Top 10 Marathon Tips

As marathon season is upon us let’s talk marathon tips. Throughout this blog I will provide a short top 10 tips for running a marathon. I’m assuming you have already booked a marathon at this stage, if you haven’t and you are not sure whether you are ready, then please take a look at my blog “So you want to run a marathon“. Im sure you will sign up afterwards. Also, once you get to marathon weekend, please take a look at “what to expect on marathon race day“. For now, here are my top 10 tips:

Having fun in London Marathon

1) Don’t forget your long runs:

Running marathons are hard, no matter what you do, but the more you are used to the distance, the better it is. If I could give just one tip for running a marathon it would be get used to the distance.

2) Taper:

We can get into a nervous state leading up to a marathon, often referred to as “maranoia”. It is really important to make sure you taper, by reducing miles and intensity leading up to the event. Don’t worry, you won’t lose all your fitness. You need to give your body time to rest and be at it’s best come race day. Remember that when it comes to the expo and shake out runs.

Pushing to the finish at Berlin Marathon

3) Be prepared:

You will be nervous enough when it comes to race day, so take away unnecessary anxiety and be prepared. Make sure you know all the final details. What kit will you wear, how will you get to the start, where is the start? Do you need sunglasses, warm clothes before the start. Do you have protection from chafing? I would suggest writing yourself a little checklist of things you need to plan for, and work it all out in advance of race day.

4) Hydrate and fuel properly before you start:

Make sure you go to the start fuelled well. In the days leading up to the event make sure you are hydrated and top up on carbohydrates. Race morning ensure you have a good breakfast, something you have practice with, and start full of energy.

Enjoying the sun in Miami Marathon

5) Pace yourself:

Needless to say, I am a strong believer in pacing yourself. Make sure you know what your target time is and run and even pace. You will feel so much better and are much more likely to hit your target if you pace yourself well. Take a look at my blog about “Getting your pace right“.

Leading the pack at Chicago Marathon

6) Have a nutrition strategy and stick to it:

Don’t just rely on the nutrition on course. Or if you do at least make sure you have practiced with it. It’s best to train with nutrition, have a strategy of when you will take gels etc, and make sure you remember to do it. Remember that you have come to the start fuelled well, you need to keep this up. Don’t wait until you feel like you need it, as this is nearly always too late.

7) Dont be afraid to walk:

As the legend Dean Karnazes said: “Run when you can,walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.

People get caught up on what others think, or believing that you must run the whole way. In life so the best you can. If you complete a marathon, then you cover the same distance as everyone else, it doesn’t matter how you get there, just do your best and keep moving forward.

Finish line feels at New York Marathon

8) Know the course:

The best way to have a great experience is to know what is coming. Don’t leave it to chance, and turn a corner to an unexpected hill, or be waiting for miles for the next water station. Know what to expect, when is there a hill coming, when is the next water station. By doing this you can mentally break down the course, and set your own milestones.

9) Enjoy every minute:

Once you get to race day, the training is over, and it becomes a mental test. Smile, embrace it and enjoy yourself, as trust me, it makes it easier. 26.2 miles is a long way if you aren’t enjoying yourself. If you believe yourself, take in the crowds, you will find it feels much shorter.

Waiting to share hugs at London Marathon

10) Remember you are amazing…

It’s easy to forget this when you are in the running community, because we are all doing it right, but remember, running a marathon isn’t normal, it’s not something everyone does, you are amazing. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

10 thoughts on “Top 10 Marathon Tips

  1. Oh these are all brilliant: spot on as always! I’ve had to withdraw from my club reserve place for London (fortunately, both our runners seem on it) and will not be doing my DIY mara in May although I’m hoping to still do my canals one in August. But having done 4 maras and an ultra I heartily agree with all of these. Having a fuelling strategy has meant I’ve never hit the wall in any of those.


  2. Do lots of hill training, even if there are no hills on the race course.
    Don’t start off too fast. May have to force yourself to start off slower than what is comfortable.


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