You are running your first marathon… + WEEKENDING!

(bra, shoes, shorts)

I knew that if I tagged along with Kaydi and Carolyn for their run that I was going to be pushed… I was very right.

These two are fast and kept me moving when I really wanted to quit.

4-mile w/u, 10 x 2 minutes HARD with 60-second recoveries, c/d and a total of 12.4 miles @ 7:00 pace.  The first 5 intervals were really rough for me and then Carolyn reminded me to lean forward and pump my arms and that really helped me out a lot.

Isn’t it crazy how long 2 minutes can feel when you are running at your top speed?!  Yet those one minute recoveries just flew by in a blink.

I do not know how these friends of mine run in this heat every day, it was toasty.

While the run was challenging, it was really nice to feel awake again and not worried that I’m overtrained (like I did when I was taking Zyrtec every morning and not connecting the dots).

I did a 20-minute lower body workout and foam rolled like crazy.

The rest of our day was spent at the Virgin River right next to Grandpa’s Pond with my cousins and brother’s family.  We soaked up a bit more of St. George and then headed home!



Let’s get talking about running your first marathon and if you’ve already completed a marathon, please include your tips in the comments!  These pointers below are all just my own opinion and what I have found to work for me!  I’ll include my thoughts on the training and race day.

My first marathon–> Salt Lake City Marathon 2010:

*Don’t let your mind get stale.  It’s easy to have this happen when you are in marathon training.  Switch up your route, get on the dirt when you can, run near water, run with people, run with your dog, and switch things up often to keep your mind fresh over the next 12-16 weeks.  This will help you stay excited.

*One day at a time.  You have no need to worry about everything up ahead.  You just need to worry about doing your workout that day and with time, your body will build up to those big runs up ahead.

*Motivation isn’t what gets us to the starting line… discipline does.  Those first few weeks of marathon training always have me feeling as motivated as ever to race.  At about 6 weeks in, my motivation fades (mostly because I am tired) and I rely on staying disciplined in my training.  You are not alone if you lose motivation over the weeks of training but stick to the goal you have made, you can do hard things and get out the door.

*Consistency is KEY but it’s normal to miss a run here and there.  Being consistent with your training is necessary for finishing a marathon BUT be okay when life hits and you might have to miss a run or two. This has happened for me throughout each training cycle and everything still goes great on race day.  Do your best and forget the rest.

*Just start without thinking.  One of the reasons I like running early is because I don’t wake up for the first few miles.  Don’t think, just start and you’ll feel better as you go.

*Invest and then do a lot of laundry if you need to;). My running is so much happier when I am wearing things that fit and feel right.  Some of those pieces may be a bit pricier than I would like to spend on clothing/shoes but it makes the entire experience so much better.

*If something is hurting and feels like it could be an injury, it’s better to take a few days off vs running through it and being injured for months.

*Fuel more than you think you should.  I am kind of jealous if you figure this out with your first marathon because it took me 8 years of marathoning to truly figure this out.  The more I fuel, the better I run.  Maurten is my all-time favorite.   For Boston I took a Maurten caffeine gel 5 minutes before the start, a normal Maurten at mile 4, a normal Maurten at mile 8, a normal Maurten at mile 12, a caffeine Maurten at mile 16, and a caffeine Maurten at mile 21. I never felt like I hit the wall because I kept up on my fuel along the way.   It is really hard to catch back up with your fueling during a race so start it right from the beginning and your long runs make the best dress rehearsal for race day so practice, practice, practice.  PS another reason I love Maurten is because you don’t need to drink water with it like you do other gels.  This way I can take the gel RIGHT when I need to rather than waiting until I get to the next water station.

*This is a photo from the Boston marathon expo when I saw bagels in Lauren’s side pockets of her backpack.  We ate so many bagels that weekend.  I’m not an expert on how to carb load and fuel but I have learned so much from following Jackie and Holley on IG!

