Marathon season is well under way and thousands of people are gearing up to take on their first ever marathon. With this in mind, we asked some of our users what they wished they’d known before taking on the marathon challenge. Here’s what they told us:
1. Not to wear anything new
Don’t use race day to try out your flashy new running gear for the first time. There’s nothing worse than setting off and realizing after one mile that the seams of your new shirt are chafing. Similarly, buy your running shoes a few months before the race so that you have plenty of time to wear them in.
2. That I really should have tapered my training
During the last three weeks before the race, you should be running less and resting more. This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s an important part of marathon preparation as it ensures that your body will have enough energy and can regenerate properly before the big day. You don’t want to take on the marathon with damaged muscles or a cold because your immune system was weakened by too much training.
3. That my toenails would never be the same again
It’s quite common for nails to be black, bruised or damaged a couple of weeks after the marathon. Don’t panic - this is just the result of the repetitive trauma the toes undergo during the 42km. This will heal once your training intensity and volume are reduced.
4. To start the first mile slow and not panic
It’s a classic scene: the race begins and everyone charges off. The first people are already pulling away and you start to panic that you’ll get completely left behind. It seems that even the most elderly runners are way ahead of you. Don’t let this put you under pressure to forget your pace and your game plan. The first few miles will be crowded, but just roll with it and take your time. If you start too fast, you’ll lose power towards the end.
5. To try my snacks & energy gels beforehand
There are few situations worse than pulling out a mid-race energy gel or power bar and finding out 15 minutes later that it doesn’t agree with you. Make sure to try any new snacks or flavors before the big day, just to be sure your stomach can take it.
6. How emotional it would be
After countless hours of training and the pain of the last few kilometers of the race itself, it should come as no surprise that many marathon runners experience a sudden rush of intense emotion at the end of a race. Finally achieving what you’ve worked so long for can be very emotional, so just go with it and be proud of yourself!
7. That I could do it
Don’t doubt yourself. Trust in your training and go into the race knowing that you are prepared and that you can do it if you put your mind to it. Before you know it, you’ll be planning your next marathon.