New Forest Marathon 2013

I have signed up for the New Forest Marathon and as there is no thread already for this charming race, I thought I would start one.

I've been running since 2010, so I'm neither new nor terribly experienced, and this will be my first marathon. I know, I know, why did I pick an "undulating" one for my first?...

Several reasons actually:
1. My work schedule is significantly lighter in the summer thus giving me time to train.
2. By "significantly lighter" I mean I have no job in the summer, and so I will have no money, and so I need a free hobby to occupy myself with.
3. All of the reviews comment on how beautiful the course is and so I figured the scenery would be a suitable distraction when everything is hurting.
4. I have friends in the area who can offer free accommodation (see point 2).

So, I'm running NFM13 as my first ever marathon. I'm also really pushing the name NFM13.

I've trained for half marathons in the past, most around 2 hours, am 4 weeks away from attempting to dip under 1:50 and I currently run a 46:33 10K, so I'm fairly confident that unless a pony attacks me I will finish. However, I wanted some advice about putting a training plan together and hoped some RW readers could help...

1. How long would you recommend my training plan be? 16 weeks?
2. Any recommended hill/speed sessions? I normally do reps of 4-10 minutes, increasing throughout training and depending on target race distance. How long should they reach for marathon training?
3. How long should my tempo-ish runs reach?

So many questions!! I'm so excited...



  • I'm Running this event for the first time this year! I cycled the route yesterday and its such an idylic 26 miles i can't wait!


    I'm following the "FIRST" marathon training programme, you can find it on this site under the training section. Basically it's 16 weeks, but only 3 running sessions a week plus a couple of other cross training sessions. In a bid to avoid injury and training boredom.

    Take a look,


    Happy running

  • I'd love to do this next year, please keep me updated on how you get on!

  • JindaleeJindalee ✭✭✭
    I did the new forest half marathon last year and really enjoyed it. The organisation and route was great only downside was that the weather was bad and it was raining most of the time. But I will def sign up again for this year. Just not sure if I want to do the half or full one. And as for doing an undulating marathon as your first.. My first marathon is the Neolithic Marathon which is an undulating multi- terrain marathon.
  • Hi All, thanks for starting this thread Hannah!

    I have just had to deffer from Brighton which I am really disappointed about due to a bruised heel bone and strained achilles after falling off a curb! I know, numpty right. Anyway that took me out of training for over 3 weeks and having only done one 20 miler in beginning of Feb I am just completely unprepared for a marathon.

    So, I thought I would try a marathon later in the year rather than waiting for next Spring. I am terrible if I don't have something to aim for! New Forest looked perfect, if not a little hilly. My biggest challenge is training through the summer as I much prefer the cold weather to run in!  

    I am a bit of a slow coach it has to be said. I have done 3 marathons previously, Brighton 2011 at 4:54 (was determined to break 5hours on my first attempt!!), then last year was Brighton 4:45 followed by London the week after 4:48. I have a real problem getting my little chubby legs to move at any kind of pace but I would like to crack 4:30 for this one. 

    Anyway, that's enough for now, I hope this thread keeps going and maybe we can aspire to the dizzying heights of the Brighton 2013 thread!image  We should be in the events section really I suppose.......


  • Oops - afraid we're in 'training' instead. My bad!

    This did look like one of the best autumn marathons and the reports I'm hearing from others are very promising! (Although I'm also being warned by all the runners I know that picking a hilly race for my first M is a terrible idea...) Any chance we could get RW to send out their marathon newsletters again over the summer months?image

    Training in the summer is going to TOUGH. I'm a bit too ginger for summer running and have bad memories of training for the Down Tow Up Flow half a couple of years ago. But I'm getting a bottle belt and will train at the crack of dawn if I have to!! (How long does this kind of marathon determination normally last?...)

    Hope your heel is, er, healing ok!


  • I too maybe doing this as a first marathon,Iam scared!

    Know someone else who is doing it ,been running 5 times a week for last month to see if I can fit in marathon training in my life.

    I normally run 3 times a week.

    Had a bit of a virus that knocked me out of training for 3 was.but back to it now...

    It's local ,it's cheap, why not just go for it!?