IMG 6686

*Water-> You have a few options for this!  You can plan your long-run routes around where drinking fountains are in your area!  You can get a pack like this one (which I absolutely love, I just make sure I wear short sleeves when I wear it so I don’t chafe).  You can carry a handheld water bottle or get mini bottles to fit in your shorts pockets.  You can also plant water bottles/gatorade along your route the night before you run it.  Most marathons will offer aid stations often throughout the race so you probably don’t need to carry water with you but if you found one of the previous methods to work great during your long run, bring it on race day too!

*I love using shorter races as part of my training. It helps me to feel less nerves about racing the more I do it! By the time the marathon rolls around, racing is just a normal weekend occurrence. I love having course support along the way and it adds excitement to training.

*Do not worry about that last 6.2 miles… the adrenaline, crowds, taper and training will take you the full 26.2 miles.  I remember being so nervous about the jump from a 20 miler for my long run to then being able to run 26.2 miles on race day.  Trust the magic of training.  On race day, you will be able to make the jump.  You do not need to run more than 20 miles (IMO) before your first marathon.  You will be tapered and fresh on race day and during your you are doing your long runs on tired legs!

*Go out for your race slower than you think you should for the first half so that you can finish feeling good.  It’s so easy to get carried away with the energy and then bonk half-way through.  Practice patience and if you want, try to speed up a little bit every 10k along the way to the finish.

*Don’t try anything new on race day.  Stick to the things you have practiced with and take time to really figure out what helps you to feel your best when you are running.

Crossing that finish line is going to be amazing.  Your have so much potential.  Be your own biggest cheerleader and let me cheer you on too by letting me know how your training is going. I’m here for ANY questions that you have.

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Have any tips for someone running their first marathon?  Please share and tell us what your first marathon was!

What was the best part of your weekend?

What’s the temperature for your runs lately?

A reader has an important question, “Have you or any of your running buddies experienced pelvic organ prolapse after childbirth?  It would be interesting to hear how people performing at a high level managed prolapse.. it seems like a relatively common issue with little information available on how to maintain normal exercise activities.”

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26 comments

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One of my tips is to not focus on the time! Just enjoy the day and the crowds. Also I think a bigger marathon is a great option for a first marathon since there’s crowds all over the course so they really help to pump you up. If you can put your name on your bib then do it! Hearing people cheer your name is so motivating for any race but especially your first marathon.

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Oh I LOVE that tip! I 100% agree… the crowds carry you! Have the best day, Maureen!

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I love that you picked this topic on first marathons. Lifetime runner training for my first marathon. Would absolutely love To see what your fueling and hydration looks like on a long run. Been doing tons of treadmill runs lately but living in the California high desert makes it harder to get outside as much as I want to. My daughter had 2 softball tournaments this weekend so lots of sunshine and sunscreen. Take care!!!!

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These are such good tips!
We should have something prepare for week 6 of marathon training. That’s the week you buy a new running outfit.
This weekend I worked a lot, read Something Wilder, and wait that’s it.

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I LOVE that idea… I’m going to do that for this marathon training cycle:). I’ve heard great things about that book. Way to get in so much work this weekend and I hope you get this weekend off. Happy Monday, Molly!

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Thank you for these first time marathon tips! I’m writing them down and keeping them front and center for when I need a reminder!

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YAY YAY YAY! Keep me updated with it all, I’m cheering for you. You’ve got this Terese!

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Those are great tips! You can’t bank time but you can go out too fast lol. Remember it’s 26 miles. And have fun !

Weekend was so fun.. ŕan trails all weekend…35 km with a friend and 20 more km Sunday on a trail adventure with views. I am tired but happy lol.

Your friends are so speedy !!! Happy Monday Janae!

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Amen to that… I have tried the banking time method and failed many many times. Love that, thank you! You crushed this weekend on the trails. I hope your Monday is off to a great start, Kristine!

