By Andy Teale

Week 3- How I’m Preparing to Run a Marathon…in Uganda!

The big question: how do you prepare for the marathon in Uganda when you’re not in Uganda yet?

This is a question I didn’t take too much notice of during the opening few weeks of my training. Back in February and up until now, the focus has solely been on making sure I can run a 26 miles course. That was the first objective of my training; the first step.

Picture 1- Week 7 Training

Of course I’m not there yet and still have a way to go. But as I’m now running 4-5 times a week, getting the occasional PB and steadily working on the longer distances, I feel it’s time to turn my attention to preparing my body to run in Uganda specifically.

Luckily starting this phase of my training as come at the perfect time. Details of the course have just been released (www.strava.com/routes/2045931) and there’s also a really helpful training blog available from Paul who’s been lucky enough to spend some time out in Uganda. (ugandamarathon.com/diary-of-a-ugm-runner-in-training-week-5/)

From what I understand, there’s going to be a lot to content with: hills, heat, and humidity. If that wasn’t enough, there are the uneven dirt paths, unsteady terrain and altitude to test the lungs too.

As you know, I’m not the most experienced runner, but below is my shot at trying to make sure I’m ready to run a marathon on a another continent!

Hills, Hills, Hills

Thursday saw me take on my first session of hill training in preparation for the marathon. It was only a modest 5K, but I targeted some of the steepest hills my hometown has to offer.

Picture 2 Hills

Some of the hills I tackled in training this week

It was certainly tough on the legs. It almost upsetting how much those ascending hills slow you down, but I’m hoping 1 or 2 hills sessions a week will help in the long run. I neglected hill training for my first marathon last year and it was almost my undoing… I don’t want to make that mistake again!

Layers, Layers, Layers

Photo 3 - Layers

Over the last few weeks I’ve started wearing more layers for my training runs. I’ve actually been wearing tracksuit bottoms since I started training in February anyway. However I’ve started wearing a jumper or even this body warmer on some of my runs, so I get used to running in the heat.

These extra layers certainly did make it harder to start with, and were probably the reason I failed to finish a couple of my early runs, but I’m starting to notice the layers less and I’m certainly becoming more used to running when I’m hot. As you can imagine it’s a sweaty affair, but hopefully it’s slowly conditioning me to be able to run in the heat.

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

Since I’ve signed up for the Uganda marathon, I’ve been trying to get in a good routine of drinking plenty of water, especially on training day and those day’s where I’m planning to wear extra layers. To be honest I’ve always felt a lot better on the days where I’m running where I’ve had plenty of H2O in the day!

Also before I fly out, I’ve never used one before, but I’ll be investing in hydration pack and rehydration tablets, in the hope they’ll help on race day.

Offroad, Offroad, Offroad!

During my longer runs, I’m trying to do at least a portion of it off road. Hopefully this will help strengthen my ankles and prepare me for those uneven surfaces and unsteady terrain Uganda has to offer.

By May I also plan to be the proud owner of trail shoes too, to further tip the odds in my favour.

Miles, Miles, Miles

And finally… altitude.

This is a real tough one.

Unfortunately as we’re at sea level here in the UK, I haven’t been able to come up with much of a solution for this one. So I’m going to bet that cranking up the mileage as much as possible and getting as fit as possible over the next month will go some way to help my body cope with the conditions. As I said in my first blog- it’s all about the ‘miles, miles, miles’.

So that’s it. That’s how I’m preparing to run a marathon…..in Uganda! Fingers crossed some of these strategies will come good on race day, and maybe even help you in your training currently. Hopefully I haven’t come across as too crazy either, just determined! 🙂

Next Week’s Training

I’m certainly feeling a bit of an adrenaline rush with April arriving and now being able to say, ‘I’m running in Uganda next month!’ There’s a bit fear too though, especially as this week’s training stuttered slightly. The week before I felt unstoppable as I reached the 20K mark and obtained a new 10K PB, but this week I failed to make the mark when I set out to run a half marathon, and every run has felt like a challenge.

However I’m determined to bounce back this week with two 10Ks, a day of running twice and taking another shot at the half marathon. 

Week 8 Timetable

My training plan for next week

The plan is to go big over the next few weeks, and make these the weeks that really count (especially with tapering in mind in May). It’s all about the miles, miles, miles and keeping that momentum going now! Hopefully if I put the effort in now, and will really help in six weeks time.

Until next time, good luck with your training and whichever event you’re preparing for…

Keep running. Keep going, Keep training! 🙂

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