Friday, June 29, 2012

A Little Help Please

There are times I feel calm and ready for the marathon.  Then there are days like today when everytime I think about it I get butterflies in my stomach and I wonder what have I done! The closer it gets the more I think I will be in a constant state of wide eyed terrer.
It seemed so far away and such a safe thing to be doing back in March when I signed up. Now it is coming, and fast. 
My first marathon! 
I was going to wait until next week to do this post, but I have decided I can't wait!  The time is now.  I need to digest it all.  Write it down.  Think about it.  Sleep on it.  Get it in my head before all my head can do is panic!  This is where you come in, this is where I want your help.

I want your best tips! 

I know I have read a million tips on running a marathon. 

All I can think of is how excited and terrified I was for my first half marathon three years ago and halfway through I was swearing off the distance and cussing myself for getting talked into running 13.1 miles. I have of course ran three more since then and have another one, (maybe two) planned this year.  It is my favorite distance to race now.

This is twice the distance and I already have at least one more planned.  (maybe two). 

I don't want to be swearing off the race distance until at least mile 20. 

What do you wish you had known for your first marathon?
What did you do right for your first marathon?
What have you learned about marathon running?
The week before marathon tips.
The day or two afterwards tips.


  1. The big mistake I made in my first marathon was not wearing the right clothing for the weather. I don't think you have to worry about that, but do pay attention to whether things you're wearing chafe or otherwise drive you crazy even in a tiny way. Because things that seem like nothing even 14 miles in can drive you *insane* after 20 miles.

    One thing I did right was not worrying about my time. If you are going to worry about your time, though, be sure to start slower than feels right, because you're going to feel like flying!

    You will do great. I'm sorry to hear that fires are erupting up there, too. The whole state of Colorado has banned fireworks. I'm not sad about it at all. I think your dad is right about New Year's being the time for that.

  2. The best advice I got before my first marathon was to trust your training. I was super-nervous to run this distance, but the person that gave me this advice was right on. On race day, everything went well, I felt good until about mile 23, and after that it was a short enough distance that I could tough it out to the end (and the excitement that you're actually going to finish carries you through the last two miles). Don't worry, you will do great! And we want to hear all about it!

  3. I can't wait to read all the tips. You're going to do great!

  4. I can't speak based on experience since I haven't ran anything more than a half marathon.
    But trust yourself and your training. Remember "mind over body." Christine over at Dream Big Runner said it rather well earlier this week. Your attitude about the race will determine the experience and outcome you are going to have.
    Good luck. I can't wait to read your race report. You know we will be cheering on you while you run!

  5. A random bunch of thoughts:
    1. Trust your training. You CAN do the distance.
    2. Understand that things happen that you can't anticipate, and prepare yourself to he ready for that.
    3. There will probably be a point where it hurts, or things get less fun or uncomfortable. Be stronger than your brain. Your body CAN do it. It's going to hurt, but speaking from my experience last week, walking won't be any better. Just get it over with.
    4. Enjoy the parts you can. And when you get to the part where it's not enjoyable, shift your focus - pretty scenery, check out other runners shoes, whatever gets you through THAT moment.
    5. When the distance seems impossible, focus on where you are NOW. Set mini goals to get you past the hump.

    After, the best thing for me was to keep moving, and move the next day. I had minimal aches and pains, and I attribute it to the mile walk after, and walking all over Seattle the next day.

    You've put in the work!! It's hard to predict how things will go, it's a long distance and a long time for things to go wonky. The important thing is not letting those things stick in your mind - note them, figure out what happened, and what you'll do different next time. I can't imagine anyone runs a perfect marathon the first time out ;)

  6. My first Marathon was in May of 1980. I ran Lincoln (NE), I was primed and ready. I ran with a good friend of mine. We went out way to fast, 6 minute pace. I backed off and he kept going. I caught him at mile 23 and we finished together in 3:05. I will never forget that day, oh what a feeling. I did not run another Marathon until 1995. I have ran 2 Bostons and have qualified for my 3rd this coming April. I will run my 10th Marathon in October, the Twin Cities Marathon. Here is what I learned:

