10 more tips for your first marathon

I gave ten tips last week for those of you who are training for (or considering) your first marathon. Now I’m back again with another ten tips that I’ve learned from training for my first marathon (and being seven weeks away from my second)!

Stock up on your preferred fuel

I almost made this mistake during this training cycle. I had ordered a box of GU gels before the Twin Cities Marathon but I noticed this weekend it was getting low. Knowing how many I’d need to get through the rest of training and the race, I was going to run out if I didn’t order more.

Once you know what fuel you (and your body) prefer, make sure you have enough. You might be able to get more at the race expo (GU does a booth at the Eau Claire Marathon and you can bet I’ll be picking some up) but don’t count on it!

Rotate your shoes

I didn’t rotate my shoes for my first couple of halfs. But now that I’ve learned about shoe rotating, I’ll never go back. It’s as simple as switching between shoes every run and giving them a chance to rest. Which is especially important during marathon training when you are running five or six days during the week.

Practice running without music

My headphones died at about mile 23 of the Twin Cities Marathon and I was not prepared for that. I’ve always had something going in my headphones, whether music, a podcast or audiobook and it was rough going in pretty much silence (because of the rain the crowds weren’t giving out that much energy). So be prepared to be in the toughest part of the race and not have your playlist.

Stretch out with yoga

When training for the Twin Cities Marathon, I used yoga as my rest day activity and now I’m also adding in post-run a couple of times a week. It’s a great way to get in some movement and stretching without having to be intense. And you don’t even have to leave your house, check out some of my favorite Youtube videos!

Focus on finishing over a time goal

If you decide to have a time goal, don’t make that your A goal. You should be focused on making it to the finish line uninjured over pushing yourself to run a new distance at a fast pace. Even for my second marathon,  I have an A and B goal. My A goal is to finish under 5 hours (with my previous marathon time of 5:02:58 it’s very much in reach) and my B goal is a stretch of a 4:45 finish time.

Run your long runs slow

Your long runs aren’t about running them at race pace, they are about time on your feet. You’ll only end up injuring yourself if you run every single run at race pace due to the cumulative mileage during the race. I try to go by Hal HIgdon’s recommendation of 60-90+ seconds slower than race pace (which is something I have problems with too).

Take the taper seriously

You might be feeling anxious or full of energy since you aren’t running as much during the taper. You might even start feeling slight twinges in your body but you are fine. Take the time to rest and recover from the hardest part of your training so you can be awesome on race day. A great episode to listen to about tapering is episode 61 of the BibRave Podcast: Tales from the Taper.

Find out what you want on race day from others

Do you want people along the course so you can see them at specific points or is it more motivating to know that you have people at the finish line for you. Is there a certain food or clothing you’ll want to have when you finish (that you don’t want to use a bag drop-off for)? And this reminds me, I’ve got to figure out with Mike where he’ll be along the course for the Eau Claire Marathon.

Spend some time doing pace runs

I love pace runs, I need that time going a little bit faster during the week. It’s just motivating to know that after those long, slow runs that I still have speed over a distance. Which is why I’ve been picking plans that includes race pace runs!

Tell your friends and family

Don’t go silently into marathon training, let everyone know that you can! Even if they don’t quite understand what goes into marathon training, they can be there to offer encouragement (and maybe food).

What did you learn from running a marathon? Share it in the comments!