Loch Ness Marathon 2013



  • For those who havn't done this race before , I'd say that the hill at about 19 miles is not too bad- you can just walk up it anyway, unless you are looking for a sub-4 time. I think the thing that trashes your legs is the downhills early on- you need to train for downhill running- it is much tougher on the legs than the flat is- practice on a hill- slowup, faster down- it is well worth the effort- and remember on the day not to get too carried away at the beginning.

  • CC82CC82 ✭✭✭

    I'm in for Loch Ness 2013.  I did it in 2012 as my second marathon (first being Edinburgh 2012).

    I trained very badly for Edinburgh and marginally better for Loch Ness...

    The hill at 18/19 miles at Loch Ness hurts if you've burned yourself out early (as tricialitt mentions) on the downhills and the hill at about 22/23 miles is almost as bad.  I stupidly went faster than I planned in the first 10 miles or so which are generally downhill and then was back on average pace over the next (flat) 6 or 7 miles.  I toiled badly from about mile 18 to mile 23 (ish).  Even with that, I really enjoyed the marathon and signed up for 2013 within the next few days!  Finishing time was 4:24.

    I've been training "properly" since the start of this year for 10k distance and now half marathon distance.  I'm looking to knock at least an hour off my marathon PB this year...

    As has been said - if you don't have accommodation already, you'll need to get on it soon as the accommodation fills up very quickly.  If you've got anyone going with you  in a car that take any luggage etc. then an option away from Inverness is to stay at Drumnadrochit or Fort Augustus where there are bus pick up points.  We stayed in Drumnadrochit last year and that worked well.  Inverness City Centre this year though to save my wife (now with added baby) having to find parking etc. on the day.  We'll be staying walking distance from the finish line!

    Another tip.  It was bloody freezing at the start line with a decent amount of time to wait before actually getting going.  If you can take something warmish to wear to keep you warm that you're not bothered about chucking away at the start or soon after, then it would be advisable.  The bag drop is good too - I went dressed in my hoody and jogging bottoms and kept them on for as long as possible before throwing them into my rucksack and onto the back of the trucks.  The pick up wasn't far from the finish line and I had my joggers and hoody back on in no time after finishing. image

  • tricialitt/Calum, thanks for the heads up, it's always good to get tips to avoid common mistooksimage. Calum, knocking 30 mins off your previous time sounds a massive improvement!

  • How close are hotels from the shops, as the wife likes a mooch while iam running?


  • well, if you get somewhere in the City Centre I guess you'd be close to the shops? Only been there once before sorry so can't really help.

    Can anybody point me to somewhere I can see the total incline/decline? I've seen the profile but would like to know exactly what I'm letting myself in for and maybe to help me choose training routes. It may be me but not found the course on Garmin Connect.

    Edited to say I found several runs on mapmyrun and the total incline seems to vary from 205-250 metres. Feel better now as today's 6 mile run was 240 metres, just need to get some stamina  in me image

  • Andi, I ran it last year and according to endomondo the total descent I did was 1936ft and the total ascent was 906ft.  While the hill at 18-20 miles is tough it's more to do with the stage of the run rather than the total incline. It is one of those hills though that you think you might be at the top and then you turn a corner and see another long stretch, can be a bit of a morale sapper.

    Eastham75, Inverness is a compact town and as long as the hotel is in the town itself it won't be a long walk to the shops or anywhere else. The last mile or so is by the river, spectatator friendly and only a short walk from the shops. Also worth considering self-catering, lots of places within 10-15 min walk of town centre and it gives more home comforts, including fridge/freezer for cold beer and ice packs!

  • CC82CC82 ✭✭✭

    Andi - the stats from my Garmin for last year's marathon:

    Elevation Gain:971 ft

    Elevation Loss:1,932 ft

    Min Elevation:32 ft

    Max Elevation:1,013 ft


    Eastham75 - Last year, we stayed in Drumnadrochit which is closer to the start than the finish, but still only 30 minutes or so from Inverness.  This year we're staying in self catering apartments (I forget which ones) about 10-15 minutes walk to the finish.  (There are buses from their to the start line).  I think this will be much better post-race than having to sit in the car afterwards.  Staying the Sunday night this year too, as I've got the following day off work (which I didn't last year!), which will be way better.  image

  • Txs for the stats Jaggy & Calum, makes me feel a little easier and agree that last hill will be harder as it will be around my max planned LSR. Looks like I'll be upping my Hill running in reverse image

  • I ran this last year as my first marathon and loved it . Would love to do it again this yr but as I live in the south of England it was a bit of a trek . Amazing views . The worst bit is the first 9 miles which are down hill , killed the quads for the hill at 18 miles . If I have one training tip it's train running downhills as well as up and add some lunges to your weekly workouts. 