    1. Just by completing a Marathon places you in the 1% of the people in the world to accomplish such a feat!
    2. Start slow, it is a long race. I set my goal in Feb at Surf City Marathon to qualify for Boston. I needed to be under 3:40 as I am 55. I started with the 3:45 Pace group, at mile 7 I left them and by mile 9 I caught the 3:40 pace group and stayed with them till mile 19, I finished strong and ran a 3:36:30.
    3.I have a PR of 3:05, I have ran it twice, my first in 1980 and again in 1998 in Pensacola.
    4.I ran New York City last November. It kicked my butt, 4:19 and I ended up in the med tent with an IV. I finished! I was't happy with my time, but when I lined up I set out to finish, I did!
    5. Above all else, enjoy the journey, enjoy the moment.
    6. Don't focus so much on the time and distance that you miss the beauty around you.
    7. Use Glide, lots of glide!
    8. You have trained and are ready for this!
    9. Stay hydrated, hydration starts today, not on race day.
    10. Be thankful you can run, be thankful you get the chance to tackle 26.1 miles. My wife and I have a special needs son we adopted, he won't get the chance to run 26.1 miles.
    11. Wear the finishers medal with pride and post lots of pictures on your blog.

    Best wishes for a great run, Long may you run.

  7. You're soooo ready for this :) and you've already learnt most of what you need to know through great training. Make sure you enjoy the day! And relax - there is nothing you can do now which will effect the marathon.

  8. The mistake I made with my marathon was that I did not run my race. I tried to stay with the two people I had trained with who were keeping a much slower pace than I had trained for. It left me VERY sore by midway.

    You totally have this marathon! You've been rocking your training and you need to trust that! It's common to feel this your training and you will be great! Run your race! I can't wait to hear all about it!!

  9. You are ready!!! More than ready and I cannot wait to read the recap and see the pictures. I've only ran one marathon so far but this is what I learned:
    1. Time doesn't matter (at least for the first one) - it's the challenge of completing a marathon - listen to your body. Go out slow, you have plenty of mileage/time to speed up.
    2. Support team! Every few miles, I had either Stacy or Ward (and my family) meeting me with fuel/gum/water. Also - it could get hot - what Ward and Wade did for the 1/2 for for myself and Jill was meet us with ice water and sponges. Helped BIG time to cool off. Is this possible for your race?
    3. Your outfit sounds perfect for the hot summer weather. I'd prepare with some body glide or something because you never know if you'll chafe or not (or if you have a support team - have them armed with it).
    4. If you are carrying your fuel, I'd bring some extra if possible. You never know what you'll really need that day and you don't want to be completely drained at mile 20 with nothing to spare.
    5. It is going to hurt (well, hopefully not, but be ready for it) but it feels SOOO good crossing that finish line.
    6. Compression gear for recovery. But you do that anyway. Ice bath too??? And don't be afraid to take the elevator. You're not a wimp for doing it. Or, what I found, going down the stairs backwards helps too.
    7. Wear your medal everywhere!!!!
    Best of luck, Christy! You are an incredible runner.

  10. Fantastic advice already! Having never run a marathon, I think you're a rockstar for getting to this point. You're going to do great!!!

  11. My advice is don't run with a pacer! I got screwed. You've trained hard, you can do it.

  12. Can't offer any advice as I am currently freaking out over my first half coming up in October. But the advice above sounds perfect. You are ready and you will do great!

  13. You're going to do so great, I can't wait to hear about it! You probably know or have and will continue to hear these tips, but here are my thoughts:
    1. Trust your training!!!! You ARE ready!
    2. You'll likely go in phases (in the last half) where it hurts and seems like you still have too far to go, but I normally find that those come and go and if you stick it out, you'll feel good again soon.
    3. Your mind will be ready to stop before your legs.
    4. Use your shoulders and arms to carry you forward when your legs get tired.
    5. Start slow.
    6. Fuel before you need it.
    7. Remember to take it all in :)
    8. BODY GLIDE!!!!

    Good luck!

