Hints and tips before your first marathon


First up, these thoughts came to me after my first (and so far only) marathon (last year, Frankfurt marathon: 3:43.36). I don’t claim to be an expert in marathon running, nor are the ideas below guaranteed to work for everyone – they are things that I did (and sometimes didn’t do) that I felt resulted in me completing the marathon inside my goal (sub-4 hours) without too much pain (or at least, I survived).

Shortly after completing my marathon I wrote the passage below to a friend , who through injury wasn’t able to run with me in the marathon, but planned to run a marathon at a later date:

Thought I’d write this down, before I forget it (it’s amazing how much I’ve been sub-consciously debriefing/post-analyzing the race and the last 3 months training, especially in my sleep …).

My top 5 tips for running the marathon (they may be different to profi advice, but I think it worked well for me):

1) Enter as many half-marathon races as you feel comfortable doing (4 or 5 as a minimum over a 3 month period)

2) Learn how to drink out of plastic cups (the half marathons work well for this) and how to ‘use’ gels and powerbars to fuel yourself (I could have done better at this, but it worked out ok in the end)

3) Stick to your training plan as much as possible, but don’t panic if you miss a run (however, never let a week go by when you haven’t done at least 10km, unless due to injury – then REST)

4) Do some 30km+ runs (they’re horrible, it feels like they interupt your training, and it feels like once you’ve done one you know what it’s like; more would have been better for me – your doctor was probably right: 4 or more would be good).

5) Have friends on the course who are able to supply you with drinks, gels, etc., if necessary.

All of the above proabably means starting training regime a little sooner than June (if you want to run in October)…

It’s worth it.

I hope these are helpful for anyone considering running their first marathon.

Have you run a marathon?  Do you have any hints & tips?  Do the above work for you?


3 Responses

  1. What a great list! I have just started training for my first marathon, so these will come in handy 🙂

  2. I just finished my first marathon Sunday, Big Sur in Carmel, CA. It was so beautiful, I would definitely recommend it for anyone willing to put up with lots of hills. And I would have to agree with your advice. I just wrote a blog outlining all the things that I learned my first marathon… similar to your advice but with some sarcasm considering I’m still enduring the post-marathon aftermath.

  3. […] My last blog post on running was “Hints and tips before your first marathon“. […]

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