Sometimes we get a bit excited about New Year’s resolutions and set a goal that seems impossible to accomplish. You probably can relate if you signed up for your first marathon in 2016.
A lot of us panic at the thought of running a mile, so the idea of running 26.2 miles can be daunting, to say the least. Fortunately, countless individuals who’ve completed a marathon and lived to share some helpful tips can help you prepare for the task at hand!
Six Ways to Prepare for Your First Marathon
- Break it down: To help you prepare for your marathon, many would suggest you sign up for a half-marathon or 10k about four to six weeks before the big event. This type of event helps your overall confidence and makes the marathon seem less overwhelming. You’ll also learn more about what you do and don’t need for the upcoming day.
- Protect your feet: Shoes and socks matter as you prepare for a marathon. Get your gait analyzed by a specialist (you should be able to find one at any specialized running shoe store) and purchase and practice in a pair of shoes that fit your foot. But definitely don’t purchase a new pair of shoes right before your marathon. Break them in to see how your foot responds.
- Don’t wear cotton: You’ll already be rather uncomfortable as you enter your second hour of running, so don’t add cotton to the mix. Pick fabrics that dry easily as you sweat to keep your skin happy and body temperature regulated. Train in what you’re going to race in to see whether your outfit causes chafing or any discomfort.
- Patience is a virtue: It’s an endurance race. Make sure you give your body plenty of time to build up to the mileage and take confidence in the work you’ve put in when you get to race day. Tapering your distance too is important the week prior to your marathon to ensure that your body is properly rested and prepared.
- Learn what to eat: Some runners can’t eat at all before a race, and others need a rather hefty meal. Whatever you do as you prepare for your first marathon, make sure you stick to what you’ve eaten during your training runs. It’s also crucial that you hydrate and know what will be available at aid stations on race day.
- Mimic race day: Learn what your first marathon will look like. Is it hilly? Flat and fast? If you can study the terrain ahead of time, you’ll better be able to prepare for the conditions on the big day.
Be proud of what you’ve set out to do! Not everyone can accomplish such a big fitness test. But with a bit of preparation and hard work, you’ll be crossing that finish line! Happy running!