    So jealous of you all. 

  • Just wanted to say Hi,

    have put my money down, time to get on with it! Always hankered about doing a marathon. And now I am image Just did my first ever competive race aberdeen 10k.

    Felt pretty good and finished strong in 49:33. Weight is falling off of me now and of course that makes the body able to go faster! Would love to get a decent time first time out is that realistic, near 3:30 ish would be amazing  can that be done in 17 or so weeks!! Or am I dreaming people! Have entered Stonehaven half marathon in early July in preparation for the big one! But hear Stoney 1/2 is no push over with 4 miles of hills to start with.


    Nice to get to know the competion before race day lol image

  • PS was going to do Lochaber 2012 and had entered only to get a small injury which I allowed to fester and turn me into a lazy lump on the sofa! Should have went but allowed a small problem with my foot to make me quit image

    But have been doing the mileage and no quitting this time!

    See you at the start line peeps!



  • MokshaeightMokshaeight ✭✭✭


      First marathon, don't put ANY pressure on your self time wise, just go along and run and enjoy it, theirs time for that at a latter date.

    Lots of marathon training programs out there, and yes 17 weeks is plenty ,build  up the millage nice and slowly, all the best, and will see you on the start line.

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    Hi NST- if you just moving up to the distance, and are doing a 10k in just under 50, 3:30 is a bit of a push, target-wise. The pace convertors you will see online are rather optimistic, I think 50 mins converts to about 4hr. Don't make the mistake of setting off for your first mara with an over-ambitious time target in mind- sure, have an "A" target thar will stretch you, but think of something  a little less ambitiiuos as "B" and "C" targets- ie-  A= sub 4hr, B=finsh under 4:15, C= finish. You will get a better idea of target pace/ conversion to longer distance after your half mara. Just remember to train SLOW while you are incresing the distances, or you'll re-injure.

  • Hi Northseatiger, good luck with the training and 3:30 target image you'll be back at the hotel, refreshed and tucking into your steak dinner while I'm still runningimage

    Like tricialitt suggests, my A goal is to finish and B goal is a sub 5 hours - will be 54 then and smoke and drink so think thats a decent goal for my first Marathon. 

    Looking at the route profile other than 1 main  hill the first 10 miles are downhill then flat (or undulating) for 8 miles till the big hill at Dores so my plan (if you can call it a plan) is to try and run the first 18 miles 30 secs/mile faster than my goal pace of 11:16 and hope adrenalin takes me the rest of the way image

  • CC82CC82 ✭✭✭

    Andi,  I wouldn't advise increasing pace by 30 seconds per mile in the first 18 miles to be honest.  The downhills are deceptively tiring on the legs!  Let gravity increase your pace a bit (maybe 10 -15 seconds per mile at the most) but it's flat from about 10 miles to 17 miles, so that should be ran at target pace.  The two hills at 18 miles and 21/22 miles are tough but they'll be a hell of a lot tougher if you go out and run the first 18 miles significantly quicker than target pace!!  I tried to do run the downhill sections much quicker than target pace last year and by the time I hit 18 miles I was really struggling.

  • Thanks Calum, thought as much. I guess my main problem is that this is my first Marathon and basically plucked 4:55 out of the blue (11:16 min miles sounded ok).

    Will plod on with this target in mind and maybe reassess things after the Mull HM (again, my first). On a positive note they will both bring PB's providing I finish image

  • CC82CC82 ✭✭✭

    Andi - the one piece of advice I can give (not being a very experience runner and based on messing up two marathons...) is to make sure your target is realistic based on current fitness and training and stick to it.  Don't rush off at the start thinking you'll be able to tough it out because the chances are you won't!!

