The Runners Guide
Runner's Guide Home  | Running Forum | Newsletter Signup  | Running Blog | About Me
Marathon Training
Marathon Checklist
Your First Marathon
- When And How To Start Training
- Essential Marathon Gear
- Race Day - Running The Marathon
- Recovering From A Marathon
Ultra Marathons
Mental Training
Warm Weather Running Tips
Cross Training
Weight Lifting For Distance Runners
Staying Hydrated
Running Gear
Masters Running
Runner Training
Diet And Nutrition For Runners
Benefits Of Running
How To Lose Weight Running

Running Your First Marathon - Race Day

Marathon Training Books

There is one thing which first time marathon runners as well as experienced marathon runners should have in common. This similarity is the runner should have a well devised plan of action for completing the marathon. This plan may be different for novice runners than it is for more experienced runners but both types of runners should have a plan established which will enable them to achieve their goals and complete the race successfully. This plan of action for completing a marathon should include eating adequately before the race, remaining hydrated during the race, eating during the race and maintaining a pace which will not cause the runner to overtire but will allow him to meet or exceed his race day goals.

The pre-race meal is a very important part of a successful marathon. This is important because a marathon is an event which is very taxing on the body and is also an event which requires a great deal of energy. Most marathons begin relatively early in the morning which means a breakfast meal is typically the type of meal marathon runners consume before the event. This meal should be substantial enough to provide the runner with an adequate amount of energy but should not be heavy enough to cause the runner to be uncomfortable during the course of the run. Many runners find a meal which consists of mostly carbohydrates to be an ideal pre-race meal; however, other runners may prefer to consume a more equal mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat before a marathon. A meal consisting of a bagel and a banana seems to work well for many marathon runners but some runners are capable of eating a full breakfast including eggs or pancakes before a marathon. Experimenting with different pre-race meals should be part of the training process. The runner may wish to try a few different breakfast options before various training runs to help him select a meal which provides him with a sufficient amount of energy but does not upset his stomach. The pre-race meal should also include a fair amount of liquids. Water as well as electrolyte replacement drinks are typically good choices for most runners but again other runners may prefer milk, coffee or even flat soda before a marathon. Again, the runner should experiment with different beverage options during training.

Remaining hydrated throughout the course of the marathon is another very important issue for first time marathon issues. In many ways this issue becomes more important for novice runners than it is for elite athletes. This is because many novice runners participating in their first marathon take substantially longer to complete the marathon than more seasoned athletes. This additional time on the marathon course means the runner is exposed to the elements for longer, is expending more energy and is losing water through sweat and respiration for a longer period of time. This additional amount of time puts the novice runner at an increased risk for dehydration. Most marathons provide aid stations throughout the course which provide runners with water or electrolyte replacement drinks. Some marathons may offer both water and electrolyte drinks at every aid station and may have aid stations as often as every mile while other marathons may only offer electrolyte drinks at certain aid stations and offer these aid stations less frequently.

First time runners are advised to drink water or electrolyte replacement drinks at every aid station whether they feel thirsty or not. This will help to prevent the runner from becoming dehydrated. The runner may not consume a full glass of water or other beverage at each aid station but should consume at least some of the liquid. The runner should also be careful to avoid consuming too much water during the course of the marathon. Drinking too much water can result in a couple of different problems. The least serious problems which may occur include the need to urinate frequently as well as bloating. However, a much more serious condition can also occur. This condition is known as hyponotremia and occurs when the salt content of the blood becomes diluted and may impact the function of the muscles, heart and brain. To avoid this problem, first time marathon runners should be sure to consume electrolyte replacement drinks throughout the course of the event instead of only drinking water. First time runners are advised to familiarize themselves with the replacement drink which will be offered on the course to ensure they are accustomed to drinking this beverage while running. This is significant because many runners find food and beverages taste differently when they are running so it is important to be sure you can tolerate the replacement drink while running. If you are unable to do so it may be necessary for you to carry your own supply of replacement drink.

Eating during a marathon is another aspect of marathon running which is often difficult for first time marathon runners. Those who are planning to participate in their first marathon should practice eating while running and should experiment with different foods to determine which foods are most palatable while running. Foods such as bananas, jello and pretzels as well as energy replacement bars and gels are commonly offered at aid stations during marathons. However, runners may wish to carry other foods which they find to be helpful during running. This is largely a matter of personal preference. Some runners may prefer to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while running while other runners may find other types of foods to be more appealing during a marathon.

Properly pacing yourself is also very important for first time marathon runners. One of the most common problems first time marathoners often experience is running at a pace which is too quick during the first couple of miles of the marathon. This often happens because the runner has a great deal of adrenalin and gets caught up running with other runners who are capable of maintaining a faster pace. Wearing a speed and distance monitor and carefully controlling your pace to follow your established race plan will help to prevent first time runners from being swept up and overexerting themselves early in the race. Another way to avoid this problem is to position yourself carefully at the start of the marathon. Many large marathons have signs posted at the start line indicating the approximate pace of runners starting in a particular area. This will help to ensure you are starting near others who have a similar ability and are aiming for a similar pace.



The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

Want More Great Running Info?

Sign Up For The Runner's Guide Newsletter And Great
Great Running Tips Delivered Straight To Your Inbox


Your Email Is Safe With Us - We Don't Share Your Info Or Spam

Have A Question?  Be sure to stop by the running forum to get your questions answered by our running experts and be sure to join in the discussion.