There are TONS of articles out there and even more blog posts that handle the mythical distance that Pheidippides ran somewhere 490BC.
Seeing that this is a mythical distance, I thought it would be nice to write down the general (training) experience and tips surrounding those daunting 42.2km or 26.2 miles.
1. Don’t try a marathon too soon in your career …
I have totally sinned on this one. I’ve started (serious) running February 2013 and did a marathon in October.
Looking back I should be lucky I’ve pulled this off.
It wasn’t all that wise and many people told me so, but it’s only now I can relate to their advice 🙂
Another reason to not run a full marathon too soon is that you should be able to grow to it.
First some 5k’s, 10k’s, 10miles, Half marathon, … so that you have always another goal to look forward to.
2. … but if you do, be happy with whatever time …
So if you care to ignore point 1 (as I did myself ;-)) don’t pin too much on a time.
Everything is a PR the first time, so do it at a pace you’re comfortable with.
After all, it’s your first time, that always needs to be comfortable 😉
3. … and always listen to your body during the training!
This applies to a first as well as a 80th marathon training.
Listening to your body is always rule #1!
If you feel injury coming up, don’t bite through it, it’s not worth it and it may come to a moment you need to cancel your race…
4. Eating And Drinking is important
You cannot run a marathon without some supplies. The amount differs from person to person, but fact is that you’ll need to eat and drink during the race.
You need to run far during a marathon, it’s obvious you trained for that.
You need to eat and drink during the race, yet a lot of people do not train for it during the weeks before.
You’ll benefit a lot if you won’t choke on a banana or gulp more air than water down!
Hydration is important to prevent cramping muscles as well, so nothing than advantages to drinking (water of course :-))
5. Don’t try anything new on race day.
This is stated in practically every article about marathons, but it’s soooo true.
Run in the shoes you’ve trained in (not counting people who actually own race shoes and really know what they’re doing).
Run in the shirt you’ve trained a lot in.
Do not eat something before or during the race you haven’t eaten before. If your stomach starts cramping up, you’ll regret it for weeks!
ABSOLUTELY don’t decide to fasten your pace because the first mile goes very well, you have a long way to go.
It’s somewhat a mind game as well, if you run in all the conditions (except for the route and gazillion people around you) as you do on training, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed.
6. Enjoy the scenery, appreciate the volunteers/supporters, seize your day
A positive mindset helps a lot.
If you’re positive, every step feels lighter.
Look around you, enjoy the new sights. Say thank to the volunteer that ensures a safe passing, they do long days so everyone is safe.
High five some kids in the crowd, you’ll make their day.
Say an encouraging word to a fellow runner you see struggling.
This day has been marked in your calendar for weeks, so enjoy it to the fullest.
7. Ignore THE WALL
The Wall is something you read a lot about and before you know it, you just KNOW it’ll get hard in the last miles.
Ignore those articles. If you’ve trained well, hydrated well, paced yourself well, the wall won’t be all that high nor that thick.
Of course it’ll get hard towards the end, but this is what you trained for, you don’t need to be careful anymore. Right now you’re allowed to be sore tomorrow.
Something you’d like to add?
Or (dis)agree with, I’m always open for comments!