A base run is a short to medium-length run at your relaxed, natural pace. It is the most common type of run in a marathon training plan, and it is essential for building aerobic capacity, endurance, and running efficiency.
If you’re running your first marathon, this advice is for you!
Are you training for your first marathon? Congratulations! You are about to embark on a wonderful journey that will test your limits and push you to reach new heights. While the experience is sure to be unforgettable, it is important to go into your first marathon with a solid game plan. That’s why we asked experienced runners to share their best tips for running a successful marathon. Keep reading to see what they had to say!
Just like training, find what works best for you. Thanks to all the veteran runners who responded in support of those running their first marathon.
- Trust your training.
- When running up and down hills, shorten your stride. Study the maps. Run the tangents. – Phillip B.
- Invest in good shoes and gear: This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth repeating
- Don’t worry about finish time! The slower your time on your first marathon, the easier it is to PR the next one. – Molly B
- Join a training group or run club and utilize the accountability and community.
- Seek out support from family, friends, and fellow runners. Not only will this help keep you motivated, but it will also make the experience more enjoyable. Who knows, you may even make some lifelong friends along the way!
Hydration and nutrition
- Hit the water stations and before you think you need to. You risk much more by letting yourself get behind on hydration and nutrition while running your first marathon than overdoing it.
- The first few water stops might be very crowded. Visit the last table. Or bring a throwaway water bottle.
- Eating healthy, balanced meals and staying hydrated will help improve your energy levels and give you the stamina you need to get through those long runs.
- Practice consuming hydration or gels during training. Make sure your stomach tolerates it. You might deal with some things better than others! – Timo R.
- Don’t eat a mountain of pasta the night before the race- you’ll just give yourself a stomach ache. Eat more, smaller/normal-sized meals throughout the day.
- Take out your earbuds for the final mile to hear the crowd and your name being announced as you cross. Epic moment. – Patti G.
- Enjoy yourself, you only get one first marathon!
- You’re not going to win, so relax and enjoy the journey! You’ve got it! – Cheryl M.
- In the first half, don’t be an idiot; in the second half, don’t be a wimp! – Karen O.
- I always say the longest distance to overcome is the distance between your ears! Enjoy the day! – Janet P.
- Keep your head up and look far away.
- Wear your medal for the rest of the day.
- One of the most important things you can do when preparing for a marathon is to create a training schedule…and then stick to it!
- Have friends or family take pictures of you on course if that’s something important to you.
- Body glide, don’t forget it.
- If you feel a blister, stop at an aid station and add some vaseline or moleskin (if available).
- Break the race into smaller parts. For example, get to the halfway point, then mile 20, then you have 10K to the finish.
- More steps are better.
- Start the race slooooow. Like painfully slow. Settle in and speed up for the second half if you feel good. – Rebekah E
- Make sure you have the splits written on your arm. Trying to remember anything or calculating splits late in the race is difficult.
- If you don’t think you’re going too slow, you’re going too fast. – Lisandro Z.
- Don’t change your race plan just because everything feels good early on. If you feel like you must go faster, then increase speed after about mile 23.
The one tip ALL veterans had if you’re running your first marathon…
Absolutely nothing new on race day!
Running your first marathon is a huge accomplishment—regardless of your reason for doing it! Some run because they love the challenge and sense of accomplishment that comes with completing 26.2 miles. Others because they want to prove something to themselves, improve their lifestyle, or raise money for an official Austin Marathon Gives charity. While the reasons for running your first marathon differ, one thing remains true for everyone: you never forget running your first marathon! By following these tips from our veteran runners, you can set yourself up for success and have an amazing experience doing it.
Just remember to invest in quality gear, create (and stick to) a training schedule, fuel your body properly, and seek out support from family and friends. With proper preparation, running 26.2 miles will be an experience you’ll never forget…in a good way!
Runners often train in areas that are in or near their neighborhoods. This can include sidewalks, parks, or roads close to their homes. However, you should consider training grounds other than roads. When you train on different surfaces, your scenery changes often. The kind of workout you need to do, as well as the amount of energy you need to expend changes as well.
