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The Marathon Rookie Times, Issue #0022
October 23, 2006


Marathon Day Tips


Rookies No More

Marathon Day Tips

Is your big day almost here? If so, following are some marathon day tips to a fun and successful finish.

Start slow: Remember, conserving energy is critical in distance running, especially when it comes to running a marathon. If there is lots of traffic at the starting line (very likely if there are thousands of runners), just be patient and do not try to speed up and slow down to pass or weave between other runners. Save that energy for later.

Maintain a steady pace: Enjoy the race day atmosphere and excitement, but remember to maintain your pace so you do not run out of steam too early.

Enjoy refreshments: Before the race, know how far apart aid-stations will be located and plan how often you will need to consume fluids or snacks. You should consume 6-8 oz. of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes to stay hydrated.

Carry energy gel: Consuming energy gel is a great way to replenish carbs (glycogen) during the run. They are light-weight, small, and easy to consume. Get one down just before reaching an aid-station so you can wash it down with fluid.

Eat safe: Do not consume anything before or during the race that you have not consumed during training. Introducing a new type of food to your body may lead to an upset stomach and require unwanted stops at the portable restrooms during the marathon.

Conserve energy: If you feel really strong during the run (you probably will), resist the urge to run faster than your pace early on. Conserve that energy to finish strong the last few miles. If you push too soon, you just might crash and be in for a grueling experience late in the race. Remember your goal.

Plan ahead: Lay out your running gear the night before race day. You do not want to find yourself scrambling to find your chip timer or bib pins in the morning. Even worse, you don’t want to be at the starting line and realize you forgot your timer, energy gel, or anything else you may need.

Fan support: Hearing positive words from supporters will provide a lift for you throughout the race. Consider printing your name on your short and you will get an even greater lift when total strangers will cheer you on.

Support others: If you find yourself passing other runners late in the run, encourage them by simply saying “keep it up, you’re looking good” or “great job, you’re almost there” or anything positive and encouraging. It just might be the lift they need.

Dry clothes: Have a change of clothes waiting for you after the finish so you can stay warm.

Enjoy a post-race snack: Shortly after the finish, snack on a banana, bagel, energy bar or other item to replenish nutrients. Wash it down with water or sports drink.

Don’t forget to stretch: Be sure to stretch good after the finish. You will likely feel invincible after you cross the finish line, but treat your body to some good post-race stretching and it will reward you with less soreness in the next few days.


"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it."

- Oprah Winfrey

Rookies No More

Just a few notes from recent finishers:

I ran my first marathon this past Saturday (Oct. 14) in Hartford. Looking back on all the advice I received before the race, the best was to carry GU (or any other gel). Without it I don't know if I would have made it. There was nothing but fluids offered until mile 18.

- Charley in Rhode Island, USA

Just wanted to say thanks. Trained hard and gained motivation from the site. Young enthusiasts at the gym persuaded me to have a try at the Bristol Half. Managed under 2 hrs 16 mins - nothing sensational but at 71, just like to say "if you want to, it’s not impossible" I’m still on a high and have entered another half next March and expect to improve my PB. So to all you veterans who are thinking about it "Just DO IT!"

- Raymond in Gloustershire, UK

On Oct 1st, I completed my first marathon. The Twin Cities Marathon certainly lived up to its claim to be the most beautiful urban marathon. I had a pretty good run. While I slowed down about 30 sec per mile after the halfway point, I was able to pick up the pace for the last 2 miles. The biggest problem I had was sore feet. Not blisters, but a sharp pain with every running step. Walking hurt less, but I kept pushing myself into a run enough to finish ahead of about 1000 people.

Looking foreword to the next one, although which one is still undetermined. I am thinking about the Lost Dutchman in Feb in Arizona.

- Stephen in Arizona, USA

I just ran the Delhi hutch marathon. I just want to tell everyone. Its all in the mind, just drink a lot of water, good warming up, and the most important thing is to train your mind, that will make you reach your destination.

- Kunal in India

More to come next week. Thank you all for your comments. Have a race story or tip to share? Contact us! Your stories will be included in upcoming issues of The Marathon Rookie Times.

Happy Running!

Brad Boughman

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