    At the start, running 11 minute miles will feel very slow (same goes for whatever target pace you've set) because you're fresh, raring to go, excited, etc etc.  If your target is sensible though, running quicker than that will just mean you're knackered before the end of the race and you'll hit the wall at about 18 miles and the next 5 or 6 miles will be hell.

    I was undertrained for the Edinburgh Marathon last year and just set about getting to the end.  I didn't really know what my target pace was, but I definitely went off quicker than I should have!!  Based on my lack of training, I really should have incorporated a run/walk strategy so that I didn't do all my running in the first 18 miles and then really struggle for the rest of the course.  I was a bit better prepared for the Loch Ness Marathon but still woefully undertrained.  I set myself the target of 4 hours and if I'd ran a sensible race, I might just have managed it.  Instead though, I set off at about 8 minute miles thinking that would be good for the downhill sections.  What it meant was that the flat section in the middle was tougher than it needed to be and by the time I hit the hill at 18 miles, the pace had dropped way below my target 9 minute mile pace.  I'll never know what would have happened if I'd just set off at 9 minute mile pace but I think at the very least, the last few miles wouldn't have been quite so painful!  I might not have made the 4 hours, but it annoys me that I didn't at least try to be sensible!  I came in in 4:24 at Loch Ness, which was kind of my target at Edinburgh.  I was hoping to run in 4:30 at Edinburgh but came in in 4:48.

    The main things I learned from the experiences were (a) training properly is absolutely essential, (b) don't just pluck targets out of the air (base them on current fitness / training), and (c) STICK TO THE TARGET from the offset!!

  • Sounds like Sage advice Callum especially as it comes from experienceimage

    I plugged my guestimate time into the Macmillan calculator and have the 1k, 1 mile, 5k, 10, and HM predicted times in one of my (many) spreadsheets. Currently my 1k and 1 mile times are faster than the predictions, am 20 seconds short on the 5k and a whopping 4:39 short for the 10k. This weekend should see my first 13.1 miles in training so no time yet and my target is 2:35 and 15 minutes shy of the projected time.

    I guess this means that right now I need to work on stamina and will train hard(er). It's only now I've started training that I realise the enormity of what I've taken on!

  • CC82CC82 ✭✭✭

    All the advice says to run your long runs slower than target MP - all about building endurance.  Something else I didn't do last year and probably hit marathon day on tired legs.  I did pretty much everything wrong last year... image

  • lol, it's not hard for me to run my LSR's slower than MPimage   I started following Hal Higdons Advanced 2 plan but think I'll drop a day or 2 as I get v tired on 6 days/week and follow my HADDing plan with the odd pace/80% run thrown in. I liked the idea of this plan as it had a pace run on Sat and LSR on Sunday to get you running slowly on tired legs - makes sense but not that easy for a beginner like me. 

    I'm in the middle of moving so not sure what running I'll be doing at the weeken.

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    These conversion tables work on the basiss that you are adequately trained for the distance, if you slip more and more slower than target as the distance rises, you need to work on endurance, not speed. Runnig 1 mile  ( or even 5k) quicker is not going to get you round that marathon- long slow distance- and doubles if you can do them ( running 2 days in a row to get used to tired legs) are the answer, speed work is pretty much a luxury that you can't afford too often, as it makes you too tired to do the long runs.

    I did my first 10k of the year 2 days ago- a masive shock running at that pace ( I've done 1 mara, and 1 56 mile ultra this year, but no fast stuff). Oddly, I was only a few seconds slower in the 10k race than lst year, so missing the speed work hasn't harmed me any- I suspct that the 10k race will be my entire speed work for this month (I have another ultra next month).

    I might do a little speed work in the 6 weeks or so before LN, but for now I'm working on endurance base.

  • I hear you tricialitt and my feeble attempts at PB's in training for shorter distances are just done for fun (not trainning specifiacally for them). My thoughts were as my Marathon training progresses I should get a little faster at the short runs as well (have goals of sub 30 and 60 for the 5k and 10k).

    A newbie here and in danger of over analysing things I think and going back to some easy HADDing I think and just do the odd 80% of WHR run but more hill reps (up and down).

    Kudos on the Ultra! it's on my list of 'things to do before I ....' but will seeimage  Oh, I thought doubles were 2 runs in one day? 


