Thursday, May 29, 2008

NEEDED: first time marathon advice

my good friend sarah from scu has a boyfriend, jon, who is running his FIRST marathon in san diego this weekend. the good ole rock'n'roll san diego. i've had a request for some first time marathoner tips for him (and anyone else who'd like a little marathon advice!)

okay, love to run readers, let's give him some good advice.

here's mine:
  • breathe. just breathe. relax. i love the saying, "go out fast, die like a pig" (an old TNT joke). don't let the excitement of the start line affect your finish line. keep it easy the first few miles and stay conservative.
  • keep with your routine. don't stray from what you've been doing all training long. keep the same shoes, stay in the same running outfit, drink the same electrolyte drink, eat the same gel. keep with what's familiar.
  • i've run this marathon twice. while it's a really fun city, it's a tough course. there are a lot of people to deal with and navigating the course can be a challenge. lucky for you the weather is looking to be fantastic so enjoy that. but be prepared to be in a MASS of people.
  • enjoy it. this is your first marathon! you'll never be a virgin marathoner ever again. take in the sights (the zoo, downtown, the bay, the marine corps depot). listen to your body. it's going to be hard, but enjoy the work. it's a feeling you can't experience anywhere else.
  • stay mentally tough. positive thoughts matter more than a strong body.

ok, i'll leave the rest to my fantastic marathon friends. jon, let us know if you have questions.

GOOD LUCK! you are going to be great. just getting to the starting line is a huge accomplishment.


  1. my suggestion is: don't listen to anyone but yourself! i know, that sounds bad. i ran my first in december and everyone was so excited about being at mile 24...then 25. i was focused on 26.2, which is the only reason i finished. you've trained hard, you can do this...focus on the goal.

  2. I don't know if I have anything to add to you Julia. That all sounds perfect! Like Julia mentioned, I like to stay mentally strong by making small goals along the way. Breaking up the miles in my mind. Making my GU and Gatorade the treats along the way. Also, if one set of my muscles feel completely burned out (i.e. hamstrings)...I try to focus on the opposite muscle (quads). I mentally think about the muscle that isn't tired and give it all I've got. I feel like most muscles are pretty depleted by the end. Full body work out! The best!! Another thing the gals taught me was to run each mile for someone and think about them during their mile. That way you're running for someone other than your self. Make sure at least one mile is dedicated to you! Good luck!! You'll do great!!

  3. First time marathon advice:

    1) Don't do anything during the race you didn't do in your training. That includes (especially!) drinking too much at the aid stations. Just about did me in on my first marathon.

    2) Run YOUR race. Don't try to keep up with anyone or try to meet any predetermined time goal. Just do your best.

    3) Don't go out too fast. "Banking" minutes in the first 10 miles or so so that you can slow down at then end and still meet a predetermined goal doesn't work. You invariably end up slowing down much more than you thought you would and you lose all the time you banked and then some.

    4) Drive the course the day before, if possible. So you'll know what to expect, where the hills are, and you'll get a good appreciation of exactly how far 26.2 miles is.

    5) Have fun! Whoop it up with all the runners! You won't be the only first timer there. Sing on the bus (if there is a bus). Talk to the people running around you. Even if they have headphones, they still may be able to hear you. Enjoy it.

    6) Wear your finishing medal that day with pride. And the next day. Then take it off. No one really cares all that much, but you deserve your 15 seconds.

    I'm sure I can come up with more, but that's enough for today. Good luck!

  4. My only advice (since you have obviously been running and probably know what you're doing) is just related to huge races. Not sure if you've run a race with a bazillion people at the start line, but my advice is don't try to weave in an out of slower people in the first mile of the race. Nothing wrong with passing people, but don't try to zig-zag around people. You can waste a lot of energy zig-zagging back and forth at the beginning of the race. Not to mention you could potentially cut a bunch of people off (or even trip people). Like everyone else said, don't start off too fast--use the first mile as a warm-up, and the best way I know how to do that is just be patient and wait until the crowd thins a little to pick up the pace.

  5. Don't be too cool to wear some nipple protection.... this was my first marathon too, and that was the MOST important lesson I learned! Small band-aids doo the trick. - good luck

  6. wow, everyone has given such great advice!

    for my first marathon, i was focused only on finishing. i had done all my training runs, i was prepared, i knew that i could FINISH, even if it was slow, and that was all that mattered. this is just my opinion, but i don't think first marathons are the place to set huge time/pace goals. it is such an amazing experience and such a thrill just to be a part of it and to say you finished. enjoy every second of it, even the last few BRUTAL miles. the body is an amazing thing. it is so cool to finish and feel that you have really accomplished something because you had to work so hard, and push your body in order to finish.

    GOOD LUCK and have FUN!!

  7. Thank you everyone for the tips. I am so excited to just start this thing already, the waiting is the hardest part. After more than 4 months training 4-5 days a week i am ready to get this show on the road. Thank you Jona for the nipple bandaid tip, I will definitely implement that one.