Friday, September 21, 2012

Tips for Your First Marathon - Part 2

Edited to add: I am SO sorry to anyone who already commented prior to Leah's comment.  IntenseDebate the last two days was not working properly and I lost a lot of comments.  I have removed the widget from my blog and went back to the Blogger commenting system.  Hopefully this fixes the problem!

Yesterday I gave you tips to get to the start line of your first marathon.  Today's tips will help you during and after running 26.2 miles.


Let's Talk About Pace 

Start slow. Adrenaline or others may push you. Start your race slow. You have 26.2 miles to prove yourself to yourself. - Erica from Life as a Running Mom - 2 marathons

As hard as it may feel, make sure your first mile in the marathon is your SLOWEST! If it is a big race, it's easier to accomplish this (due to crowds) but you'll definitely thank yourself later - you have 25.2 miles to kick it into gear, so just relax and soak in your big moment! - Krissy from Shiawase Life - 3 marathons, training for her 4th and 5th

Respect the distance. Stick to your planned pace, even if you're feeling strong early on. 26 miles is a long, long way! If you still want to increase your pace later in the race, the second half is a smarter time to speed up than the first (negative splits). - Laura from Mommy Run Fast - 1 marathon

Start slow, especially if you have a downhill start. It's a long way to 26.2!! - Eric from Roc the Run - 1 marathon

Don't go out too fast. If you are feeling good at mile 20, pick up the pace, otherwise stick to your plan. - Kim from Gluten-Free is Life - 1 marathon, 8 half marathons

Mental Game

Remember that you are stronger than you think you are, you will need the mental toughness the last few miles. - Tina - 15 marathons and 1 ultra marathon

Pick a motto or phrase that you can repeat to yourself when things get tough. - Danielle from Ooh Breathe, Just Breathe - 6 marathons, training for her 7th

Think of how far you've come, not how far you have to go. If you need to break up the race into smaller pieces for mental sanity, do it. - Jenny from The Little JBird - 6 marathons and 2 ultra marathons

The marathon is a mental mind f**k, think positive. It's all worth it in the end. - Danielle (sorry everyone I had to include that since she tells it like it is!)

How are you Going to Feel?

Expect it to be hard. It's 26.2 miles, it should be hard! - Eric

Always remember that there will be highs and lows. When you're in a low, slow down and ride it out. You will come out of it and feel better. -  Amanda from Miss Zippy - 10 marathons, 1 Ironman, running coach

Find a way to make the hard feel awesome, I think about how lucky I am that I CAN run a marathon. - Eric

If you are running a marathon, you should hopefully enjoy running, so enjoy running the marathon. It is just another run.  Don't let it become something that stresses you out. - Isaac - 3 marathons, training for his 4th

Since this is a list of things for your FIRST marathon, there will come a point in the race when your body has never gone the distance you are at. You will know exactly when you are there. Trust in your training and remember this moment until you step foot over that finish line.  There is not another feeling like this in running, and it's amazing. I wish I could re-live the last 6.2 miles of my first marathon every day. - Danielle

Emotions - they will run high (and low). Jess and I proclaimed our love to each other several times. It was beautiful. - Jen from Running with the Girls - 1 marathon, training for her 2nd

The last 6.2 miles are brutal! Our training runs only took us up to 20 miles. Sure enough at 20.1, perhaps it was all mental, my calves tightened up. We stopped and stretched a bit, which helped. - Jen

Those little kids on the side of the road whose parents made them come out and cheer and they really have no idea what's going on? They have TONS of energy, if they're cheering and holding out their hands wanting you to slap them five running by, don't pass on the opportunity. It will transfer their energy to you or at least make you smile. - Danielle

Other Tips

Support. Not all marathons are support friendly, but if you are lucky enough to have a support crew meet you at several spots along the course, this is ideal! I had Ward and Stacy stagger their stops meeting me with fuel, water bottles and gum! If not, figure out something that will work to carry your fuel. Ward actually made several small pockets and pinned them to the inside of his shorts for Boston. (Remember - he ran Boston in only little short shorts!) - Jen

Your first is a guaranteed PR! Enjoy it, each step of it, and embrace the opportunity to reap the benefits of all of your hard training. - Erica

Thank the crowd and volunteers when you can, it always makes me feel awesome to thank others! - Eric

A tip someone gave me before my first. Carry a few peanut butter crackers in your belt. At mile 20 they will be welcomed. I finished my first marathon in 6:52:47 and she was right. They were the most amazing crackers I have ever eaten. And if you are slow carry your own water in case they run out. - Kim from TriandTrue - 1 marathon, 1 Goofy Challenge, 13 half marathons

Take time to actually ENJOY the race. Don't get so focused that you can't "see" what's around you. Take in sights, sounds, smells. Really try to experience it because it's your FIRST marathon - it only happens once! - Jenny

Also take time to thank the people in your life who have supported you. This means the ones at the race with you but even the ones that have supported you from afar. It means a lot to your support crew when you recognize them. Odds are they may have given up something to allow you to train and race. - Jenny 

Running buddy. Having a running buddy to get me through my first marathon was fantastic! I will always be appreciative of Jess. We had a pact to stick together until mile 24. Then if we had anything "left over" the other could sprint ahead. Ha! That was funny - we were both dead tired and crossed the finish line holding hands. - Jen

After the Marathon

If you are traveling try to take a lot of stop breaks during the drive to stretch your legs. I made that mistake and drove 7 hours right after a marathon, lesson learned. - Tina

Have something ready to celebrate with - a special bottle of bubbly (or whatever) chilling in the fridge isn't as healthy as chocolate milk (which should be chilling in the fridge too) but it sure adds to the celebration of a run well done! - Tanya from Running in Boise - 1 marathon and 4 half marathons

Weigh yourself before the race and shortly after, the amount of weight you are down is water weight. Hydrate until you are back to the initial weight. - Danielle

Don't run your first marathon and then promptly drink beer all afternoon instead of water and attend a Kelly Clarkson concert. This is not recommended. - Danielle

And the number one tip from everyone?



  1. I had SO much trouble staying on pace in the first miles of my half - it was so tempting to go fast!! Great tips. Can't wait to hear how yours goes!!

  2. Great tips! I'm tackling 1/2s this year and debating on a full mary for next year! SPA <3

  3. Great tips, even after 20 marathons it is great to see these and be reminded of some of the important things I forget :)

    1. I'm glad this even helped experienced marathoners!

  4. Great tips! I'm still chasing my first marathon dream. Soon!!!

  5. Very good tips! Thanks for gathering them!

  6. Excellent compilation of tips! Thanks!

    1. No problem, I'm glad that it was beneficial to do this!

  7. Love it! I particularly loved that your first marathon is a pR, no matter what :-D

  8. YAY!! I can comment on your blog now! :)

    1. Haha, yea I had to get rid of the IntenseDebate widget, it was working and then would stop causing me to lose comments. So now you'll be able to comment!

  9. Such a great round up of tips, Jamie! Yours is so close... you're going to have a blast!

  10. These are all great tips! Thanks for sharing.