Participating in your first marathon may seem like an intimidating and exhausting endeavour (which it is), but fret not as proper planning and preparation will allow you to make it through without so much as breaking a sweat (obvious lie of course).
From pre-marathon prep work to pre-pre-marathon research, there are plenty of things to do (and not to do) when it comes to joining a marathon.
A Beginner’s Guide To Marathons
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned veteran marathon runner or if you’re a beginner taking part in your first run, these are some ways to make your endorphin-fueled journey a more pleasant one.
- Registering For Your Marathon
This is an obvious one as the marathon trend becomes more and more popular, you’ll find more organizers jumping on the bandwagon. Sifting through the pile is key to the success of your first run.
The point is, do your research!
- Pre-Marathon Prep: Training Plan
Before you even lace up your running shoes, you need to take a step back to evaluate your fitness level.
Coming up with an appropriate training plan is key to actually finishing your very first marathon. You definitely can’t start running the whole distance right out of the gate so it’s vital to find a plan that will help you to gradually build up your mileage and endurance.
Oh, and your last long run should take place approximately three weeks prior to your marathon so that your body may recover in time.
- Pre-Marathon Prep: Fuel And Recovery
Fueling yourself is equally as important as your training.
Avoid overeating, particularly carb-loading as all cost. In a similar vein, avoid undereating as well. The key takeaway is to consume just enough calories to keep yourself going.
Oatmeal, bread, tortillas, pancakes, waffles, bagels, and yoghurt are all easy-to-digest options. Just be sure not to overstuff yourself during dinner the night before a race.
- Pre-Marathon Prep: Get Your Head Straight
Food and training aside, organizing yourself is also important to ensure that your head is in the right place come race day.
Here is a simple checklist of essential items you should have prepared before your marathon:
- Race bibs and safety pins
- Race timing chip (if any)
- Running outfit (dry shirts, socks, extra socks, hats, shoelaces, and shoes)
- Wristwatch/GPS watch/fitness watch
- Anti-chafing products like Vaseline
- Blister care products
- Race fuel such as energy gels
- Marathon Day
On the day of the race, wake up earlier and get to the starting point early. You should already be familiar with the route you are going to take. If not, spend some time doing so.
Do some light stretches to loosen yourself a little, just make sure not to burn out before the starting whistle. Once you are ready, it’s time to run!
- After The Race
Finished your race? Congratulations on a job well done. If not, it’s not the end of the world either.
Finishing the race doesn’t mean you have time to relax. After-run care is indeed vital to keep the inevitable soreness at bay. And drinking water and eating will help your body rehydrate and refuel.
If you’re feeling particularly tense and lethargic, the best move is to keep, well, moving by doing lower-intensity cardiovascular movements until your body reaches equilibrium.