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I am such a wimp in the heat, I get up so early in the summer to avoid anything too hot, LOL. It’s so nice that you found out what was going on and it was an easy fix. Also super proud of you for being willing to take a step back when things didn’t feel right. Reading the book “How to Train Like a Pro Even if You’re Slow” I think you would love it.

My only tip for marathon training (and really anything in life, I tell this to my student too) is that effort is mandatory but suffering is optional. Lean into enjoying the work and you can enjoy it all.

Have a wonderful Monday!

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I MUST READ THAT BOOK. Thank you for the recommendation. Best. Tip. Out. There. Thank you for sharing that, I need to remember that for all of the hard things in life. Have a beautiful day, Beth!

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Thank you, thank you! I don’t know why the fueling and water part is stressing me out so much lol. I may just have to bite the bullet and buy some Maurten gels to try. They are so pricey but they sound worth it! I think I’ll train with a combo of my handheld and water fountain refills, but use the water on course for race day. I’ve got 18 weeks to figure it out – I’m certain I will drive my husband crazy talking about running by the end of it!

Have a great week!

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They really are way too expensive but I swear by them. Just buy one at first to see if you truly like it. EIGHTEEN WEEKS. Come talk to me about it whenever you want to give your husband a break. I want to hear all about it.

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I agree with ALL of these statements! I have one more: Stick to the plan! I neglected to do this during my race last week and it was a disaster. To elaborate, if you have a race strategy, don’t throw it away at the last minute (unless it’s super hot or your are injured). At the start line of my race I decided to run with a pace group. The pacer went out much faster than I had planned to do on my own and continued to run at a faster pace for the entire first half. I found out later that the first 2 waves were led in the wrong direction and we ran an additional half mile! Our pacer saw that we were behind in our time and thus sped up even more. By mile 20 I tanked. I did end up finishing in 3:35 but my goal was sub-3:30 so I was super bummed. I know that if I had stuck to my pacing plan I wouldn’t have blown up later in the race. Lesson learned!

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First marathon: Disney in 2010! I did Columbus the same year and haven’t run a full since–ha! I have run a bunch of half’s, but I’m just now getting to where I’m thinking I might do another full, but I just don’t know….best tip I have is like you already said–if you can run with friends it makes it so much better.
Best part of my weekend: The rest and relaxation I got! We did go out to eat on Saturday night and to Lowe’s, but for us, that was a calm, relaxing weekend!
It’s hot in KY, but we are getting a little bit of a break for the next couple of days–highs are in the 80’s, which means morning runs are in the 60’s which is always a good thing!

Have a great day!

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I ran my first marathon in 2012 and I was 48. Don’t let age determine if you can run a marathon or not. For my 4th marathon I only ran 3-4 days a week, then cross trained on my bike 2 days. I have a tendency to go too hard on easy days, so the bike was a perfect solution. I made sure I did the key workouts (hills, speed, long runs) but gave myself a break on the easy days. It’s the last marathon I ran and my fastest! As far as fueling – I prefer to go by time vs. distance (every 45-60 minutes vs. certain mile markers.) That way if your pace is off (faster or slower) your fueling won’t be.

I’d have to say the best part of my weekend was last night at church. We had a special service for all our graduates (12 total) and it was great.

It’s been in the upper 90s here, but we still get the ocean affect so it’s in the upper 50s/low 60s when I get up and out the door to run.

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THIS is the best post! I am running my first marathon this fall! I was supposed to run St. George and FINALLY MEET YOU but childcare issues – don’t have family that can watch them. BOOO!! (so if anyone needs a St. George marathon bib, I will sell it to you for a deal!). ANYHOW – instead I am now running Twin Cities Marathon right here in my own backyard. I just ran a half as part of my training – and I am nervous about getting to that full, but I like your tips and am going to take them to heart.

Keep the tips coming!! :)

Have a great week!!!

