Legs falling off! - 1st race

I have just completed my 1st 1/2 marathon, in fact my first race of any sort, and to be honest I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.

But.... I really suffered with my legs in the last 3 miles, they stiffened up and I felt like my calfs would cramp up if I tried to accelerate, quite a few ran past me in the last mile!

I only drank water during the race and have never used gels or anything in training, anyone had the same experience and got round it?


  • Munty, well done on completing your first half. I also completed my first ever race this weekend, the half marathon at Marlow. I certainly was in a same boat with legs feeling like lumps of lead in the last few miles especially after a rather steep hill! My longest run before the day was 9.5 miles. I spoke to a friend afterwards and he suggested its just a case of practicing and doing more longer training runs which will improve stamina and pacing judgement and get your body use to the distance.

    I hope so as my legs are rather sore today!!

  • Well done yourself JR, it does feel good to have achieved it and runner's world really helped with training plans, tips etc... (sounds like a marketing quote doesn't it!)

    I'm now really keen to do it again, although my body is likely to divorce me for saying that. Does anyone have any suggestions for some goods races 10k - 1/2 in the South East over the winter/Spring.

  • Hi Munty,

    Very many congrat's on your first half - that's quite a distance to run in your first race! :)

    The agonising leg thing is very familiar to me... I had it after each of my first few halves - the pain after my first was one of the worst I've ever experienced, in a fairly active lifetime! - but then it began to go away. I wasn't doing anything different in terms of drinks/fuel, and I think that in my case it just came down to getting more miles in my legs. I'm pretty sure that you'll find the same as your legs get used to running that far, and maybe in the meantime you'll find some drink/fuel to help.

    Congrat's once again :)
  • Brilliant first race.

    I think the stiffness is caused by lactic acid in the muscles which kicks in once the muscles are over worked, it kicks in later as your training builds up so ideally it doesn't kick in until afterwards (this is a VERY lay understanding, if you search on 'lactic acid' on the website home page I guess there are articles with proper info
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