    I should just go and book re damm thing but something in my brain has not switched on to running 26 miles,I've done loads of halfs and only been running 3 years too....
  • Hi all, How is everyone doing this week?
    The past few days have certainly been a roller coaster of emotions. After the joy of watching the Brighton Marathon on Sunday to the devastation and heartache of Boston on Monday evening, it was just so hard to take in.

    Anyway, we run on united.

    Brighton was a fantastic day, it was the first marathon I have actually spectated at!  We were there to support two people, neither of which had trained properly and both of whom bombed. The young lady, who is in her 20s, dropped out at 13m and her partner (early 30s) who certainly had it in him for a sub 3:45 carried on but took over 2:30 for the second half. They had both stubbornly refused any advice over the past few months and were "surprised" at the hills!!!!  It made my blood boil! It just goes to show how much respect this distance needs (and, just between us, it made me a little more proud of what I have achieved!!).

    JL2 - I agree with the fact that it is cheap. Brighton are wanting £60 off me for next year!!  You know you want to do it. Go on go on go on.

    Hannah - All  healed up nicely thank you and back at it. I was actually fine by marathon day but just hadn't done enough training and didn't want to bomb out at 13 milesimage

    I know what you mean about training in the summer, I hate running in the heat and it going to take a bit of getting used to, but there's no point in doing it if it isn't a challange! image





  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    Hi, I did this as my first marathon. Don't worry, it's not hilly just gently undulating. Nothing that will challenge as far as hills are concerned. I only started running to run a marathon so i had less than 6 months running under my belt at the time. I finished in 3:54 which was my aim. just took it nice and easy. 

    Just do your long runs on a gently undulating course and you'll be fine. It really is about being able to run the distance.

    If you are worried about training in the heat then try early morning runs. it's light from 6 o'clock but getting out at 5 is also doable. It's much cooler. It's also not warm now. image Again a good place to run is along the coast if you can. Easy for me, it's only a few miles away and a river valley takes me there which can be really cold. 
    If you can afford to splurge out on clothing, there are a number of 'heatgear' compression tops that you can buy, Under Armour / Canterbury etc. i find that they will keep you very cool. xbionic is expensive but works well, it looks like a thick top but it isn't a warm top. Stranglel i have thinner tps that are hotter to run in.

    If you make getting up early part of your routine then it'll feel natural and last. During last summer I played hockey on a Sunday morning so had to get up and out the door at 6. It just felt right and I enjoyed it.

    If you do the training then you'll be set up for running the distance.

  • Hi mrs.h-m. Are you doing it again this year?

    I agree that a s long as you do the right training then nothing is as bad as you fear. I was worried about the hills at Brighton for my first marathon but I made sure I did plenty of hill training incorporated into my lsrs and they didn't bother me in the slightest on the day.

    I live by the sea on the south coast and there is always a 'breeze' image



  • I'm local to the Forest and I'm very tempted to do this as a first marathon. Got plenty of time to train up to it, I've been running regularly for 10 years and do a 10K in 44mins so confident I can do it. I work alot of weekends though so might have to do some planning ahead to make sure I can make it!

  • Want to do a marathon, but don't know if I want to do 2. My prob is ive always wanted to do London even before I was running.

    So do I do both! Or just only stick to one...mmm

    Spose could sign up for new forest and carry on training, at same time apply for London and if I get a place either change my new forest place to a half and then just do London
  • What a weekend! I went along to the London Marathon to watch my club mates run and was both inspired and terrified. One minute I think everyone is a superhero and I can't wait to run the big 26.2 myself, and then someone bombs right in front of me and makes me crap my pants. JoGoSlow, I promise to respect the marathon, really I do...

    I'm feeling pretty pumped to start training now. I got a smashing PB at parkrun on Saturday and am starting to miss the routine of race training... I'm an early bird and a morning runner, so hopefully getting out before the day heats up shouldn't be too difficult. My morning runs are normally 30-40 minutes pre-breakfast though, so I may have to investigate some kind of breakfast to eat before those tempo runs. I'm also going to invest in a bottle belt to take out on long runs. Any suggestions or advice?

    Thanks for the feedback about the undulations, Mrs H-M. That's definitely comforting! I will be sure to keep my training bumpy.

