Marathons are long-distance runs done by individuals as a road race with an official distance of 42.195 kilometers or approximately 26 miles 385 yards. This is considered an Olympic sport; however, many annual marathon races are done worldwide. Marathons for the masses have been going since the 1980s, and a few have been prepared as a commemorative event or for a charitable cause.
A marathon is considered an achievement for so many people no matter the gender. Since a marathon is a test of skill and endurance, there are people who consider running a marathon as their pinnacle of success. Since many individuals consider running a marathon as a goal, they will train and build around their routines to achieve it. However, many first-timers do not have an inkling of what to do before, during, and after a marathon. Read on as this list covers the basic dos and don’ts that a first-timer should know when running a marathon.
Before A Marathon
Mental Preparation Is Key
First-timers will already have a certain goal in their minds, and then the nervousness kicks in almost immediately. This is why mental preparedness is key. Have a positive outlook before and during the race since this will help you cross the finish line. It’s not about the time; it’s about finishing—so don’t worry! Take a deep breath any time the nervousness kicks in, and remember to have fun.
Relax and Do Not Overtrain
As a first-timer, there’s a tendency to overthink and thus overtrain the body. Physically preparing is all about knowing when it’s too little or too much training! When the marathon is near, be prepared to relax. It’s better to be undertrained a week before the marathon to help the muscles relax too. A gentle run before the day is recommended, however, just to keep the blood pumping.
Buy the Right Shoes
This step is extremely important! Knowing what kind of shoes fit your feet the best for long-distance running is essential in keeping you in the game since comfort is key over performance. Do not just go out and buy the latest popular shoes. Research on what shoe fits best to your foot type since there are shoes made for the shape of the soles of the feet and the position of the feet on how you run. Test run the shoes and make sure they are comfortable for you. Do not run with newly bought gear—the blisters will hurt.
Now that you have the right shoes, it is important to know what other items are essential when on the marathon. A small belt bag for runners that can house your keys, phone, and water bottle can be worn during the marathon so it’s best to prep this beforehand. Tights and or dry-fit clothing are best for these runs to avoid any unnecessary chafing. There’s even a great running gear checklist online that you can download and print to make sure everything is prepared before you go.
Tape Up and Grease Up
Because of the length and duration of a marathon, it is important to come prepared with precautionary measures for the muscles. KT Tape, or kinesiology tape, is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain while supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The lymphatic fluids that is produced in your body after exercise can cause major injuries when not attended to. This is why it is important to do stretching before and after intense workouts or long drawn-out physical activities like a marathon. The tape is essential in keeping muscles supported especially when used on important areas of the legs and knees. Greasing up is using Vaseline around the thighs to avoid chafing. The tape is also recommended to be used on the nipples to prevent nipple chafing.
During a Marathon
Do Not Overhydrate
During the marathon, water stations are placed around the course for all the runners. Although this may seem like a great idea to stop for a gulp, it is important to note that when running, it is better to only take small sips of water. The purpose of this is not to hydrate but rather to just give your mouth and throat a little lubrication when it feels dry. Do not try to drink too much to avoid unnecessary toilet breaks.
Run with a Friend
A great way to pace for the first-time runner is to have a friend during the run. First-timer marathoners can get more distance in when someone else is along with them for the journey. Long-distance running requires a lot of determination and endurance so that little push one can get when a friend is there may just be all they need to make sure they cross the finish line. Don’t forget to have fun!
After a Marathon
Stretch and Roll
Stretching is just as important after the marathon. Make sure you do some cool-down stretching after you’ve crossed the finish line. Simple stretches can ensure your muscles don’t burst since they do stiffen up after all that physical activity. Do dynamic stretches to increase elasticity and reduce stiffness for the chest, calves, glutes, and hamstrings since these are the muscles that have been doing all the work. A foam roller is also recommended since these will squeeze out any knots and lactic acid build-up in the muscles.
Reward Yourself and Eat Well
After a marathon, do not forget to reward yourself for a job well done! Give yourself a pat on the back and thank all those involved for taking care of you while you gave it your all. Listen to what your body wants and fulfill these wishes. Eat good food! After all that carbo-loading, it’s high time to reward yourself with the best-tasting food you could ever want. Congratulations on finishing the race!
Anything done for the first time can be overwhelming especially running a marathon! Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the experience. It’s all about finishing what you started. Now on to the next one!
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