  14. Oh christy...I wish, I really do wish I cold give you advice on running your first marathon! perhaps you will be giving me this very same advice once I am ready to run mine! I do, however know that "believing and trusting your gut and insstincts" are probably the most important things to hold on to! you are is evident in your training, your attitiude, and your mental state! You are a competitor by nature...some of us are...and some of us are not. You will not be able to go out and run just for fun or are running to challenge yourself, and to "win" in your eyes...and you will do it...Just BELIEVE that!
    I really like Bubble Boy's's real, and it's human! Run because you can...and because you are good at it!!

    Best of Luck!!

  15. I ran my first marathon on the 3rd of the month, so it's still very fresh.

    #1 - Don't go out too fast. I did. And paid for it big time.
    #2 - Stick with your normal fueling. Even if the race provides free stuff, if you haven't tried it, it could cause unnecessary stomach issues. Use what you know.
    #3 - Trust your training. You've put in the miles. You CAN DO IT!!

    Post marathon - I found Hal Higdon's post marathon recovery to be very helpful. Even after about 10 days, my legs weren't up for much more than 3-4 miles. His advice was right on and I've had a great week this week (4 weeks out). I followed his "Novice" recovery plan since it was my first marathon.

    Can't wait to read the recap!

  16. Remember all those great training runs you did. Focus on those when times get tough and painful. Stay focused on your nutrition and make sure you fuel just like you planned. It is easy to get distracted and forget.
    Thank the volunteers as you pass them. It gives you something to do and think about to take your mind off being tired.
    When your legs start throwing a temper tantrum, tell them to SHUT UP!;-)
    I pack a bit of TP in my spibelt for emergencies. Nothing worse than running into the potta potties to take care of business and find out there is no TP left. :-)
    You are going kill this race! You put in tons of good training, you got this.

  17. first off that photo is brilliant! I LOVED reading everyone's advice. I know a lot of people said don't worry about time, but i'm sure you have some type of goal in mind so its hard to say "run to finish" if thats not your personality (its certainly not mine)
    The reason why I have waiting till now to train for my first marathon is because I know its more mental than physical and my mentality SUCKED. If you can remind yourself that your body (unless a fluke injury happens) WILL get you there, so its just a matter of pushign through the comforts.

  18. Just know that you are ready and make sure to clip your toenails beforehand:)

  19. Like everyone else said - trust your training! It has been fun to read your blog as you have gone thru this journey - You. Are. Ready. One thing I like to remember anytime that I do a long run is that the body cycles. If I am am having a bad mile or two I know that my body is going to come out of it and go on to have good miles! This helps me stay positive. Run YOUR race and no regrets!

  20. LOVE THE ORANG! So cute.

    I just know you are doing to have such a wonderful race and enjoy the whole experience. You are READY! You are STRONG! You KNOW what to do. Just go DO it!

    Will be looking forward to reading about it and seeing your always-fun photos too. Hope the family is going out to support and cheer you on!

  21. Things that would have helped me during my first marathon:

    1) start SLOW-- do NOT drop far below your goal marathon pace in the first 20 miles, even if it feels good-- you will regret it when you get further through the race

    2) believe in yourself-- you CAN do hard stuff! I promise you.

    Oh Christy, you are going to do amazing, I almost got a little tear in my eye thinking about your first marathon, you are so ready for it, you're going to rock it!!

  22. I don't have very much GOOD advice on the subject, but I have ran 2 marathons & one 45k so I'll tell you what I learned after my first one. That I was NOT READY. I got injured about 2 months before the marathon, which I was already signed up for. and I couldn't run until about a week before the race. I foolishly ran it anyways, and I got an okay time, 4:28. I did great the first 16 miles, but out of nowhere, my entire body started hurting. Something happened with my foot that kept me limping the rest of the way, my muscles tightened up. It was horrible. But I was too stubborn to DNF. And I wish I had. No actually I wish I had DNS. I wasn't ready at all. My longest run before then was a half marathon 2 months prior, right before I got injured. So all I have to say is, make sure you're prepared for it. Which I'm sure you will be. I was a newbie runner who was just trying to move way too fast.

