You’re getting settled on the start line, as runners are jostling for space. You find a spot and wait with bated breath as one of the race officials raises the start gun. The loud bang echoes through the crowd and you’re off on your first marathon.
All your training has prepared you for this moment, but there are a few things that you often don’t know or forget to think about during that long road to the finish line. So grab your Fitbit and don’t forget your headband as we take you through a few things to remember when it comes to running your first marathon.
Run to Your Rhythm
With so many runners around, you can lose focus on what it is you came to do – “Maybe I should pick up the pace, it looks like I’m falling behind.” While you may be tempted to speed up because of what’s happening around you, listen to your body and know what you’re capable of. If you’re running your first marathon, chances are you’re not looking for a podium finish, but to just finish. Stay focused on what it is you came to accomplish.
You’re Never Really Going at it Alone
Marathon running can feel like a pretty lonely undertaking (sorry ladies and gents, this isn’t a team sport, no blaming your team mates here), but it doesn’t have to be. Even the greatest runners had to start somewhere and there’s comfort in knowing that there are runners around you who are also running their first marathon. Find a group of runners to run with or see if runners from your local running club are taking part.
“Awesome! When is the next one?”
While the word ‘awesome’ may not suitably describe what you’re feeling (weary, sore and astounded), or what you’ve just put yourself through, in a day or two you may start to think when is the next race. When the cramp, fatigue and chafing have finally passed, the running bug may have bitten you, and pretty soon you will be planning and training for your next marathon.
It’s Not All About the Running
Surely Mo Farah had some fun before he was tearing it up on the world stage? While you may not have ambitions to be Mo Farah or Halie Gebrselassie (just yet…), marathon running and marathon weekends are about more than just the run. Marathon weekends are growing in popularity and runners are looking past the tired legs and blistered heels, and towards the fun-filled activities, friendly people and a weekend away. If something isn’t fun, it’s not sustainable, so make the best out of your marathon weekend.
Those Highs and Lows (No we’re not talking about the route)
That ‘wall’ may be metaphorical, but you’re going to hit it at one point or another during your run (just ask Mo and Halie). Running a full-marathon or half-marathon comes with its own bag of emotions (not included in your running bag at sign up). Thoughts of “How long to go?”, “Hey, I’m glad I signed up for this.” and “Hey, why did I sign up for this?” may come to mind as the miles pass by. Although swearing under your breath may occur at the 15 mile mark, it’s not all about the lows, there are unforgettable highs as well (i.e. making it across that finish line for the first time).
Once you’ve take up the challenge of running your first marathon I’m sure you will have plenty to add to this list. Blistered heels and tired legs come with the challenge of a marathon, but there’s so much more to enjoy at marathon weekends. As long as you pack some plasters and keep these thoughts in mind, then you could be signing up for your next marathon pretty soon.
The Econet Victoria Falls Marathon and Kilimanjaro Premium Lager Marathon are two great marathons set in two of Africa’s most breathtaking destinations. These marathons promise fun-filled weekends not to be missed. For more information visit our websites (links above) or contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.