Running Your First Marathon – Dos and Don’ts

Your best friend signed up for Pinkathon, and you decided to join her. But now you’re having second thoughts about your ability to run that far. Don’t worry; you are not the only one. Marathons have caught the fancy of many people these days. Many of us join in without adequate preparation and end up injuring ourselves in the process. What we need to realize is that preparing for strenuous activities like marathons takes time and dedicated effort. However, it is not an impossible task. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you prepare for your first marathon.

Before the Marathon

Start training ASAP

No one should participate in a strenuous activity like a marathon without adequate training. Experts advise at least 16 weeks of regular practice if you want to participate in a marathon.


However, if you have enough time on your hand then start as soon as you can. The more time you give to your body to train, the better it is. Start training by running a few kilometers initially and slowly increase your distance as your stamina increases. Do not overstrain your body as this could lead to injuries.

Train with a friend

It is much easier to train if you have a partner. Check on the net if there is a group of running enthusiasts in your neighborhood and join them. Alternatively, you can encourage your friends to participate in the same marathon and train together.

Invest in good running shoes

Invest in good quality running shoes before you begin your training. Ask your friends who are already into the sport or check online for recommendations. Sport specialty stores like Decathlon have many viable options for you to choose from.

Eat right

Eating right is as important as training when it comes to preparing for a marathon. Eat high protein food to build up your muscle strength. Avoid empty calories. Eat food that gives you more nutrition per bite.

Whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats and lots of fruits (they are a good source of vitamins and minerals) should become a part of your daily diet.

Experts recommend that you should eat adequately all through the day while training. Don’t under eat as that may leave you low on energy. Overeating, on the other hand, will slow down your running time.

Don’t wear new gear

Decide what you want to wear on the day of the marathon a weak or two before the event. Wear the complete gear and go for a run at least two or three times. Make sure everything has been washed before the main event.

Relax a week before

Relax a week before the marathon. Don’t do anything too strenuous. Keep your runs easy and your workouts relaxed. You do not want to injure or overstrain your body so close to the event.

Eat a light dinner

On the day before the marathon eat a light dinner. Do not stuff yourself with dense calorie food. It will not help, in fact, it may make you sluggish. What will help is the highly nutritious diet you have been having over the last few weeks.

Sleep Well

Sleep well and relax the night before the marathon. Easier said than done, right. Well, if you can’t sleep the night before the marathon, don’t stress over it. It will not make much of a difference to your performance the next day. Read a book or listen to some music and relax.

first marathon info graphic

On Marathon Day

So, your training is complete, and all the preparations are over. It’s time for you relax and be all set for the marathon next day. Here’s what you must remember on the day of the event.

Eat a light breakfast

Don’t skip your breakfast on marathon day no matter how nervous you may be. On the flip side, don’t overdo your breakfast either. Ensure that there is enough time gap between the breakfast and the race.

Reach the venue on time

Make sure that you reach the venue on time. Keep in mind that there may be extra traffic on the day of the marathon and plan accordingly. Ask a friend to drive you to the venue so that you can focus all your energies on the race.

Wear protective clothing

Most marathons start early in the day, so it is essential to cover up. Wear something warm that you don’t mind losing during the race.

Don’t forget to stretch

Warm up and stretch before the race. Don’t overdo the warm up. Also, don’t stretch till you have warmed up.

Start slowly

Don’t get caught up in the excitement of the event and use up all your energy in the first few kilometres. This can make the rest of the race a truly exhausting experience. Start slow and build up your pace steadily.

Keep your ego in check

During the race, you will find people overtaking you. They may be shorter, older, or fatter than you. Don’t let this hurt your ego. Don’t try to compete with them. Stick to your plan and finish the race.

Enjoy the experience

Remember why you signed up in the first place. Do not stress over the time limit you may have set for yourself. Enjoy the experience and focus on finishing the marathon.

After the event

The day of the marathon arrived. You ran the race and enjoyed yourself thoroughly. Here are some tips for what to do when the event is over.


Change out of your sweaty race kit as soon as you can.


Don’t sit down immediately after the race or you may end up with muscle cramps. Walk for a few minutes at a steady pace instead.



Have some high energy snack and drink after you finish the race.

Cheer the other runners

Go back to the course and cheer the other runners for the perfect end to a wonderful experience.


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