This provides runners with a break from their monotonous routines. If you change the venue you’re training in, it can also provide a boost to your overall fitness levels. Consider running on different surfaces types, such as on grass, through sand, or even on trails. You can also practice running in your swimming pool. Running on different surfaces can help you prepare for a marathon as well.
Running on Different Types of Surfaces
When you run on surfaces like grass or sand, then the pounding experienced by your legs, as you run, is reduced. This can also reduce the risk related to injuries. When you push off on surfaces that are softer, you can better strengthen your muscles. This will later translate to increased speed when you’re running on roads. Here’s how you can adapt your running routine to different surface types:
When you run on grass instead of surfaces like concrete or asphalt, up to 17% less pressure is felt by your feet. This was reported in a study in the Journal of Sports Sciences. So if you’re a runner who is looking for a surface that is forgiving, before heading back to roads, consider grass. You can also reduce the risk of injury while improving your intensity and mileage.
The grass is good for speedwork. Take for example a football field. It’s an ideal place to warm up. Run for around three minutes, then run for two minutes, and then one. Do it with such intensity that you aren’t able to speak more than two words while running. Begin with two sets or three sets, and then move on to five.
Sand has a surface that is unstable. Running on sand can help you strengthen the muscles located in your feet, ankles, hips, legs, as well as your core. Running on sand can also feel like an aerobic challenge. Should you be recovering from an injury or have limited flexibility, then you should avoid running on sand. This is because sand puts more pressure on your legs as well as your calves.
When you run on trails, you’ll need to pay careful attention to your movements. This is because there are rocks, roots, trees, and other obstacles that you need to stay safe from. Due to this, you’ll be able to turn your attention in a direction that is inward. You’ll need to work on maintaining both control as well as balance.
You’ll also need to shift gears constantly, and your leg muscles will experience various different kinds of workouts from just running.
If you want to develop muscle strength, then running in water can be ideal for you. Keep in mind that water is a lot thicker when compared to air, about 800 times thicker. It also provides resistance continuously. Your muscles will have to push through the water as you try to move forward. This helps your muscles build strength.
Running on a new surface type is ideal for runners training for any race distance. If you want a change of scenery, or want to try a new running routine, then consider training on different surfaces.
Doing activities alone may not always yield the desired results. But when you join a group, the same activities may turn out to be more enjoyable, motivating, and productive, and this can be especially true for running.
If you are contemplating participating in the Austin marathon, half marathon, or 5K, training for it solo may not be beneficial. So to extract the maximum benefits out of it, joining a training group is essential.
They help you stick with it
Starting training may be easy but sustaining it over a period requires grit, determination, and above all, inspiration. So when you join a training or running group you automatically start feeling motivated because you see people around you doing the same thing. After all, running is a different ball game. It can be easy to tire out or lose enthusiasm. But when your fellow runners heap praise on you for successfully executing your training, you become supercharged. You’ll be ready to infuse more energy and perseverance into your running. This in turn also inspires others to perform with similar gusto.
Helps give you a purpose
When several people come together, there is a creative exchange of ideas. You learn from others while others learn from you. The group, therefore, helps in fostering a sense of camaraderie and companionship that you slowly begin to cherish. You may also be required to mentor other runners in the group which may give you a sense of purpose.
Helps build relationships
Group training may be the perfect way to give you purpose while also expanding social circles, be they personal or professional. As you grow closer with running mates, you may find yourself sharing joys or venting frustrations about your life in a safe and supportive environment. Running also offers an opportunity to get to know your coworkers and bosses on more than just a work level, which can help make you enjoy coming in every day, or even help in advancing your career.
They help you learn from failures
Failures are a part of any sport, but how you learn from your failures and turn them around to your advantage is the true test of an athlete. If you are alone, you may feel frustrated at those failures. But if you have a great support group, you can take lessons from your failures and convert them into success. Having a group that supports you is important if you want to transcend the barriers and reach the pinnacle of success.
In group training, your team is like a pillar of strength. They guide and encourage you to be your best self. Running together bonds you as a team and cultivates teamwork skills that will last long after the run is finished.