    Yamarashi - I work crazy hours and will be working weekends during the summer. I currently run my long run on Thursdays or Fridays, depending on the work rota, and it sometimes feels like your the only runner out there - really calming. Avoid town at lunchtimes though, and avoid school run time!

  • I have just signed up for NFM13 - did my first marathon at Brighton last week having been running for a year & was aiming for sub-4, was going well until 17.5 miles and some spectacular wall-hittage. Eventually finished in 4:26.

    Should definitely be able to do better than this, especially with another few months of training. Might have to get in the car to find some hills though - I live in a part of Essex which is flatter than flat.

    Watched London on the telly yesterday - inspiring stuff. Have set about 3 reminders so I don't miss the ballot opening next Monday!

  • How's the training going guys?

  • Ryan SnellRyan Snell ✭✭✭

    Hannah - persinally, I'd invest in a Camelbak for carrying water. It holds 2 litres and because it's basically a little rucksack, it's a lot easier to carry. You can get belts that hold that much ( which you will need for 2/3 hour long runs in the sun) but they're pretty uncomfortable because of the weight. I've been averaging about 60 miles a week for nearly 2 years and my Camelbak is showing no signs of wear yet image

    As it's your first one, it's probably a good idea to follow a plan if you're not already. The Higdon ones are free and pretty good for novices. Pfitzinger is more hardcore and  a serious commitment but gets results. Runners world also have some basic free ones which look ok.



  • Thanks Ryan! Your the second person to suggest a Camelbak and I think it would be a lot less bothersome than a belt (I assume that all gripes become magnified during the 3rd hour of a training run) so I'd better start saving my pennies for one!

    Training has not yet begun, but according to my training plan (colour coded, proof read by trusted friends) it begins in... 3 weeks. Right now I'm just gearing up for the Welsh Catsles relay with my club on the 8/9th, which should leave me in a good position to start the NFM training the following week. Long runs starting at 12 miles and a few weeks of hill training to get ready for those undulations.

    I'm starting to feel a little daunted by it all. Well meaning friends have started sending emails that read along the lines of "best experience ever...but nothing will prepare you for what lies beyond 20 miles."

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭

    Seems a bit quiet here...

    I signed up on Wednesday night. How is everyone's training going?

    I think I'll start training mid July, I'm up to 15 miles with my Half training and this will be my 4th marathon in as many years. Aiming for a sub 4:00.

    It should just be a case of topping up the mileage for me. ;)

  • Hi Tim - training is going well so far, though this is only week 2! 

    Ran a 9 mile race last week and my first long, slow run yesterday - 12 miles over hills. It was tough, and the furthest I've run since a half marathon in April, but OK. Next week is 14 miles and then I step into the unknown with my first ever 16-miler...

    What HM are you training for? And is this your first sub 4:00?

    It's my first marathon, so I'm aiming to just finish. My current race times suggest a similar goal time, but I've been warned against setting any time goals the first time. Would you agree?

    This week I was offered some free tickets in exchange for working at Glastonbury. It'll scupper training for 5 days, and I'll be honest one of my first thoughts was 'shit, but what about marathon training?...' but then I pulled myself together and accepted! Missing a few days in the early weeks will be OK, right? It can be my recovery weekimage

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭

    I generally run a half marathon once a month if there is one and I'm free. I've only run 3 this year though as they all seemed to clash. My Sunday runs are 13-15miles long.

    I was aiming for a sub 4:00 at Rutland last year but it was horrendous. Raining, biting wind, freezing cold and there was a monster hill at 21miles and about half a mile of footpath shin deep in water to run through at about 23miles. All a bit brutal, I came in around 4:39, lots of people borderline hypothermic and it took about an hour for me to warm up again.

    Set several acheivable goals for race day so that you have a plan should your primary objective fail.The worst thing to do is realise that you're not going to get a sub 4:00 and then not have a backup plan. Something like:

    1. Under 4:00

    2. Under 4:30

    3. Get round without walking.

    4. Get to the end by run 100m walk 100m.

    5. Walk to end.

    6. Crawl to end.

    It's funny how the time starts running away after mile 20. I don't think sub 4:00 is acheivable unless you've easily done a sub 1:50 half. I managed a 1:50:57 in St Albans Half last week and have a few months to go so anything could happen.

