The running community is a wonderful group to be a part of. When I first started running, it was partly because of a few blogs I came across. I liked the thought of doing something that would make me feel good about myself, as running did for others.
When I decided to run my first half marathon, it was just after I turned 40 and seemed like a fun think to do – just once. So many people had done them, why couldn’t I? Then I was bitten by the racing bug and well, here I am ten half marathons later, along with many races under my belt.
So again, when I started thinking about tackling a full marathon, much of that came from the inspiration of this wonderful running community I am now apart of. I am very lucky to have met so many great people the last couple of years, and have become friends with many of them.
In the days leading up to the start of my marathon training, I asked several of my runner friends for their advice to someone who will be running their first marathon and I am sharing it with you now! I love all of these and will take it all to heart throughout my training and on race day.
First off, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a run. Personally, I enjoy training programs that mix it up with running and cross training – I do this intentionally because running 5X a week isn’t my thing. But…if that is how your program is, listen to your body. Rest when you need it, skip that run if you’re exhausted, switch to cross training that particular day if that makes you happier inside. Because trust me, you’re going to be running A LOT, you don’t want to dislike running when you get to that marathon start line. Even though I just told you not to beat yourself up for missing a run…DO NOT MISS YOUR LONG WEEKEND RUNS! These are vital for sooo many reasons. For me, the confidence boost that I just finished __ miles was immeasurable (you’ll need that mental boost). The last 6.2 miles of a marathon is ALL mental, once again, trust me. Your legs need those miles, all in one setting — you need to know what it’s like to push yourself that distance. Regardless of how long that ‘long run’ takes you, your legs, body and mind need that prep before game day. Lastly, pick out your race day outfit early! Yes, sounds silly, but you’ll be glad you did. Stick with what you know works for you in regards to fit, how it works when drenched with sweat, and doesn’t cause nasty chaffing. I highly suggest running a double-digit run in the EXACT SAME OUTFIT you plan on wearing marathon day. This will let you know what works, where you need extra glide, and if it’ll be as comfortable as running 26.2 miles can be… And of course, coming from me, make sure it’s cute!! There are photographers on the course, you’ll take a selfie before you start, and will take 20 selfies when you’re done with that MARATHON MEDAL AROUND YOUR NECK! ~Caitlyn
Get a training plan & stick to it! I was pretty undertrained so miles 18-26.2 were painful – and they don’t have to be! ~Beth
Commit. Commit to all the millage you need to get in to make it a successful race. ~Nick
Don’t set a time goal for your first marathon! That being said, set small goals to help keep you on track when it gets tough. Like “I won’t walk for more than 1 minute at a time” or “I’ll only walk at water stops”. 26.2 miles is a long way, and you should celebrate finishing and running a race you’re proud of. My other piece of advice, celebrate milestones in your training. The first time you go over 13.1, your first 20-miler, a good long run. These are milestones that should be celebrated. Don’t get so caught up in thinking about race day that you forget to enjoy the journey! ~Tori
Don’t have a goal time. And if you’re hard headed like me and say, “but I have to have a goal time” then just make sure that your goal time and whether or not you hit it doesn’t make or break the amazing experience of completing your first 26.2. ~Meghan C.
Don’t race your training runs! ~Kat
I think the biggest piece of advice is to enjoy every second of it. Tedy Bruschi told us before the 2013 marathon that the Start Line is really the Finish Line and the race itself is the party. I really took that to heart and try to pass that on to others! ~Dani
Pick a marathon known for its great crowd/volunteer support. It’s amazing the energy they can provide by giving a simple high five or a Kleenex at mile 25! And train with a group or friend. The long runs seem shorter and more fun when there is someone commiserating next to you. ~Beka
If you have run a marathon before, what is one piece of advice you would offer? If you are training for your first, what is a piece of advice you’ve been offered?