  23. Trust your training. Your training has been awesome.

    The only advice I have is to not start out to fast. I did that and at the end I was pretty freakin wore out.
    The other is this is your first marathon, so just try to take the experinece all in and enjoy every minute of it, with no time limits. You will be surprised how well you do without a time restriction. Their is always the next marathon to do better than the first.

    Your so ready girl. So excited for you. Wish I could be there to cheer you on. I will be with you in my thought on the day of your marathon sending you good vibrations girl.

    It is so normal to be having all those feelings that you are feeling as your marathon gets closer.

  24. You've put in the work and the miles - just relax and KNOW that your body can do this! So excited for you Christy!

  25. Main thing I say is to not go out too fast at the start - your body will want to start flying because you will have so much rest - don't go at a faster pace than your approximate goal pace for at least the first 5-6 miles. If you have extra juice at the end, you can start flying then.

    Pay attention to your heartrate monitor during the race - especially if it is a hot day I find your heartrate helps as a guide as to how hard your body is working. Though nerves can sometimes throw off the figures, so don't use this by itself.

    Try to have spectators at certain points on the course - or at least at the 20 mile marker, because this is where the race gets hard.

    The last 10K will be the hardest 10K you will ever run.

    Most of all, trust your training and enjoy the experience - the race is a celebration of all of your training!

    After the race, wear compression stuff as much as possible to help with soreness. I wouldn't run at all until at least 1-2 weeks after the race, and let your body guide you on running. Don't run if your body doesn't feel like it.

  26. Someone told me that 18 miles is like halfway, which I have no idea what evidence is based on, but every time I run a marathon, I tell myself that at 18 I'm halfway. Math doesn't make anyway when I'm running, so it works! Good luck!

  27. start slow. like really insanely slow, so slow for the first mile or two that you feel like you're barely moving! learned this one the hard way. there's plenty of time to settle into pacing, and burning out energy stores early on will 100% come back to bite you in the ass...and it could be hard to recover from. so just run your own race, take in the scenery, and have fun!

    you'll do great. just breathe!

  28. What do you wish you had known for your first marathon?
    I wished that I would have known how to pace myself better! I didn't have a garmin at the time.

    What did you do right for your first marathon?
    I ate a lot of food and celebrated with my parents because I got a BQ.

    What have you learned about marathon running?
    That is hard, but rewarding at the same time. Marathons are heart breakers AND addicting. You can train your booty off, but then never know what your body will be like on race day.

    The week before marathon tips.
    RELAX. Get lots of sleep, eat good food AND don't do anything different from your normal routine.

    The day or two afterwards tips.
    Stretch and foam roll...A LOT. Take it easy and celebrate your accomplishment. Take at least 2 weeks off of no running so you can let your body heal.

    You are going to do AWESOME!!!!

  29. 1) First marathon: there's no such thing as banked time! Sure, running a fast first half is great, but it WILL come back to bite you in the back half.

    2) What I did right: fueled pretty well. Five GUs, all safety pinned to the inside of my shorts. Took one about very 4-5 miles, chased with water!

    3) Learned about marathon running: They're like Lay's potato chips. You can never do just one.

    4) Week before: Keep runs easy and light. Enjoy them. Make yourself a rocking playlist (if you run with iPod). Eat clean, and eat enough. Watch a running movie like Prefontaine or the Spirit of the Marathon. It's also the season of Olympic Trials, and there's little in the sports world more inspiring than that.

    5) Afterwards: Be prepared to take it easy... as in, can hardly walk to the shower easy. Rest up, stretch, foam roll. Don't feel pressured to get right back out and run a billon miles. Sleep with your medal on. Have a beer, or four.


  30. The big mistake I made with my first marathon was going out way too fast. I got my half marathon PR the first half of that race- NOT good. Then I totally hit a wall. My next marathon was 3 weeks later. I started slower, more even and was able to run the last half faster than the first- cut almost 9 minutes off my previous marathon time, too!
    Also, I decided at the last minute to wear a different shirt than originally planned. Bad idea!

  31. I have no tips (I've never done a full), but just wanted to say that you've trained for this both physically & mentally & you're going to rock it!!!

