Tips and Advice for Running Your First Marathon
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!