Earlier this week, one of the members of our Facebook “Tribe” shared some of his thoughts after completing his first marathon recently.
I loved his post, and asked him if I could share it here, because I think there are plenty of valuable takeaways for anyone running their first half or full marathon.
So, here are Stephen’s takeaways after his first foray into the land of 26.2.
I have had 1 week to reflect on my first marathon. I thought I would share some things that I learned. These are in no particular order.
1. Trust your training plan. There are 1001 different beginner plans out there. Pick one and stick to it. I think any of them will succeed in getting you through your first.
2. I am still a new runner and was experimenting with finding the right shoes. Have the ones you are going to run the marathon in picked out no later than a month before. (great advise from my coach)
3. If you have a sensitive stomach make sure you have your nutrition worked out and a way to carry enough. I was going to use mostly real food but soon discovered I couldn’t carry enough unless I used another fanny pack. I went with GU’s instead. I had not trained with them to much and luckily didn’t have any issues.
4. I booked a hotel that was about a mile away from the race start/finish. This worked out great as it forced me to walk back. I was able to cool down properly and I think prevent a bunch of soreness.
5. I decided to run with my two bottle Nathan hydration belt. My thought was since we were running with the half marathon runners (there were a ton) that the aid stations would be congested. For me this worked out perfect. Most of the aid stations were OK but there were a few that were clogged. I was able to sail right through those.
6.If your going out of town to run, make sure there is a place to eat breakfast. I discovered when I got to my hotel that room service closed at 11 and didn’t start again until 7. There were no restuarants open at that time either. I found a Quick Mart that sold energy bars and fresh fruit so I bought some things to eat pre-race. At a very high price I might add.
7. Extra time and hotel booking. I booked my hotel for an extra night just in case I was in no shape to drive. After a couple hours of rest I felt good enough to drive. The hotel refunded me the extra day and home bound I went. I think just having the option to stay took a bunch of stress off of me.
8. Throw away clothes. I’m sure you have heard this one before, but it is worth mentioning. It was so nice being warm before the race and just pitching them a couple minutes before the start.
9. Learn to feel your pace. My gps did not work to good in the city. It was jumping from 9:30-14:10 minutes per mile every couple of seconds. I knew to run slower than goal pace for the first few miles and thanks to my training I knew what a 10:00 minute mile should feel like.
Honestly guys, I’m pretty sure I’ve learned almost all of these lessons the hard way.
Hopefully, you won’t make many (or any) of these same mistakes for your first, or next, big race.
Thanks to Stephen for being willing to share his takeaways with our tribe, and for allowing me to share them here with you.
If you’re not a member of our tribe/Facebook group yet, what are you waiting for?
Our group, and many like it, are great places for runners of all levels, abilities, and experiences to connect and help each other reach their goals. That, and I’m pretty sure everyone in the group really loves nerding out about anything to do with running.
If you’d like to join the tribe, click here.
(Pretty sure it says you have to “request to join” but don’t worry. We aren’t exclusive. We welcome anyone that identifies as a runner with open arms!)
If You’ve Run a Marathon Before, What Things Would You Add to Stephen’s List to Help First-Timers Prep for Their Race?
And If You’re A First Timer, What Stands Out to You From Stephen’s List (Or the Additional Items in the Comments)?