I’ve been opining greatly about my obligatory “I Ran a Marathon” post. For someone who has only been running for one year, this is a major accomplishment for me. I don’t know really what to say. I don’t want to give you a rundown of the day, but I will mention it was extremely humid, extremely crowded, and extremely gratifying to see such a large number of people come together for one goal: to run 26.2 miles.
10 Tips for Running a Marathon:
1. Avoid potholes and uneven ground
I put this first because this really could apply to any distance. Check out the course (if you have a chance) before the day of the race. Road races will inevitability have some hazards like pot holes, crevices, etc…while trail runs have roots, rocks and other obstacles. Miscalculating a step could mean agonizing mileage ahead.
2. Find a friend or running buddy on the course
Pace groups are great, but if you’re struggling and someone is limping along just as much as you are, it’s ok to run along with them. You’ll provide support for each other, and before you know it, the 25 mile-marker will be there!
3. Train more.
Even if it’s a 10 mile run, I’ve found more success in running more often rather than increasing my distance. Endurance and muscle memory will get you a long way. Also, go outside when it’s windy, raining, humid, hot and cold. You can never fully anticipate race day conditions.
4. Never give up – unless you know your health is in jeopardy.
Walking is totally acceptable. If you feel yourself slowing down, go with the flow. In the end, you’ve trained so hard that tapping out at mile 23 will drive you nuts. I know this – I walked/shuffled the last eight miles, and I don’t regret it either. Remember, less than 1 percent of the population will run a marathon this year.
5. Gels and snacks are your best friend
I love food, but race day jitters make my appetite nonexistent. I didn’t really recognize the benefits of gels and snacks until I start running longer distances. I prefer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (no crust) and CarbBoom! gels because they are easier to swallow than other brands I’ve tried. Find what works for you, and don’t forget to drink water!
6. Don’t drink the beer on the course
I appreciate whoever was giving out Colt 45s on the course, but I’m unlikely to drink it after 15 miles of running in 90% humidity. However, I did get a laugh out of it.
7. Enjoy the scenery; don’t worry about your goal time.
Running fast is great, but the experience and the sights will last a lifetime. Slow down that extra couple seconds to take a look at the flowers, the houses, the trees on the route. Take in the other runners and feel the excitement. Don’t worry about trying to get under 4 hours or 5 hours or whatever your goal time is. I guarantee you’ll talk about signing up for your next marathon as soon as you’re done with this one.
8. Cheer for other runners!
This point go along with #7. Your fellow race participants are feeling just like you, and no matter what place you are in the pack, everyone needs a little encouragement! You’re all winning in the end!
9. Pick a fantastic post-race meal.
Not going to lie, I thought about this for months. You’re going to burn 2000+ calories during this endeavor. Live it up and eat that whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s if you want! You earned it!
10. Party on, Garth.
You did it! Now grab a banana and chocolate milk, throw your medal around your neck, and do a happy dance!