As I work through the last 6 weeks of marathon training, I reflect back on my first one. All the pre-race nerves, all the "what did i get myself into?" can make things really confusing. I have managed to survive 9 full marathons and over 30 half marathons, and am currently training for the Detroit Marathon.
I am reminded of some of the advice I got along the way, which I am now passing on to you:
1) Do not attempt to do this without training properly. Those weekend warriors who think they are cool and just sign up and show up are lame.
2) Do not give into the urge to sign up for a pace group on your first one. Don't put any extra pressure on yourself, and you don't want to look like an idiot wearing a 3:30 pace group bib as you're finishing around the 5 hour mark!
3) Do not buy new gear or gels at the expo and use them during the race if you've never tried them before.
4) If anyone asks, "what time are you shooting for"? Lie. Pad it by a lot. You want to look like a superstar that blew all your expectations!
5) If you are doing a destination race, don't spend the whole day before sightseeing by foot. Try to stay off your feet as much as you can.
6) When carb loading the night before, don't bother trying to squeeze in a salad. I was told by my race coach that it is "wasted space". You want to pack in as many carbs as you can that are going to fuel your run.
7) Don't overdo it on sports drinks. If you drink too many before or during the race, you could end up with hypernatremia and it could be potentially fatal.
8) Don't get so caught up in finishing at a certain time/pace that you don't take the time to enjoy your surroundings. This is your first time, soak it all in! The sights, the sounds, the wonder of what your body is able to do.
9) Don't wear your official race shirt for the race. This goes back to rule #3 above about not using anything new on race day. Plus, you'll blend in with all the other newbies. Stand out!
10) Don't schedule a full day of activities the next day, your legs are going to be shredded, so plan on laying low.
Happy Running! Now go get that PR!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!