How to Make your First Marathon a Success?

Run United Philippine Marathon is getting closer. I know, most runners will be a part of the history. I would like to congratulate you now for making it this far!

Anyway, for those who will be running a marathon, especially if it's your first time, let me share some tips on how to make it a success.

1. Don't do too much before the big day. Relax your legs and mind. You can try watching your favorite movies or do other light things you love to do to relax.

2. Don't stress over sleep. Try to get a good night’s sleep before race day, but chances are you won’t. Anyway, the amount of sleep you get before a race is not a big factor on how you’ll perform. As long as you've been sleeping well during the previous week, your body will have plenty of energy to draw from.

3. Do not carboload too much. Have a big meal at lunch the day before the race, but take it easy on dinner. A big meal so close to the race  may cause stomach issues.

4. Hydrate yourself properly. Do not over hydrate. Too much fluid will take you frequently to the bathroom especially when the race is about to start.

5. Never experiment on a race day. Don’t try something new during the race. Stick with the same gels, bars, and gummies that you’ve used throughout your training.

6. Wear only clothes designed for running - shorts, shirt, socks, sport's bra and so on. Make sure that you already tried it while training. Wearing cotton is a big NO! Apply lubricants/petroleum jelly to chafing-prone areas and blister powder for your feet as well.

7. Show up early at the venue. Let yourself have a plenty of time to stretch, fuel up, and relax before the gun start.

8. Run at your own pace. It’s tempting to run with your training buddy, but it's better to run solo so you have your freedom for the whole race. Both of you surely don't need water or portalet stops at the same time. And what will happen when one is still strong and the other starts to lag? That would be awkward!

9. Keep hydrated but watch out for hyponatremia. It occurs when you drink so much water in which you dilute the sodium levels in your blood, and it can be life-threatening. Symptoms are very similar to those of dehydration, part of the reason it’s so dangerous. To avoid hyponatremia, take adequate sodium with your fluids, in the form of sports drinks, gels, salty snacks, or even salt tablets.

10. Race the way you train. If you're training doing intervals (run-walk), it's better that you stick with it than to risk running all the way from start to finish.

11. Start Slow, Finish Strong. Don’t let excitement and adrenaline get the best of you. Every minute too fast that you run the first half, you’ll lose about two minutes in the second half.

12. Enjoy every minute of it. Those last few kilometers will hurt, and you’ll have to endure. You didn’t choose to do this because you thought it would feel good. Whatever your reason, it goes far deeper than the physical. You’re doing something different; cherish every moment. Run with your heart.

13. Never set a time goal. If you’re like me, this is impossible. But if you can, make your goal like just to finish the race and enjoy the fact that you’re doing something you never did before. Leave the extra stress of a time goal for your next one.

14. Cool down. A cool down jog or walk around the runners village will help.

15. Don't forget to RICE! Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. To help mitigate muscle soreness, consider taking an ice bath once you've finished the race.
I hope you'd learn a lot from this post. See you on the road. Cheers! :)

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