  • Ryan SnellRyan Snell ✭✭✭

    IMO your first marathon should have no definite time goal - if you miss it by a few seconds/mins then you'll end up disappointed with what was almost certainly a great achievement. I know this from bitter personal experience!!

    Have an idea of finish time for pacing and maybe set a goal of running the whole way?

    Or, as suggested above, have multiple targets image

  • Hi

    I signed up to the New Forest marathon just a couple of weeks back and am only just getting back into running after fracturing a heel bone in a pair of Merrils barefoot 6 weeks ago....1st bit of good advice don't change your running style when you want to tarin for a marathon, back to my good old new balanceimage

    This will be my third marathon after Edinburgh and Copenhagen and I learned respect really quick in Edinburgh when 2.20 at 16 miles became 4.45 at 26.00 miles and my right knee grew a somewhat larger than my thigh....

    An old boy at the end turned and said to me.....'when folks ask you how long it took laddie, just tell em it took you 26.2 miles'

    I am lucky enough to live next door to Richmond Park so substitute deer for ponies and I reckon it will be home from home

    Good luck to everyone, see you on the start line

  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭

    Just add my bit : I've done this twice and its a lovely race. Sure its undulating but there is nothing sinister on the route, and probably nothing you wouldn't encounter on a normal training run. In terms of time, probably no more than 5-10 minutes slower than a flat course (London/Brighton)
    As regards camelbaks/belts, well this depends on how much you normally drink! There are enough water stations on the course but if you are one of those that normally take drinks/gels on a 10k or half then yes, I'd recommend the camel.
    Won't be there this year but hope to return in the future.

    Good luck and I hope it stays dry!

  • Cheers Ryan, you've pretty much answered my concern. I've got a goal pace - a good 45sec/mile slower than my HM pace - but the idea of holding it for 26.2 miles seems impossible! So on the day, I just want to cross that finish line, be it running or be it crawling with Tim.

    Right, I'm off on my first 16-miler now, with the Camelbak, some sickly gels and this week's episode of Marathon Talk.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Hi all,

    I've also signed up for this race and really looking forward to it. I ran the half marathon in 2007 and it was my first half so i'm looking forward to going back.

    Hannah - What a great motivation to train for a marathon whilst having more time image

    David - i'm very jealous of you living near Richmond Park. We have no hills to train on here so i'm left doing hill trainings on motorway bridges!

  • Hi Emmy yeah I've done a few of those M Way bridges too. It would be even better if this bit of summer hangs around for a bit, ran 6 there last night, I think the deer had it right they just stood there looking at me like I was stupid!

    Hannah Hi 45 seconds slower than half pace can work, I used to mile measure and eventually found it less mentally harsh to break it down into distance segments....4 x 10k worked.

    In the second half when the mind got tired I found it easy to get dispirited every time I checked the watch and was ten or twenty seconds off of target

    Are you doing some 'faster than regular pace' repeats as part of your training? I started adding in 12 (3 miles) of 1/4 miles repeats at about 15% faster than marathon pace, makes a huge difference come race day

    Good Luck

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭

    All a bit hot at the moment. I did 16miles up round Ladybower , Derwent and Howden reservoirs on Sunday before 10:30am. Then 10miles locally last night at 10pm.

    Going for my first 20miler on Sunday - will try to start out about 6:30am. 

    How's everyone else doing. 

  • BakkiesmatBakkiesmat ✭✭✭

    Hi All

    Ive also Signed up

    I started running last november and Ran the north dorset village marathon in may  i'm wondering if anyone has ran both and how the courses compare

  • Bakkiesmat - A friend at work has run both and said that they are reasonably similar but he thought the NFM was slightly more difficult

    There are no huge hills in this one - there's a reasonable climb at 5 miles but shouldn't present much of a problem that early but the drag at 22 will definitely feel like a big hill at that stage. It's more that the course is rarely flat. The last 3 miles are all dead flat or slightly downhill which is good.

    3 weeks to go image

  • Thanks Ryan 

    hoping to use this as my comrades qualifing event. most of my training runs are on undulating roads also so fingers crossed for a good time 

    Good Luck 


  • Bakkies - What do you need to qualify for Comrades?

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