  32. I think the week before its important to rest, hydrate and eat well. I start drinking a gatorade daily along with my normal water intake to start building electrolytes. Try not to be tempted to run more than your plan...its tough with the greatly reduced mileage but I like to think of it like my body is a spring and its taking in all that unused energy and saving it for race day! at the last second i decided to use salt pills along with my gels during my first marathon and i have used them in every marathon since. i really think they helped me since it was a hot day.

    i also love when races have fruit along the way. it just feels good to eat something sometimes if your stomach can handle that.

    i think sometimes the night before a marathon i let my anxiety get the best of me and i overdo the prerace meal...then i feel heavy and sluggish at the start. i think if you can eat a balanced meal full of good dont really need to eat more or anything special the night before.

    You will absolutely do fantastic. I cant think of anyone I have followed where I have just constantly thought "WOW she is SO ready for this!" but i think that every time i read about one of your runs or your posts. you have trained hard and smart and well. Let this be your confidence.

    Race day WILL be a great day for you. That is what someone told me in mile one of my first marathon. She didn't know how I would feel in 20 miles of course...but she knew what it was like to cross the finish line of a marathon...especially your FIRST marathon. it is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced and i cant wait for you to experience that!

    day of race...i definitely suggest starting slow and then easing into your pace. its easy to want to go out fast but you have 26 miles to do hit that goal pace (if you have one!) so try not to be tempted to go out too fast. mostly. just enjoy every step and every moment! let this be a celebration of how hard you are worked. you are mere days from being a MARATHONER! i am cheering you on and cant wait to hear all about it:)

  33. Oh good questions!! I'll answer them based on my one marathon experience :)

    1. I wish I had known to REST more the week before, like seriously rest...meaning no walking around the city where the marathon was for hours on the end the days before. Take a cab, a bus, anything...try not to walk too much the couple days before so your legs are as fresh as can be!

    2. I did a few things right like refraining from any alcohol the week before the race, eating my standard pre race breakfast and fueling myself during the marathon at all my planned miles even though towards the end the thought of eating something wasn't very good...but I did it anyways and I'm sure it's what never made me hit the "wall".

    3. I have learned that your body can really do anything if you train properly and your MIND is also in it. I think those last miles are going to be more mental than anything, you have definitely provide you can run the time and mileage now it will be all about KNOWING you can.

    4. Like I said before, limit activity the week before, eliminate alcohol (if you even drink) and stick to foods you know your body can handle.

    5. Ice bath, ice bath, ice bath! And just relax and enjoy the moment!

  34. Don't eat a pound of cherries the day before. That's pretty key.

  35. I'm going ot have to read all the other tips...mine are:
    Wish I had known: That after your done you are so damn elated that nothing will matter so just keep going and doing your best. I also felt super la la land high. This segways into what I wish I would have done....I would have kept food to refuel, drank more, walked around more and refueled and drank again....its so important and I always did it on my training but was so pumped thought I was a rockstar and skipped it.

    The week before and teh week after...SLEEP. Allow your body to rejuvenate and recover....

  36. What do you wish you had known for your first marathon? Bring TP. Ugh.

    What did you do right for your first marathon? Let go of any time goals and enjoy as much of the experience as possible. you only do your first marathon once. I smiled for EVERY photog.

    What have you learned about marathon running? That it's 90% mental, and that's the toughest to train for.

    The week before marathon tips. Sleep, hydrate, and eat plain. I don't carbo load, rather I eat in ways I know my system will like. But I have lots of gut issues..

    The day or two afterwards tips. Compression. Rest. I often have trouble sleeping for a couple days - almost like restless leg syndrome - but I rest a lot. I am an ice bath fan. And treat yourself to some food that you really love. You earned it.

    Christy, you are going to do SO WELL! I can't wait to hear all about it!

  37. You're going to have a great race! But there is nothing like a first marathon!!
    Carb load - have a larger lunch the day before and a normal supper - you'll boost your glycemic stores just fine, will sleep much better, and not feel like you have a bowling ball in your gut in the morning.
    You will have mood swings to rival a toddler on a sugar high. Be ready. In hindsight it's pretty funny.
    Life is going to get weird ... really weird. Usually around miles 20-23. Embrace the weird.
    Watch this before and after the race!!


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