Marathon Tips

October 24, 2012

Now that I have a few marathons under my belt, I feel as though I can offer some advice.

For those of us who have run a marathon before (or any race for that matter), we know we need to practice taking in calories during our training runs, we are aware we don’t want to do anything different the morning of the race (this includes wearing new clothes or trying different foods the night before), and most importantly, we need to train. . . . .a lot.

In addition to these things, I wanted to share some other tips I have learned along the way.

1. Do not over dress.

It was 30* at the start of the Twin Cities Marathon, and I was heming and hawing all weekend about what to wear. It was so hard to think that I could survive in anything less than a snowsuit, but I regret wearing the capris and long sleeve shirt I did. I wasn’t hot, but I do wish I would have worn a tank top + arm warmers and shorts + compression socks.

Once the sun came really helped. Plus the large pack of runners at the beginning of the race, surprisingly, provided a considerable amount of heat!

2. Have your fans hold something big and bright.

I missed seeing my family once because the sidelines were packed with spectators that everyone blended together. That is unless you were the ones holding a large smiley face balloon, a bright red umbrella, or a neon green sign—drums or bag pipes would also work.

3. Run the tangents.

I believe most courses are measured by the tangents, so minimize running extra by not weaving from one side of the road to the other. Look ahead and run in a straight line from point ‘a’ to point ‘b.’

My Garmin read 26.42 miles at the end of the race, which means I ran almost an extra 1/4 mile. That may not seem like much in the grand scheme of 26 miles, but I may have been able to cut 90 seconds to 2 minutes off my time!

(My sister smiling at mile 20—of her first marathon!)

4. Wear a garbage bag until the race starts, if the weather is chilly.

My friend Nate offered this bit of advice to me the night before the Twin Cities Marathon when we knew it was going to be a balmy 30* at the start. I knew about using a large black garbage bag if it is raining, but I didn’t know how much warmth it could provide if the weather is chilly! I ripped a hole in the bottom of the bag for my head and wore the garbage bag until the gun went off.



What pieces of advice do you have to offer?

    1. These are great tips, Michelle, I definitely need to work on eating/drinking during my longer training runs. I always think I have it down, but end up feeling nauseous by mile 18 of the marathon, and totally hit the wall.

      1. I just read in this month’s Runner World that you are supposed to consume 1000 calories before running the marathon. Yowzers! That’s a lot of calories. I don’t know if I could stomach that much before a race. I probably eat about 600??

    1. 1. Garmins are liars–especially in big city races with lots of buildings.

      2. It’s OK to be nervous.

      3. Keep your head up.

      4. Look behind you at water stops–especially if you like to slow down.

      5. Say, “thanks!” to the volunteers. If you don’t have the breath to say thanks in the first 13ish miles, you’re running too fast.

      6. Give at least one little kid a high five.

      1. Love them!
        1. Surprisingly I was able to pick up a signal at the start, but I did notice at mile 2 my pace was way off.
        2. I agree.
        3. Yes, you wouldn’t want to trip.
        4. YES!! Very important to remember. I get frustrated when people stop right in front of me!
        5. Definitely a good reminder.
        6. Haha! The kids are so funny.

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