Stepping up to a Marathon

ASK THE ELITE Sinead Diver competes in the 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m and half-marathon distances. She is the 2012 Australian Half Marathon Champion and 2012 Victorian 10,000m Champion. Sinead gave birth to her second child in September. 


THIS MONTH Sinead shares her reasons for “stepping up to a marathon” distance.

Choosing the marathon Stepping up to the marathon has been something that has been slowly brewing in the back of my mind for the past couple of years. I’ve competed in various distances from 1500m to half marathons and without hesitation I can say that the longer the race, the more I enjoy it and the better I go. Obviously there comes a point where this will no longer be the case but I’m hopeful that it will translate to the marathon.

Fears/apprehensions upon approaching the event The marathon is an extraordinary undertaking that requires dedication, commitment and lots of self-discipline and sacrifice. Even if you manage to meet the training demands there are no guarantees on race day. Given the distance and the length of time you are racing there are lots of opportunities for things to go wrong. This is my first attempt at racing the distance so naturally I have quite a few apprehensions floating around my head. What if I’m sick on race day? What if I get injured? What if I haven’t trained enough? What if I hit the proverbial wall? What if I’ve gotten my pace strategy wrong and fall to pieces half way through? What if the weather is really bad and I don’t meet my goal time? What if I haven’t prepared myself enough mentally? What if my finish time aspirations are too ambitious? What if I don’t finish? Luckily, a lot of these fears can be addressed by following a good training & nutrition plan. The remainder are external circumstances that are out of my control so there’s no point worrying about them. Ultimately, it’s important to keep things in perspective. If things go wrong, I will be completely devastated…but just for a little while, it is just one race after all and there will be many more after this.

Running new distances in training i.e. 30km+, 35km+ I’m really enjoying the training. I love to run for long distances at a comfortable pace so the increased mileage is something I’m embracing. Initially I may have underestimated the impact of the slow long run. Because the run itself feels so comfortable I didn’t realise how much of an impact it can have if you don’t fuel properly post-run. I fell into this trap once but have since made sure to be more vigilant about it.

Juggling the increased load with family, work etc I’ve found this to be one of the more challenging aspects of marathon training. Finding the time to fit in the extra mileage requires lots of planning, organisation and support from family & friends. It was tough initially but my husband and I now share an online calendar to map out family & work commitments and then we work training times around that. The beauty of running is that you can do it anytime and anywhere. It’s one of the reasons I love it so much.


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