5 Helpful Tips for Running Your First Marathon

running a marathon for the first time

Helpful Tips – Running A Marathon For The First Time

Deciding to run a marathon is a big deal. Like a really big deal. Did you know that less than 1% of the population has completed a marathon? That’s right! And you are about to be one of them!

Running a marathon is no joke. It is a monumental feat that deserves to be celebrated and revered.

Guess what’s scarier than running a marathon? Running a marathon for the first time.

Running a marathon is definitely impressive, but if you decide to take the plunge and run a marathon, you need to make sure that you are prepared mentally and physically.

Running your first marathon is very challenging. When I decided to run my first marathon, I was excited but also nervous that I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Crossing the marathon finish line for the first time was the greatest feeling in the world.

If you prepare properly, you should have no problem feeling confident and ready to crush the marathon on race day.

If it were easy, everyone would do it. And that’s why everyone doesn’t do it because it really is something special.

Here are 5 of my tips for running your very first marathon!

5 Helpful Tips for Running Your First Marathon

Be prepared

The most important thing to do when you are preparing for your first marathon is to be prepared.

There are many things that need to be thought out in advance of running your first marathon: Picking out a race day outfit, knowing what the racecourse is like and whether there will be hills, putting together hydration and fueling strategies for race day, etc.

The best thing to do when running your first marathon is to plan out each of these things in advance so that you are prepared on race day.

Related: How to Know If You’re Ready for the Marathon Distance

Have A Good Training Plan

Similar to the first tip, it is crucial that you have a training plan to prepare yourself for race day.

A marathon is a long and difficult race that takes weeks and weeks of preparation. Make sure that you have a good customized training plan or work with a running coach to create a training plan just for you.

A good training plan will consist of establishing a running base, gradually building up your long runs and overall mileage, and tapering a few weeks before race day.

Learn How to Fuel and Hydrate Properly

Another important tip to prepare you for your first marathon is to learn how to fuel and hydrate properly.

Running a marathon required very strategic thought when it comes to both hydration and fueling.

You want to be sure that you are staying hydrated during the race, but also be careful not to over-hydrate (who knew that was a thing?!).

You also should test out fuel options ahead of the race during your training to ensure that you find a fueling strategy that works for you.

The last thing you want is to try something new on race day, and run into issues.

Prepare For What You Will Do If You Hit “The Wall”

During long races like marathons, some runners will experience something called hitting “the wall”.

What is hitting “the wall”? Hitting the wall happens when you deplete your stored glycogen and become overcome by fatigue and exhaustion.

Hitting the wall can be very difficult both physically and mentally.

It is common for it to happen when you are at the end of a marathon (on around 20+ miles into the race).

To avoid hitting the wall, you should ensure that you have adequate carbohydrates in your fueling. As I mentioned, previously, you should practice this in advance.

If you do end up hitting the wall, I recommend working on excercises to build your mental strength. Focus on positive thinking and imagine yourself getting through it successfully.

Related: Follow This Advice to Crush Your First Half Marathon

Aim For A Target Pace Throughout The Race

Another thing that you can do to prepare for your first half marathon is to aim for a target pace throughout the race.

Know what your marathon pace is and try to stick to it consistently.

Don’t go out too fast and burn yourself out early on. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

The goal is to stay steady to finish the long race.

I recommend finding a pacer for your target race pace, and sticking with them during the race.

This can really help you to stay on track and also have a supportive group of people to run with and support you throughout the marathon.

Running A Marathon For The First Time

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  1. Although I’ve never run a marathon, I think that practicing clothing, fueling, pre-race fuel, and hydration is so important for any race (although shorter races typically don’t need all of that).

    I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen from people saying they’re getting ready to run their first marathon — how should they hydrate or fuel?

    Hello, didn’t you already practice that? Or maybe you run 20 miles with no fuel — there are people out there doing that, although I just don’t get that.

  2. Figuring out fueling and hydrating has been the biggest help of all to me this year.

  3. Love these tips! Reading this made me excited for anyone getting ready to run their first marathon. I remember before my first one, someone told me that the first one is “fun.” I’m not sure if that was the exact word I’d use, but I know what he meant. Just finishing is a huge accomplishment.

  4. Working with a run coach for my first marathon really helped to elevate a lot of stress – I appreciated having someone else managing my training so I didn’t have to overthink it.

  5. Its so important to be prepared before your first marathon! I felt like I did well with fueling and hydration, and I started nice and slow, so I was able to really enjoy the experience!

  6. Fantastic tips!

    I’m probably not going to take on another 26.2, but if I do… this is where I’m coming to remind myself of how it’s done!

  7. Great tips! It is so easy to worry about finish times the first time, but the goal should be finishing and having a good experience.

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