7 Tips for Running Your First Marathon
Last Sunday Dawn and I ran the San Antonio Marathon and Half Marathon! Dawn did a great job running her second half marathon. I am so proud of her. She did fantastic! I completed my first full marathon. You can read more about the details of my marathon at this site. The race was harder than I expected, but I did it! I ran the race 8 months after having my second child. If you have ever wanted to complete 26.2 as a life goal, you can do it!
Here are 7 tips I learned from my marathon training:
1. Train with a group. When I got up to 10 miles in my training I found it difficult to create long routes from my house with water stops. It also gets lonely when you run for more than 2 hours by yourself. I joined a training group at my local Fleet Feet store that ran on Sunday mornings at 6:00 a.m. They had a marked route and water stations every 2 miles. I also loved the community and encouragement of the runners in the group. You can check to see if you have a USA Fit or Team in Training group near you. You can also ask your local running store if they have training group.
2. Learn how to hydrate properly. I once trained for a half marathon and didn’t drink enough water or eat anything to refuel. For water you can carry a water bottle in your hand or use a water belt. After about an hour of running you may feel hungry. To refuel try different types of GU’s, jelly beans, or chomp blocks while training. I really like the GU gels. The other gel brands don’t taste good to me.
3. Have family and friends that will keep you motivated. My friends and I kept a running blog together to detail out our struggles and triumphs. Follow other runners on Twitter. Make sure your spouse is on board to encourage you.
4. Spend money on a good pair of socks. One book I read said its like buying popcorn at a movie theater. Just spend the money and then don’t think about it again. A good pair of socks will save your feet from getting raw. I LOVE my balega socks!
5. Make time in your schedule. Amelia’s husband, Jon, said that training becomes like a part time job. It is true! My husband would have to take off early from work to watch the kids so I could my mid-week long runs in. My longest run took over 4 hours to get done. The long runs will take a chunk out of your weekend.
6. Remember why you are running a marathon. At some point while you are running you are going to ask yourself why you are doing this to yourself. You need to have an answer ready or you will talk yourself into a funk while running. My answers to the question were “One, I signed up, because I believed I can do this. Two, I wanted to be able to tell people that I ran a marathon 8 months after having a baby, before I turned 30 in 2 months.” I know its pride, but it kept me motivated!
7. Don’t worry about your time on your first marathon. Almost every runner told me this advice and I didn’t understand it until after I ran my race. At some point in my run I didn’t care about my time, but to finish in one piece. I did have fun greeting my friends and family cheering me on along the way! I am glad I added a few minutes to my time to enjoy my race.
Have you ever ran a marathon? Would you ever want to run one? What about a Half Marathon?