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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.

Training

  • 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.

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

  • 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).

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!

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!

Places to Train in Austin

Austin will spoil you with a slew of running options offering excellent opportunities for fitness enthusiasts, runners, and marathoners to explore their skills. This article will walk you through some of those fascinating terrains.

Four excellent running places in Austin

There are plenty of them. But we have zeroed in on a handful that are known to provide a vivid running experience.

1. Lady Bird Lake Trail

Austin has something to offer to every runner from pro down to a rookie. So if you are a newbie, you have the 3.2-mile loop between the South First Bridge and the Mopac Bridge to explore. Marked by two water stops, this loop is short and easy to navigate. However, this area also boasts of longer trails that are seven miles and 10 miles respectively which are meant for the more experienced runners.

2. McKinney Falls State Park

Located well within the city limits, this is one of the best places to train in Austin. This park has breathtaking scenery and waterfalls, and is home to two prominent running trails. These winding trails not only stretch for miles, but they also have elevations that rise to more than several hundred feet. This area is perfect for those of you who are contemplating participating in the Austin Marathon. But also, if running is your passion or a stress buster, this place is a must-visit.

3. Barton Creek Greenbelt

Located in the heart of the city, this place is inundated by miles of trees, along with various waterfalls, and limestone cliffs. Starting from Zilker Park, this trail provides a good opportunity for runners to test their skills. From navigating around uneven terrain to conquering the Hill of Life at the end of the trail.  The trail is known as the seventh-best running trail in Austin.

4. Travis Heights

Some neighborhoods are also great places for training in Austin, like Travis Heights. It is easier to run in neighborhoods as you can continue doing it regularly without any limit. Travis Heights is a quiet residential neighborhood dotted with hills that offer peace, and the freedom to explore your running prowess to the fullest.

Conclusion

With a wide variety of running trails, Austin is truly a runner’s paradise. A place where you can realize your marathon dreams, amp up your fitness regimen, or simply feel the magic of tearing through the force of the wind for the fun of it. 

5 Reasons It’s Important to Add Running Variety to Your Training

Adding running variety to your training is critical to your growth as a runner

Everyone’s fitness goals vary, but one thing that remains common in all forms of training is the goal to accomplish growth. Most beginner runners train with the same routine every day. Even running the same route gets monotonous. This is exactly why adding running variety can tackle that boredom and help you become a better runner in the process. Below are five reasons why you should add running variety to your training! Pro tip: when building your training plan, add in variations of these 9 different types of runs.

Build endurance

If you’re running the same course every day at the same speed there is little to no chance for growth. It will keep you fit, but it won’t help you grow. Incorporating different types of running and using different routes will slowly build your endurance. You’ll work and strengthen different muscles which will help with your ability to run for longer periods of time. Use these 10 healthy recipes for busy runners to provide your body with the fuel it needs to build endurance.

Increase muscle definition

Keeping true to your everyday training is certainly good. But the problem arises when you hit a plateau with your training and there are no visible changes in your body. This can be disheartening for some. Runners notice an increase in the definition of their leg muscles when adding high-intensity sprints to their training. Follow these 7 tips to increase your speed when you add speed training.

Reduce fatigue and injuries

When we run, our muscles experience fatigue. Runners can tackle fatigue or avoid cramps by simply changing their running type. If you run the same route all the time you’ll use the exact same set of muscles. You won’t activate other muscle groups. When the time comes to use muscle groups that haven’t been worked your chances for injury increase. If you experience fatigue that might be a sign you need to take a day off from running.

Keep it interesting

Boredom is something that can make us dislike even things we like. Running is no exception. When you add running variety there is a kind of excitement associated with it. You find yourself looking forward to the run. You might explore a new route, visit a different part of your city, or run past an amazing mural.

Build a well-rounded plan

Incorporating running variety into your training program ensures every day presents something different. Your body won’t know what to expect and that is exactly what makes variety bear fruit. Different types of runs have varying effects on our body and when combined, our bodies evolve as a whole instead of targeting a single part.

Well, now you know the benefits of adding running variety to your training. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at these 9 types of runs you can include in your routine. Once you’ve planned that out, it’s time to get running!

Best Brunch In Austin

The best way to fuel your body after a long run is with some good old-fashioned carbohydrates and protein. And what better meal than brunch at one of Austin’s fabulous restaurants?

If you’re feeling peckish during the Austin Marathon festivities, don’t worry! There are plenty of nearby places that will satisfyingly fill up those empty stomachs. From quick tacos and benedicts to pancakes and lattes, our staff has some great options for you to enjoy all around Austin. 

 

Cisco’s

1511 E 6th St.
Austin, TX 78702

The migas plate at Cisco’s is a fantastic go-to. No frills, quick, inexpensive, and absolutely delicious. Cisco’s has been a staple of East Austin for over 6 decades. In fact, it has been said that many of the deals made in Texas government occurred in the back room of Cisco’s over coffee, biscuits, migas, and huevos rancheros.

 

 

Cafe No Se

1603 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704

The Cowboy Breakfast is a spectacular and hearty spin on a full English breakfast (the cilantro butter, YUM). For a sweeter tooth, you can’t go wrong with their gluten-free pancakes, either. 

 

 

 

True Food

222 West Ave
Suite HR100
Austin, TX 78701

Delicious, fresh, clean food that will make you feel as good as it tastes! The gluten-free banana pancakes are pretty mind-blowing. True Food aims to deliver healthy, clean, locally sourced food and honestly, they deliver!

 

 

 

Phoebe’s Diner

533 W Oltorf St. Austin, TX 78704
408 W 11th St. Austin, TX 78701

The fluffy buttermilk biscuits in Phoebe’s Benedict will draw you in but it’s the killer hashbrown casserole that will keep you coming back to Phoebe’s. Also recommended: their cornbread muffins. Delish!

 

 

 

 

Manana

1603 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704

Located at the gorgeous South Congress Hotel, Mañana has incredible coffee drinks to give you that extra pep you’re looking for. The Chocolate Fronks Milk Latte or the Nitro Cold Brew is the way to go. Why not also treat yourself to a vegan banana snickerdoodle while you’re at it. 

 

 

 

Hank’s

5811 Berkman Dr
Unit 100
Austin, TX 78723

You know what they say; If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Keep it simple, classic, and delicious with Hank’s Breakfast: 2 eggs, bacon or sausage, breakfast potatoes, sourdough toast & jam.

 

 

 

Snooze 

1700 South LamarAustin, TX 78704
1109 East 5th StAustin, TX 78702
3800 North LamarAustin, TX 78756

Treat yourself to their signature pancake flight: Pineapple Upside Down, Blueberry Danish & Sweet Potato pancakes. Better yet, choose your own flavors! You can’t go wrong with pancakes at Snooze. 

 

 

 

Valentina’s

11500 Menchaca Road
Austin, Texas 78748

The Real Deal Holyfield breakfast taco will change your breakfast game forever. A warm and fluffy tortilla gets piled with smoked brisket, bacon, a fried egg, tomato-serrano salsa, beans, and potatoes. Don’t be surprised if no other breakfast taco can live up to this bad boy.