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My first marathon was the Illinois Marathon in central Illinois. The biggest mistake I made was thinking that a marathon would take me twice as long as a half. I actually set a half PR during this race…bad idea. Check a race equivalency chart to get an approximate goal time. If it’s your first, you really shouldn’t worry too much about pushing and just enjoy the first.

The training will make you very tired. There will be times you go out and your legs will feel so dead that you wonder how on earth you are going to be able to do 26.2 miles. This is normal. Learning to run on tired legs is what will help you at the end of the marathon. You will have a taper the last 2-3 weeks of your training that will help your legs to feel fresh again and you will not have dead legs on race day.

We had a heat wave the last two weeks and it was toasty…even at 4:30 when I go out. This morning, I needed a pair of gloves. Crazy weather, but it gets us prepared for the unexpected come race day.

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That was my first marathon too! Such a great course.

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The best part about my weekend was my partner and I just hung out lazy all day Sunday. No chores, no work, just hanging out doing nothing of importance minus cooking a delicious steak dinner!

The best advice I got for my first marathon was to break it down into multiple smaller races to make it easier to mentally process. I ran my “half marathon” and I was like yeah I feel pretty good, I can definitely still do a 10k how I feel. Then I was like wooooo okay I am definitely feeling this but I can run a 5k like this. And then boom, all I had was a 5k left and I was like yep I can do that!

Also having crowd support is instrumental especially at the end. I saw my family at miles 18 and 23 and I feel like that is where I needed them the most.

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1) TRUST YOUR TRAINING. If you can do the 20-miler in the training, you can do 26.2!
2) It’s ok if you mess up on your training (like I did majorly… like didn’t even get to my 20-miler). Just do Galloway method and run a mile and walk a minute (starting from the very beginning!!) and you can make it. Happily.
3) Start slow.

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I see they are sporting Senita Sarah bras…………..my favorite!

I agree with all your marathon points, although mentally I needed to do a 26 miler before race day. I just needed to know I could. I would also say only wear your favorites for long runs………..REALLY sucks when your actual run is going great, but you are distracted (or chafed) from the clothing you wore.

Right now we are full blown Southern summer……….which means 70s in the am, high 80’s by lunch, and 90s in the afternoon. The real feel has been over 105 a few days already. It’s the humidity that takes it to another level………….basically 75 % or more at all times. Even 5 am. Summer will last until mid September. Most would say gross, but I actually LOVE this weather.
Yes my runs are harder, yes I may run my long runs with walk breaks, yes I know where every fountain is to run thru, but I FREAKIN LOVE IT!

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I’m about to make the jump back into marathoning this fall, after a 4 year break. I’ve only run 10, and well, then triathlons and other races got in the way…..yep, understanding nutrition and hydration, and how what reacts to your own GI is important, whatever you read, everyone is different (I learned that the hard way) do lots of races before, especially for your first to get used to that morning and the mass of people…I’ll always remember my first two (I didn’t finish the first) the second, I had friends afterwards telling me that I was on another planet, I didn’t even remember seeing them…..I’ve since learned to chill, enjoy every minute, always do events with friends, even if you don;t run with them, hi five and cheer everyone else you know and see on the course (I love out and backs for this)…and don’t focus on that watch..I usually set mine so I only see or hear the heart rate alarm, every mile or K is marked off, you don’t need to confirm that it’s exactly 26.2 miles, other people do that..and it’s your first, you’re not trying to win…have fun and enjoy the day…..a friend just did a race that was really scenic, and was always looking straight ahead…image racing NYC and not seeing everyone peeing off the side of the Verrazano Bridge!?

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To the reader asking about prolapse.. head over to GetMomStrong and see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. GMS is an amazing workout program/community especially designed for women who have diastasis recti and prolapse (although you can do it if you don’t as well. She has an active Instagram account too.

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I love her account! Thank you for the help, Janelle. Have a beautiful day.

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