Followed Training Plan
Took Good Care of Myself in the months leading up
Asked for Advice
This might be one of the best things I did! If only 1% of the world has successfully run a marathon, I seem to know a huge percentage of those people. I asked for advice every chance I got, and everyone was so generous to share with me. Thank you to each of you who took the time to help and encourage me!
Made Brand New Play List
I had been listening to podcasts and audio books during training runs, since I train alone. But for the race itself, I made a huge playlist of songs that I loved, and I saved it for the big day. It was SO motivating to be looking forward to each song for the entire race.
Ran My Own Race
This probably the advice I saw most often. Besides the couple hundred other people marathoning that day, I ran with four friends. We knew from the outset that we would not stay together, which was 100% good with all of us. Based on training paces, I knew that I was probably going to be the slowest of the girls (and I was!). It was really difficult to not want to speed up at the beginning to keep up, but I knew that finishing healthy was my first goal. I had trained my long runs at about a 12:45 to 13:30 pace, and while I did end up running faster than that on race day, I forced myself to stick with my own pacing. It is not easy on the pride, but I am glad that I did.
Did Not Push for a Time Goal
Because this was my first marathon, I worked really hard not to put any pressure on myself to finish faster than I had trained. Everything I read said that during a training cycle, you can really only successfully focus on increasing distance, or speed, not both. Obviously I was substantially growing my endurance and distance, so speed took a backseat. I would love to cut about 30 minutes off my time next time around, but for my first time, I am glad I made myself take it slow! I finished with no injuries, no lingering pain, no weak or exhausted feeling. I actually felt pretty normal, with the exception of some muscle soreness.
Followed All Traditional Advice
If you spend ten minutes looking up marathon tips, you know all this: no new clothes or shoes, no new fuel or foods, don't go out too fast in the beginning (note: this is almost impossible).
All in all, my first marathon training cycle and the race itself were such an awesome goal to have taken on! I am SO glad I jumped in and just made the decision that I could do it despite the short amount of training time.
What was the best advice you received about your first longer-distance race? How did your training season go this year?