You only get one first marathon and it is almost always a steep learning curve, regardless of how much you've trained for the event. In fact, whether you have run a marathon before or not these tips could help you make the most of your experience and it never hurts to remind yourself of the basics.
Feel Good Before Looking Good
A marathon is no casual event, especially one as prestigious as the London Marathon and so it stands to reason that you want to look good. There's nothing wrong with this of course however it is important to make sure your outfit for the day is adequately worn in and suitable for the weather. I've seen people turn up on race day with a brand new pair of unbroken running shoes which look great and yet result in agonising blisters by mile nine. Don't make the same mistake.
Eating during a race is a real thing. It is ok to fuel up at regular intervals and Is smart to do so before you feel your energy reserves start to drop. If you wait it can take longer for you to get back to where you want to be and you may lose momentum. Similarly stay hydrated. The first aid stops are perfect places to slow down for a proper drink that will refresh and keep you going until your next scheduled stop. During training you'll soon be able to work out when fuelling up works best for you.
Training solo or with a partner for a marathon is not the same as competing on the day alongside hundreds of others, all wanting to do better than you and the rest of their competition. It Is important that you plan to succeed, that you have a goal in mind time-wise however it is important that you also remember that this is your first outing. You won't know how you'll feel at a large event such as a marathon until you're doing it and so you need to cut yourself some slack. If you don't hit a personal best during your first marathon or even come close celebrate finishing, celebrate having the nerve to try and treat it as another training run and learn from it.
If you are getting ready for your first marathon you have already succeeded. Of course it is normal to suffer from some pre-race jitters and to be worried about how you'll cope however at the end of the day you need to remember that you are running for you and you need to remember to enjoy yourself. You're running your first marathon! Smile, recognise your achievement and enjoy yourself, you've earned it!
Tomorrow (24th April) I have clients running the London Marathon; no mean feat and I wish them the very best. They've certainly worked hard and regardless of the time they make tomorrow they've already succeeded to have got to where they are today (although obviously I hope they do well and thoroughly enjoy the experience). I myself will be taking part in the Tough Mudder London West on the 30th April and I'm very much looking forward to running (and possibly sliding about a bit!) with other runners and enjoying the experience.
If you're taking part in either of these events or any race over the next week or so have a great time and good luck!