Running your first race can be really exciting, but also be a little intimidating. Here are 10 things NOT to do for your first marathon:
Don’t wear your race day clothes for the first time on race day! Run in your race day attire before race day to make sure nothing chafes or feels uncomfortable. That new running skirt at the expo looks super cute, but save it for later, don’t chance being miserable your whole race.
Don’t fuel up on salad the day before! If you want to avoid the nasty race day port-a-potties, avoid lots of salad (or any high fiber food) a few days before the race. Salad is a main staple of my diet, but for 2 days before a marathon I don’t eat it as a meal. Stick to easy to digest carbs and lean proteins. Chicken breast and rice is one of my favorites. You need sustained energy without GI issues.
Don’t buy compression socks at the expo and wear them for the first time at the race! Compression socks are something you need to try out before you run in them. They aren’t for everyone. You also don’t want to end up with a blister from a new sock.
Don’t wear your really nice jacket or sweatshirt to the start on race morning! (Unless you plan on leaving it behind and donating it) Trust me, you will get warm and you don’t want anything bulking tied around you. Instead use mylar blankets or clothes that can be left behind. Here is the link to the mylar blankets on Amazon:Mylar Thermal Blankets (10 Pack) . You can get a 10 pack for around $7. I always keep my eyes out on the Target clearance rack because sometimes they have warm jackets or sweatshirts on sale for only a couple dollars.
Don’t come out of the gates too quick! Know your pace going into the race and stick with it. It is really easy to get caught up in the excitement and energy when the race starts and then you realize you are running an 8:30 mile instead of a 10 min mile, but don’t do that. You have a long race to run and you don’t want to burn yourself out in the first 3 miles. Steady pace wins the race.
Don’t run side by side with all your friends! I love seeing groups of people running together and hearing them encourage one another, but not when they are running 4 abreast. This means everyone that comes up behind you has to try to dodge and weave around you, which is no fun for anyone.
Don’t pass up the water stations! You need to hydrate when running that far and that long. You don’t have to finish every cup of water, but drink some. A good rule of thumb is that if you wait until you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. Hydrate early and often.
Don’t ignore your body! If something is hurting, listen to it. Every race has medical tents along that way that stock vaseline, tylenol, bandaids, ice, and advice. Listen to your body and take care of yourself.
Don’t pass up all the scenery! My one regret during my first race was not enjoying my surroundings more. I was so focused on my pace, hydration, fuel schedule, and mileage that I didn’t enjoy everything I was running past.
Don’t forget to have fun! You trained for this. You toed the line. You are running a race that most people never will. Take it all in and have fun.