10 Tips for Your First Marathon

Some random thoughts that are rolling around in my head right now:

  1. Your nutrition and hydration plan should begin two days before the race.  In other words, eat quality food and drink your water!
  2. Have a game plan for the expo, if it’s a big one.  If you are going to it late in the day before your race, try to just hit the highlights.  You don’t want to be on your feet all day.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes to the expo.  I’m sure your boots are awesome but this isn’t the day for them.
  4. Have a solid fueling plan for race day.  Write it down on your arm if you have to!  I have a terrible time remembering to fuel so I will write down the miles that I need to do so and then I stick to the plan!
  5. Wear your name on your bib or shirt.  Sharpies and electrical tape work wonders!  Having people call your name can be a big boost – just don’t forget that you’ve done that and then wonder how people know you (BT, DT)
  6. Don’t get too caught up in your time goals.  Try to find something every mile that makes you smile.  Read the signs, high five the kids (don’t go crazy and tire yourself out, though!), give the thumbs up when you’re too tired to wave.
  7. Thank the volunteers.  I try to holler out a thank you at each water stop, even if I don’t stop.  We wouldn’t be running without them!
  8. Consider running a mile or two without music, especially near known cheer stops.
  9. If you’re struggling and just can’t smile for the cameras, consider making a funny face or doing something goofy. I’ve been known to try jumping even though I could only clear about an inch and also pretending to be an airplane.
  10. Don’t look down at your Garmin at the finish (or you’ll have a picture of the top of your head). Keep walking when you’re done.  Don’t stop right on the mat, walk to clear the chute.

Most important, try to take it all in!  You’ll never run your first marathon again so try to savor every moment, even the tough ones.

What tips would you add?

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