Should your first marathon be a flat course?

I am a regular runner, have been doing half marathons for about two years, and regular do long runs that go past 10 miles. I did 15 the other day very comfortably, and didnt ache afterwards. Where i live it isnt flat, nice mixture of slopes, although not major hills, but more long windy climbs of 20 degrees.

I am doing the Sussex Marathon next April, and i am really looking forward to it, but there is this niggling voice in my head, that says i shouldnt do a hilly one, even though i did the half very comfortably this year. I couldnt get it in for Brighton or London. Milton Keynes is an option, but still to do Sussex, i think would be a great achievement if i could do it, and my training will be up to par on the day.


  • Oh incidentally i was in the first 30, out of 212 runners when i did the half..

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    Why shouldn't you do bothimage? Target Sussex in April and maybe another (flatter) one in autumn?

    I did London as my first and thought it was the bees knees... Now I've done some with a few hills/obstacles I realise how much I prefer the variety and how quickly my legs recover,
  • My 1st was Loch Ness.. NOT flat, but the most scenic of the 3 (Dublin, Lochaber and LN).. and reasonably small with just 4000 runners (although Lochaber had only 300!!). Variety is the key. I have also done the Speyside Way Ultra... gorgeous run!!!

    Hmmm, dont have my next 1 booked but hoping for something scenic again. Definitely prefer those to big city ones but each to their own and why not do a variety over time?

    Good luck!!

  • Don't see any reason to worry about your sussex choice..   Why would you want to do a flat one, when you're clearly training well for the event.   I've only done one though... which was reasonably undulating.  I almost feel that a flat one might be a bit boring - but I'm probably wrong.    If you do do a flat one first, when it comes to choosing your next ones, there might be a temptation to avoid undulating courses for fear of disappointment in not beating your PB.  So maybe psychologically, a hilly one to cut your teeth on might be good in the long run (no pun intended).

    Incidentally, if you're used to doing long runs up 20 degree slopes, and you don't even consider them particularly steep, you must be a hell of an athlete! image

  • I agree with Run Wales. My first ever race was the Portland CTS marathon and I entered as a rookie not knowing what the hell I was doing thinking it was a flat road mara. Turned out it went from sea level to 500ft (or thereabouts- it was a while ago!) in a mile and a half or so. That wasn't even the hard bit though... there was a massively long stretch along chesil beach over pebbles. That = agony. I wasn't prepared for it fully but it is still the most rewarding race I've done as it was the hardest challenge by far.

    So. in short, I'd say stick with Sussex as your first. You may not get a super quick PB but you will get an amazing benchmark in terms of your own personal capability and a much better sense of achievement!

  • Thanks for your above comments. I will stick with the Sussex choice. The inclines did bother me, but your right about not getting a quick PB, just completing it, will be the achievement,


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