Written by Ann Brennan
“She’s nervous,” Paula wrote, “Do you have any words of wisdom?”
Before my first marathon I read everything I could get my hands on – all of the tips and tricks that were printed in Runners’ World, everything that was in the Annapolis Strider’s newsletter, and anything else I could find.
There were so many things to learn. Don’t do anything on race day you haven’t done before. Don’t wear new clothes, eat new foods, or drink new drinks. When you get tired take ten big strides to fool your legs into thinking they are not tired. Break the race up into pieces – two ten milers and one 10k. Have fun. Thank the volunteers at each water station and road crossing. High-five the children who line the course. All of these tips were wonderful and very helpful.
But the one bit of advice I offer every new marathon I meet?
There is only one first time. Soak it all in. For me, that means you should start enjoying the moment now. Start thinking about what you want from the day and start visualizing every moment of it.
Think about how excited you are going to feel when you wake up. How you will calm your nerves by heading to the kitchen for your pre-race breakfast and sitting calmly with your thoughts. Think about that feeling in the pit of your stomach that will become more and more defined as you begin your drive to the race. The excitement of the crowd as you begin to do your warm up, the nervous laughter as you stand at the starting line and the relief you will feel as the gun goes off and you head out onto the course on your way to become a marathoner. Think about how you will feel as the miles click off, as the reality sets in and you realize you need to stay outside of your head and enjoy every bit of the day. Think about how you will feel when you start getting tired and the tricks you will use to get past that so you don’t miss a moment. Think about those last six miles when instead of thinking of how many miles you have run, you can begin thinking of how few you have left to go. Think of having that finish line in site, hearing the crowd, and raising your arms in victory because you are a marathon.
Picture all of this in your mind and enjoy it now so that you can enjoy it then.
There is only one first marathon and you are heading into that whirlwind now. Start enjoying it ahead of time, because on race day, it will pass in the blink of an eye.
Good luck Maggi. I know you are going to have a great race. I will be cheering for you.
If you like Ann’s Running Commentary – check out my cool new YouTube Channel. Do people still say that? Cool?