First Marathon?Here are our 5 Top Tips!
Taking on a marathon for the first time this spring? Here are my top five tips for making your race day as enjoyable as possible:
1.PLAN YOUR RACE DAY
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the start line. Know where your bag drop is and how long it will take you to get from there to your start pen. For big races, like the London Marathon, there are three different starts. Make sure you know where you need to be to avoid a stressful start to your race.
2.DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY
You’ve been tapering for a couple of weeks and your legs probably feel like loaded springs. You’ll be desperate to get out there and show the world what you can do after a long, hard training block. You’ll be feeling physically awesome as the gun goes and with the excitement of having all the crowds around you, it would be easy to set off a lot faster than you had planned. DON’T! It’s a long race and you need to make sure you’re pacing yourself. Use your watch to make sure you’re not going too fast in the first 10km. Hold yourself back – it’s hard to do but you’ll appreciate it in the long term.
3. AVOID THE ENERGY DRINKS AND GELS BEING HANDED OUT AT THE SIDE OF THE COURSE
Unless it’s the brand you have been using during training, don’t try anything new on the day of the race.
4. RUN TO THE CONDITIONS AND MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS ACCORDINGLY
Last year was the hottest London Marathon on record after one of the harshest winters in recent history. Make sure you acknowledge the conditions and adjust your race plan accordingly. If it’s very hot, you may not be able to run as fast as you would like and may need to consider taking on more water. If there’s a fierce headwind for significant proportions of the course, there’s very little you can do but adjust your expectations. Even if you finish a little slower that you’d hoped, you’re still a superhero for completing the marathon distance.
5. ENJOY IT
For many, running the marathon is a once in a lifetime experience. For others, running their first marathon is the start of a lifelong love affair with the distance. But either way, no one can run their first marathon again so take some time to enjoy yourself. Remind yourself when it gets tough what a privilege it is to be able to participate in such an iconic event. Remember the charity you’re running for and how much your hard work means to them. Encourage others around you in the field – it will give you and them a much-needed boost. And if all else fails, fake a smile. It WILL make you feel better.