Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tips for Your First Marathon - Part 1

First, let me just say happy anniversary to Mike! You are all probably a little bit confused since we just celebrated our two year wedding anniversary, but today is the date of our dating anniversary.  We have been together for 8 years today! This day is also special because Mike proposed to me on our five year anniversary.

Now on to the point of this post.

Mike and I are running our first marathon in TEN days! Crazy! I thought I would ask around for some tips for running your first marathon and there are some really good ones.  I hope that this post helps anyone else out there that will be running their first marathon sometime soon.

I had such a huge response that I am going to break up the tips into two parts. First up are tips that will help you get to the start line of your first marathon.



Don't run yourself into the ground. While it's important to put miles in, you should never overdo it. Make sure you take rest days (from running too!)

Don't just run. Running is important but so is cross training. The stronger your body, the better you'll feel on the big day. Make sure you are also getting in some good strength training, yoga and whatever else you can to change it up and allow your body to process the exercise. 

Eat right but don't beat yourself up. Enjoy life. Enjoy food. Try to eat healthy most of the time. 

Smile. Enjoy your run. Go out with a positive attitude. If you're not having fun, what's the point?

Change up your routine. If you've been running your long runs on flat surface, do a mid-mileage run the next time with hills or even stairs. If all your shorter runs are just flat and steady, incorporate some sprint interval workouts into your next run. 

All above tips from Jamie, Fit Approach Co-Founder and President - 2 half marathons, 12 marathons and 16 ultra marathons

Leading up to the Marathon

I limit my dairy the whole week before the marathon. - Tina -15 marathons and 1 ultra marathon

HYDRATE the whole week before a marathon. - Tina

Get plenty of rest/hydration/nutrition the week before the race.  Because nerves are going to keep you awake or from eating normally the day of. - Tanya from Running in Boise - 1 marathon and 4 half marathons

Drive the route ahead of time to get a feel for the course. - Isaac - 3 marathons, training for his 4th

Trust your training and embrace your taper.  This can be hard (as I am experiencing the taper for my second marathon right now) but it is worth it. Eat well, hydrate well, and get some extra sleep. - Erica from Life as a Running Mom - 2 marathons

Practice positive visualizations. See yourself succeeding. Know your mantras. Talk positive to yourself now and on race day. - Erica

Set as many alarms as you can.   You probably won't sleep anyway but it's better to know you won't miss your wake up call. - Danielle from Ooh Breathe, Just Breathe - 6 marathons, training for her 7th

Race Day Gear

Never wear anything new for the marathon. - Tina

I'm running my first half in October, but what I've heard a lot is don't wear the finisher shirt before you finish the race, it is supposedly bad luck. - Kelly from Cupcake Kelly's

My advice would be to make sure your clothes and shoes are your go-tos - don't wear anything new on marathon day! Same goes for energy gels and Gatorade. - Katy from Fit in Heels - 4 half marathons

Try out your clothes on long training runs. I luckily did not have any chaffage with marathon #1. - Jen from Running with the Girls - 1 marathon, training for her 2nd

Don't try something new on race day that you have never done before. Practice your night before meals/breakfast food on a few runs. Test different drinks and forms of fuel early in your training. Try out socks, shorts, top, bra, shoes, hair ties, headbands, EVERYTHING. If something annoys you on a run, don't use it. 26.2 miles is a long way to be annoyed with something. - Danielle


Do NOT eat or drink anything different. DO NOT be tempted by goodies pre-race if you don't usually eat or drink at this time. Trust your game plan and do not deviate due to peer pressure from others. - Erica

Don't try anything during the race that you haven't ok'ed with your body during training runs. - Tina

Other Race Day Tips

Be ready for any weather. You never know what it will be. I trained in beautiful weather and race day was torrential downpours. - Jen

Invest in BodyGlide and put it everywhere. - Danielle

Stretch. - Danielle

You can't do anything about the weather. If the weather report says sunny and 65 and you wake up and it is pouring down rain and 40mph head winds, you're still going to do it. - Danielle

Get to the race with plenty of time to spare so you can use the bathroom, find your corral, know where to meet family after the finish, etc. - Jenny from The Little JBird - 6 marathons and 2 ultra marathons

Trust in your training! You are ready for this! You've put in the time and are READY! Believe in yourself. - Jenny

Right Before the Gun Goes Off

Be prepared for any number of emotions at the start. - Jenny

Be on the lookout for Part 2 tomorrow!


  1. I'll probably never run a marathon But these are such great tips!! Love it!!! Spa love!

    1. You never know, I said the same thing before we started running a year and a half ago!

  2. Love all these tips! Go SPAs! SweatPink love!

  3. oh man, totally agree with the emotions!! i cry at every race :)

  4. Agree with all these tips!! And... haha to the alarm tip- reminds of the Seinfeld episode with the guy not setting alarm right before NYC marathon!!

  5. Excellent tips!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Filing this away for if/when I ever run a full!!

  7. Fantastic! Thanks so much for posting this :-D

  8. Love all of the tips!!!! & I cried quite a bit with marathon #1...... I know I'll be crying a lot with #2.

  9. Great tips! I have 30 days from today until my first so I could use all the tips you've got!

  10. Thank you, thank you! Great tips. My first full is November @OBX!

  11. Awesome tips! I have my first marathon in 5 weeks time, so I will definitely be taking these on board!

    1. Great, I'm glad they will help you! Good luck at your first marathon!