MARATHON MONDAY: Preparing for your first Marathon

This past weekend was nothing short of magical: following friends tackle races all over the country, following their tracking tweets and updates, and sharing with each other the magic that is THE MARATHON.

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Oiselle tweeted this last night and it just gave me such warm fuzzies! With 7 full marathons under my belt (when did THAT happen) it’s hard to believe that this time, two years ago I was about to set out on my first 26.2 journey in Richmond!

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Richmond Marathon, 2011.

While I am by no means an expert on marathoning, there are a few things that I’ve picked up along the way that I thought would be appropriate to share, especially in the thick of this exciting marathon season. Prompted by my good friend Christine, here are some things to do/think of/consider on the cusp of your first marathon:

  1. Breathe. No really, do it, it’s necessary not only to get to the starting line, but to get you through the whole race. Kidding aside, it’s true – you did the hard work already: months of training and sacrifice – and they’ve all led you to this moment. Soak it all in and acknowledge how far you’ve already come. Need help breathing? Repeat a mantra to yourself. Use visualization – whatever it is that gets you centered.
  2. Get your ducks in a row. If you’re traveling for your race (whether near or far), be sure to line up all your information, documents, confirmation numbers and etc. before you set out on your race weekend – it’ll feel so much better to not have to stress about things once you arrive. Take notes of important things like expo hours, where you are planning to meet your family/friends and input addresses into your GPS, etc. – basically, do everything you can to reduce your potential stress/anxiety. Protip: organizing is a great way to channel taper madness! If you need to get your mind off the crazy, do something fun like plan your post-race meal!
  3. Have a plan. And a back up plan. And work on how you’re going to be OKAY if neither of these plans work out. Now, this might not sound extremely positive, but learning to set the right goals as well as working out managing your expectations can be very helpful, especially in a marathon scenario. Many things can happen in 26.2 miles – you might have had a perfect training cycle, but the day just isn’t your day….or it could be the opposite (a fluke PR).
  4. Just run. Chances are, if you’re running 26.2, you’ve raced before (unless you’re this crazy gal ;)) A marathon is no different – except that it is. Hah, really though, have faith in yourself, run with your heart and you will not be disappointed.

What did I miss? Any other questions? Let’s share and celebrate!

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