km that just flies by and you will feel like you can do another one since your legs are still fresh and your body craves more and the next week you will have to push yourself to finish an easy 5Km and it will be mind over matter where your legs feel like two tree stumps and you have to literally remind it with every step what it is supposed to be doing.  This is normal, don’t give up on these runs, they are there to help you in your last few Km’s of your marathon.

  • You will feel like quitting a lot!

I have felt like this at least once a week since I started my training, thinking that if I quit now I don’t have to even continue with the training or I won’t embarrass myself by not finishing and then I think to myself follow your training plan…..  These guys have helped loads of other people to finish a marathon successfully… Just suck it up buttercup and show the world what you are made off…  I am terrified of my marathon that is only two weeks away but I know I have put in the work and if all else failed I am just a stubborn as a honey badger and hopefully that will take me over the finish line.

  • You will become faster without trying

Usually, when I do a run now I somehow PB on different distances without trying, I am just running a comfortable pace.  I did my fastest half while doing a 30Km race which I at that stage thought was kicking my butt.

  • You can run on Very tired legs

Those same legs that can’t walk in a straight line can still run 30Km, you just have to really want it.  On one of my long runs I was telling myself left foot, right foot; but somehow it just wasn’t working later I figured out that  I was swopping my feet around.

  • The first 2-3Km on any run is always the worst.

It doesn’t matter if it is a training run or a race the thirst couple of kilometers is the hardest, this is usually when my brain goes,”your not going to make it, in any case, give up now while you still close to the start”.  Your legs will feel heavy, your calves hurt but once you get over the magical 3Km everything starts to flow.

  • Those toe nails you love so much may not stick around for the actual marathon

I thought that I would hang on to those suckers but ever since John Korasie my big toe nail does not need nail polish to shine and with only two weeks to go to my marathon, the verdict is not in yet.

  • You will become a wimp a couple of weeks before your marathon

Oh, let’s go hiking, it’s a little technical and your answer will be “nope can’t do it I might get hurt.” Or let’s run the Satori Camel run and after some advice from the club members decided it might be best to skip it only two weeks before the great M.





  • Moira oliver Posted 7th September 2017 7:43 AM

    Good luck for the marathon Marieta. YOu are going to nail it. As for those toe nails – pop into your nearest beauty parlour and ask them to stick on an acrylic nail or two and you will be good to go (as someone who battles with toe nails falling off)
    I will be cheering on the side at Cape Town and will look out for you.

    • Fish Hoek AC Posted 8th September 2017 7:32 AM

      Thanks Moira

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