Whats the one thing you wish you'd known before your first marathon...

Share your wisdom with us first-timers!

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14/03/2008 at 14:11

Hi everyone,

 Looking at another thread, I saw a great comment from someone that you should think about the 20 mile mark of the marathon as the 'half-way' point in the marathon - so get to 20 miles and then start the second half of the run!

As a marathon first-timer (FLM08) its so useful to see some advice from experienced marathoners.  I bet that there are a lot of other people on these forums that have knowledge of running marathons that you can't learn about till you've actually run the distance. so...

 What one piece of advice would you offer to a marathon first-timer? Whats the one thing that you wish you'd known for running a marathon, that you have learnt through experience?

14/03/2008 at 14:29

Most importantly ...

Have a number of goals from 'best I could ever hope for' to 'gone pear shaped'. Adjust you aims and expectations as the race goes on. If you only have one aim then you may be badly disappointed. For all that training, time and effort you should be able to take many positives away. 

on a practical note

1) cut your toe nails one week before hand (very serious)

2) carry lucozade pouch lids and water bottle lids as they are provided already open

3)  boys should tape up their nipples.

4) smile and enjoy it

14/03/2008 at 14:32
That it's OK to be glad when it's over
14/03/2008 at 15:02
Make your main target to enjoy it, then start thinking of target times for future marathons - you will be hooked!!!
14/03/2008 at 15:43

Re the vaseline- I put some on my forehead to stop the sweat running into my eyes and it worked really well until on the embankment I poured a little water onto my head to cool off as I often do, and it just washed pure salt into my eyes-agony!

 Also I untucked my vest from my shorts at one point-couldn't get it back in the way I wanted it for miles.

The tiniest thing that would be inconvenient in a 10k becomes a major problem at marathon distance. Everything is magnified.

14/03/2008 at 15:49

Be prepared to cry at the end. In front of all your hard as nails mates.

If you wear a bum bag, make sure it doesn't wear a large hole through the skin in the small of your back. It stings a bit afterwards.

Don't EVER go for a time on your first go. Very important.

Get to the start early and enjoy the moment.

14/03/2008 at 15:49

Well not everything is magnified!, but definitely on that area yes!   

14/03/2008 at 16:13
I had a 50p piece in the key pocket at the back of my shorts (can't remember why).

I was left with a 50p shaped abrasion.

Grease everything. Bodyglide is better than vaseline, but you can top up as you go round from the nice ladies with handfuls of vaseline held out.
14/03/2008 at 16:15
Bodyglide - seconded. Vaseline ain't great, but still useful!
14/03/2008 at 17:26

Enjoy it! Not just the Big Day but the training and the hard work and effort, be proud of yourself.

Be organised - plan everything, think about what energy drinks/gel you will use (poss do your last LSR as a pre-race 'dress rehearsal'), what you will wear (in cold and hot conditions), have you packed safety pins etc, pre race transport, anyone to look after a warm top for the end etc!!! The minor details can make a difference.

Plan what pace you set out at and STICK TO IT!!!! Re-assess that if needed and do that fairly early (I knew after 3 miles last year that I needed to slow down just a teeny bit, only 5 secs per mile but it made a difference) Have three time goals in mind, it's impossible to know what will happen on the day.

I did have time in mind for my first attempt last year and I got within 2 minutes of that time so it can work, even on your first marathon. Granted though I had done a lot of training.

Believe you can do it, I think this matters more in the marathon than for shorter distances, you have to have that mental strength in the last 6 miles no matter how fast you go or how much training you have done that you can continue at that pace until the end.

Be prepared to laugh and cry and feel elated and it all to feel slightly surreal afterwards.

Be prepared to feel knackered the week after!!!

Be prepared to feel a bit flat the week after that!

And practise going down the stairs backwords!

14/03/2008 at 17:35
or even backwards - sorry
14/03/2008 at 17:41

Ive only done the one ( FLM 07 ) but check the weather forcast . Theres nought you can do about it but the mental understanding of knowing if your going to be running in any extremes might make some of those " what the fcuk am i doing here" a little easier to deal with , and if i may add a second its how brilliant the massive crowd are every foot of the way but  i found it  a bit over whelming in places    ( tower bridge  ) all i can say is take it all in and enjoy every last second of it and keep the memories for they are truly special  

14/03/2008 at 18:04
AnnajoAs Sue C says, plan and prepare meticulously for marathon day-- e.g. what time will I get up, what am I going to wear, when will I have breakfast, what will I have for breakfast, how will I get to the start, what time should I arrive at the start, how shall I pass the time while I'm waiting at the start, what is a realistic target/pace, what should I do if I'm struggling with my intended pace, what fuel (e.g. gels, lucozade) should I take and when, how will I adjust my target if it's very windy or hot?I write all of this down (now is a good time to do it) and review this list from time to time, and wherever possible practice my race day routine. Why bother with all this obssessional nonsense? Because on marathon day you're going to be very nervous (this will be my 5th FLM and the nerves don't get any easier) and you're going be asking yourself, can I do this? If you have a well worked out, familiar routine, it's going to be easier for you to calm your mind with the message that this just another run, and most importantly you can concentrate on enjoying the whole occasion. It will all be over in a flash.Have a great marathonITFAC
14/03/2008 at 19:07

1) Bodyglide

2)sunglasses, hat, oldes comfiest bra, short and top all practiced in

3) disposable camera in your kit bag. My fav photos ever are the ones me and hubs took jsut before the start and just after the finish.


5) DO NOT be disapointed if you are slower than you planned. It's just too bloody long to be sure how you will cope.

6) There is no such thing as too many gels. Especially if the buggers fall out of our belt during the race.

7) My personal mantra after bitter experience is : Don't stop, stretching will not help the pain go away.

8) If doing FLM just write off the first couple of miles - everyone stops at least twice in the first mile.

14/03/2008 at 19:08

Oh yeah - you will be a bit depressed the week after but you will cheer up when you sign up for the next race.

14/03/2008 at 19:46
so much good stuff here - thanks guys
14/03/2008 at 19:48

This is great - keep it coming please

Many thanks to all contributers. 

14/03/2008 at 19:51
I still have a scar from 6 months ago where my bum bag rubbed the waist band of my shorts into my back.  It does indeed sting a bit!
14/03/2008 at 19:56
You don't necessarily have to drink at every station look at the conditions - I spent about 25 mins in various queues for the bog in NY
14/03/2008 at 19:57

Amen to that G.A  i was down for a month and couldnt really get motivated for a couple of months .

The more you can plan the easier EVERYTHING will be  

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