In the New York City Marathon, there was a 40+ year gap of an American woman winning the race, that is, until 2017. Watching Shalane Flanagan cross that finish line this past November to win for American Women everywhere, was amazing. Obviously she wasn’t running her first marathon, however her win is proof of what hard work, dedication, and refusing to quit can do. Ready to crush your first marathon?
I mean, you’ve already run a half marathon, you’re ready to take that next step, but you’re not quite sure how to really get started. Well, you’re in the right place. Let’s get rolling on these steps because these are the basics that will get you running towards your goal of finishing your first marathon.
9 Tips That Will Make You Crush Your First Marathon
- Choose a local race, or as close to local as possible for your first marathon. Traveling causes your body to do weird things. You get tired from the stress of traveling, plus not having your routine meals can really do a number on your body!
- Set 2 goals for the race.
- Time Goal (I recommend you base it off of your half)
- Fun Goal – this could be anything from “I will not take a bathroom break until mile 17” or “I will make 2 new running friends at this race”. I know you think I’m being ridiculous and while that is normally true, this time I’m serious. Having a fun goal for yourself makes the day not so stinking serious!
- Number 3 is a big one so pay attention closely. When choosing your clothes for training and for the race, quality over quantity, always. And, side note- wash your clothes after each and every training session. You’d be amazed at how many people do not wash their workout clothes after training. If you are one of those folks… Stop that right now, your clothes will gather bacteria and… I’m not going to go there. Don’t be offended, just wash your dang clothes. Anyway, train in your clothes for a few of your long runs to make sure they aren’t going to rub your skin raw somewhere. I routinely train in Just Strong Clothing and their clothing is absolutely phenomenal. My full review on their clothing is found here. When you decide to grab some Just Strong Clothing, you can also snag a nice discount using code AGEORGE10 at checkout!
- Find a good training plan. Even better, hire a running Coach, I am a certified running and if you’re interested in a customized marathon training plan, you can contact me here for pricing. Be very cautious of just hopping on Pinterest and downloading a training plan as these are not tailored to your needs and 26.2 is way different than running a 5k!
- Don’t think that since you ran a half marathon you will be ready for a full marathon a few weeks later. It simply doesn’t work that way. Along that same line, don’t take your training plan for your half and just double it, the mileage on this increases in intensity as it goes up. It’s too far and you don’t want to set yourself up for discouragement or injury!
- Give your body at least two weeks to repair itself from your half marathon before going into your marathon training. Why? A race is different than training, as a result, our nerves are on edge, we’re ‘in the zone’ and races will take a bigger toll on your body. Rest is just as important as your training. This doesn’t mean to become a couch potato, go for easy runs or walks, hop in the pool with some girlfriends and swim or do some light weight training. Easy to moderate workouts allowing that body to recover.
- Let’s talk shoes. Do not buy new shoes right before the race. This may seem like a no brainer but you’d be amazed at how many people I’ve come across that will buy new shoes right before a race. Yikes! If you think that your shoes will be too worn out before race day, go ahead and grab some new shoes at least a month to six weeks before the race to give you a chance to break them in. Not sure what shoes to get? I’ve been running for years and have been through the different brands and styles. I love the Reebok Harmony Road. I have the Reebok Harmony right now, and I absolutely love them. They’re lightweight, and they have the cushion you will need to be able to make those long miles.
- Never, ever forget water. You need it no matter what; however, carrying water for that far is tough. Thankfully a brilliant inventor came up with this little jewel. It carries your water for you and keeps your hands free. Grab one on Amazon by clicking the pic! Keep in mind that you wouldn’t necessarily need to have your belt on race day and that’s because the race will have aid stations typically about every 1.5 miles.
Pro Tip- if a running belt isn’t your most favorite of ideas, which I totally get, I’ll be honest, I don’t run with one, BUT I know of lots of folks and have had running clients that do, that’s why I recommend that product. Here’s what I do on my long runs. I scope out my run path, and I actually drive around and place water bottles out along that path. Sort of like my own aid stations. That way I don’t have to carry them and I know exactly where my water will be. Don’t forget to go pick up your water bottles after your run! Never litter. Don’t be like that.
9. Keep a good attitude. The training process is long and it is hard but it is worth it. You’ll have those days where you’ll want to quit and will seriously consider it. Don’t quit. Stay the course, you CAN do this.
Gee- la weez that was a lot of info wasn’t it?
Don’t stress! I’ll break it down for you really quickly.
Remember, there’s more to this than taking your training that you did for your first half marathon and doubling it. You’re quite literally running twice as far as you have ever raced before. This means your body is going to need time to adjust and build up to that kind of distance!
Running a marathon is a huge deal and take a lot of work! Keep a good attitude and don’t compare yourself to veteran marathoners who run many marathons a year. Focus on you and your training and you will be just fine.
I want to reiterate one more time the importance of good clothing and good shoes for a marathon. The last thing you want is to have raw places rubbed on your skin because your clothes were not of high quality and softness. I’ve been there and done that, and it is not a good time nursing those raw places that are in the most inconvenient of places. You will love Just Strong Clothing with your discount (AGEORGE10) and the Reebok Harmony Road!
Proper fueling for your races is super important as well, so make sure that you find good meals that will properly fuel you for your race! If you’d like, I’ll send you my top three carb loading meals for when I run a race. You can tweak to your personal dietary needs!
Here’s the bottom line, sister. You can do this, but it will take hard work and dedication; once you’ve made your decision to do it, go for it. Don’t look back and question your decision, run free and cross that finish line with confidence. Whether it’s a sub four hour marathon or a 5+ hour marathon, you’ve finished and obtained your goal.
And that, sister, is a win!
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