Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tips for a Great Marathon Day Experience

You’ve just pressed enter after entering your Name, Address, Birth date, Phone Number and a bunch of other data that the Marathon Entry Application required. What now? You can wing the next several months trying to train and plan, but my suggestion is to plan to have a Great Marathon Day Experience.

For a few elite people who are running a Marathon, it’s their profession. They get paid to run, and run fast indeed!

For the rest of the Marathon population, we have some very fast people, and have very interesting lives. Running is part of who they are and what the do and most enjoy it. For many people, doing a Marathon will be their first time. The Marathon is a life long dream to do, part of a bucket list, or part of a goal to become healthier.

The rest of this article is really for those who want to have a Great Marathon Day Experience. I hope I included tips for beginners and the very experienced marathoners to use.

After you probably contemplated about doing a marathon for quite sometime, what now? There are many things you might have overlooked or never thought about, but here is a checklist that I came up with for a Great Marathon Day Experience.

Your Marathon Experience starts as soon as you click enter on the bottom of the application. For some of you, you probably said, “What did I just do?” For others, you might have felt an empty pit in your belly. And others would feel excitement and joy. In any case, you’re in and your going to be on a ride unlike anything you have done before.

The following are some suggestion that can help you make the most of your special day:

Be physically fit to run
  • Just like any physically activity, get checked by your healthcare professional team to determine that you are healthy enough to run, especially a marathon

Mental Preparations-Get your mind ready for running
  • Even before you take your first step, remember why you signed up in the first place. Write that reason down and put it everywhere to remind yourself, the why!
  • Let everyone you know that you are doing the marathon, and you will see an overwhelming show of support!

Training-Get on those running shoes and take one step at a time
  •  Go to a running store and be fitted with a good pair of running shoes
  • Warming up with active stretches or ballistic stretches that warm up the muscles and stretch them at the same time.
  • Find a running group-sometime you might want some motivation and run with someone. You can Google and find a local club to train with
  • Preparing your routes-have an idea of where you are going so that you know where you might take a break or get some water. Become a Member and get access to Free Running Cue Sheets and Printed Running Maps You will have an idea of how far you are running.
  • Get a training plan and do your best to follow it. Those programs have been proven to work so stick with it.
  • Make sure you rest when you are suppose to
  • Include some cross training in your plan
  • Find a running coach if you feel the need, they can be a valuable resource

Transportation to the Start
  • Know how you are getting there. For New York, you must reserve a bus or ferry ride to get to the start. Usually the roads leading to the Start will be closed to any traffic

Lodging and Restaurants
  • Reserve a room as soon as you sign up for the race-hotels can book up very fast.
  • Find a hotel near the start of finish, so you don’t have to walk far to get back to the room
  • Pasta Night-basically you want to be carbing up during the week prior to the race, however do not gorge. The event’s Pasta Night is fun, however don’t expect a 5 star meal

Expo and Bib Pick Up
  • Limit your time at the Expo, you want to be well rested and you can end up walking for hours up and down the aisle in search of goodies
  • Have your waiver printed before hand and bring official identification

  • Attend to any injuries immediately, so that the little twinge doesn’t become a big problem
  • Know your limitations
  • Ice and ice baths especially long runs

Equipment Gear
  • Prepare to run without your iPod-you really want to pay attention to the road and your body
  • Write your name on your shirt-so spectators will shout out your name to carry you to the next mile
  • Double knot your laces
  • Running Watch can keep track of your time, pace, mileage, and heart rate
  • Safety Pins
  • Garbage bags to cover your feet if it’s wet at the starters village, you don’t want to run with muddy shoes when you start
  • Skin Protectant such as Body Glide to reduce chaffing.
  • Bandaids
  • Shoe wallet

Clothing should be moisture wicking products
  • Determine what the weather will be planned – cold or warm weather gear.
  • Hat or headband
  • Special underwear
  • Special socks
  • Gloves
  • Arm warmers or a long pair of tube socks

Food to keep you going. Experiment on your long training runs, not on race day
  • Gels-Powergels, GU, Cliff Shots, Hammer…
  • Gummy Bears
  • Jelly Beans
  • Some people carry water, it all depends on the event. NYC has water at every mile except for the first mile because you are over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

Know the course or at least be familiar with it
  • Print out a copy of the course
  • Some events have a bus tour
  • Drive the course if possible

A few days before the race
  • Rest because you probably won’t get too much sleep the night before the race
  • Continue what you’ve been doing for the past several months, do not try anything new during the race. You don’t want to be surprised with a belly ache just before the race
  • Write or screen-print your name on your shirt, so the crowd can shout out, “Way to go! _______ !”

The night before the race
  • Attach your bid to your shirt or singlet
  • Lay out all the clothes, food and gear you plan on wearing
  • Set your alarm on your clock radio, your watch, your cell phone, or hotel wake up call just make sure you wake up.
  • Go to sleep, well try to go to sleep 

Just before the start
  • Double knot your shoes
  • Do your warm up routine
  • Remove any excess clothes that you think you will not need. All Marathons donate all of the left over clothing at the start
  • Prep your watch to begin when you cross the starting line

During the run
  • Smile
  • Be relaxed
  • High five the spectators
  • Acknowledge those who yell out your name
  • Continue what you’ve been doing for the past several months, do not try anything new during the race.
  • Don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of guys and the occasional girl run to the side and go pee
  • If you feel any pain, stop and seek medical assistance
  • Don’t be surprised at all the spectators cheering you on

Bowing out, there’s nothing wrong to say that you can’t make all 26.2
  • Just don’t leave the course without notifying race professionals

I hope some of these tips will make your Marathon Experience an awesome one. Let me know if you used any of these tips. For more tips, please visit


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