Female runner excitedly runs towards the finish line with her hands in the air. Text on design reads Advice for Running Your First Marathon. Read more at https://youraustinmarathon.com/running-your-first-marathon/

Tips and Advice for Running Your First Marathon

If you’re running your first marathon, this advice is for you!

Runners register, train for months, and run their first marathon for countless reasons. Some 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! It’s an experience you won’t forget or replace.

With many on social media telling us they’re training for their first 26.2-miler, we asked veterans for their advice. We checked in with them on Facebook and they delivered. All the tips might not work for you, but most will. 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.

Training

  • Trust your training.
  • When running up and down hills, shorten your stride. Study the maps. Run the tangents. – Phillip B. 
  • 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.

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.
  • 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 – you’ll just give yourself a stomach ache. Eat more, smaller/normal-sized meals throughout the day.

Mental toughness

  • 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.

Planning

  • 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).

Race day

  • 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!