  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    Yes, sorry- I should have said "back to backs", not doubles. The ultra's are easier than they sound, as you go so slow that you walk large chunks of them ( at least, at my end of the field you do- my only aim is to beat the sweeper- although in most ultras , running with the sweeper is also a good option!).

    Going back to HADD style base trainig, and just doing a few sharpening runs in august/ sept is a very valid plan, and roughly what I'll be doing as I have the Clyde Stride in july- I can't really do a conventional marathon plan when that is 11 weeks before LN. Most conventional plans that are written for us slower guys (I'm still struggling to stay below 4:15) start from too low a mileage, and build too fast- that's why all the "supersix" guys end up injured ( Just my opinion, by the way.....).

    I'm off out in the glorious spring weather for a short run today, as I have a trainig marathon next weekend ( time on legs trainig for the ultra, not goingfor a time), need to slightly rest the legs before that.

  • I'm signed up for LN - it will be my 4th time running/walking it although I still would not describe myself as a 'runner'. I'm a very slow runner and often stop for walking breaks but am hoping to improve over the next 10 weeks or so. This time I'd love to be proud of my time (the last few times I've come in around 5 hours) and know that I have pushed myself.

    Any tips on how to keep the momentum going on the longer training runs? I'm following one of hal higdon's plans and really struggled with a 17 mile run last weekend (especially since it was so hot and sunny) and ended up walking a large part of it which leaves me annoyed with myself.

  • runlozrunrunlozrun ✭✭✭

    Hi Jen,

    Have you tried powergels, they take a little time to kick in but they might help with the energy levels.  Also perhaps reduce your speed and your mileage to a level that you can maintain and then very slowly up the mileage over the forthcoming weeks.  It will really help psycologically if you can do a few runs without stopping regardless of the mileage. 



  • Thanks Loz, I've not tried powergels so will give them a shot. I did a 9 mile run on Tues night without stopping so was pretty happy with that. When I checked my time at the end I had finished in 1hr 30 mins so that's given me a bit of courage to up the mileage a little for the next one.

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    how annoying -my computer deleted my previous post- anyway- I failed to complete my ultra last weekend- bailed out at 29 miles- and as I was going very slowly, I feel ready to get going again. I am entering another ultra in last week of august, and will concentrate on endurance work until then, with just one tempo/ interval session per week, then try to sharpen the speed up a little in the remaining 5 weeks post- ultra.

    In this weather it is difficult to do anything other than run slowly, anyway- the temperature during the ultra last weekend was up to 30 degC, and that was my main reason for stopping..........began to feel quite odd!


  • tricialitt, am sorry you didn't manage to finish the ultra but probably wise to bail out if you were feeling 'odd' maybe dehydration?

    Hi Jen, sounds like your a seasoned LN'erimage This will be my first Marathon and my 'A' goal is to finish, 'B' goal is sub 5 hours and can see some walk breaks along the way - any top tips since you have done it before and a similar pace to my B goal? 

  • Hi guys... im really sorry contributed awhile back and got some nice replies and only now have came back to look!  HOW Rude please accept my apoligies!

    I will look in far more regular I promiseimage

    Update, as I said I was looking for a 3:30 as a newbie was I being realistic after going under 50 for 10K. Well done the Stonehaven half, which I can only describe as brutal, well the first 5-6 miles of constant hills image were anyway! Told by everyone not a PB course but as it was my first one so I knew better! lol

    Did it in 1.45,32 which I was really happy with. Initial goal was a little under 2hrs if I could. So now the predictor is saying 3.40.01. But im thinking if I was strong enough to finish strong at a brutal half, maybe I can still do under 3:30 oh how it is to have a dream for my first marathon! image Been doing loads of intervals and hills in preparation, and also running free of niggles for now!





  • northseatiger, another runner that will have time to go shower, change then be back to see me finishimage

    If my calendar is correct we have a little under 8 weeks to go! Got my first 20 miler this weekend and found a route that looks similar to that last 20 of LN though think the climbs toward the end are more severe in my run. The first 9 miles is along the last 9 miles of my HM 11/8 and probably one of the flattest 9 miles here on Mull so (sort of) looking fowards to it.

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