How to Prepare for your First Marathon

For some people, running is not only about great exercise and getting into shape, but about building the endurance needed to run a marathon. Once you have your endurance and have signed up for that first race, there are still a few things you need to do to help you cross the finish line.

Prepare your Family

In the weeks before your first marathon, you are likely to start thinking about a lot of “what ifs” that may happen. Let your family know that you are about to run your first marathon and are focusing on that. This will keep them from feeling left out if you seem quiet and reflective.

Make your Expectations Realistic

While it would be great to think that your first marathon will result in a win that may not be realistic. If you believe you will win and don’t, you may lose confidence and feel like giving up running altogether. Remember that even if you are the strongest runner, there are many variables that will affect how you finish.

The weather could be terrible, you may get cramps, and the route could be one that truly tests you. Don’t put all of your expectations on winning. Instead, plan on finishing the race – upright and not ill. Your first race should just be about finishing and not about beating a clock.

Reduce your Training

As your race day approaches, reduce your distance training. This may not make sense, but you want to run your race on fresh legs. After not going your full distances, you will be ready to take off that morning.

Don’t Try Anything New that Morning

The best advice to remember is to keep it simple. You know what your body needs – the same things you’ve done for the last several months as you trained. Your anxiety about the race may cause you to start over-thinking everything. Don’t buy new shoes, don’t eat something new that’s supposed to give you more strength, don’t sleep more than usual. All you need to do is keep doing exactly what you have been doing. Keep everything simple.

Make a List

Your nerves will be humming and even though you may believe you won’t forget anything, a list will make sure you don’t. Lay out your clothes the night before and check your list. You don’t want to get to the starting line and realize you forgot your running shoes. Believe us this has happened more times than you can imagine. Check your list!

Check out the Course

Even though you don’t need to remember the course, it will ease your nerves to have an idea of where you will be running. You will know where the aid stations are and where each turn is. You will be following hundreds of other runners, so you don’t need to know the exact course before, but just knowing a little about the course can ease your nerves on the big morning.

Get there Early

You may think that relaxing at home until the last possible minute would be the best way to start your day, but the reality is much different. What if you hit traffic on the way or there’s no parking and you have to search for a spot?  You will be stressed out before the race even starts. Do yourself a favor and get there early.

Follow these easy tips and enjoy your first marathon!