7 Marathon Tips To Finish Your First 26.2 Miler

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Marathon Tips

The best marathon tips I can possibly provide is 1) be patient in your preparation and 2) keep your enthusiasm, these two marathon tips will pay huge dividends down the road if you give yourself a chance.

I remember my first marathon back in 2002. I was scared to death.

I had never run further than a half-marathon (and that was in 2000), a 1.11.31 time-trial I had run with my teammate while attending Malone University.

I know many of you have never run a marathon. You wonder if you can even finish a marathon in the first place.

It isn’t as complicated and hard as you might think It simply takes some patience and the willingness to put in the mileage.

I have attached 7 simple marathon tips to help you finish your first attempt at the distance.

7 Marathon Tips Vital To Finish Your First 26.2 Marathon

#1 Don’t Be Afraid To Walk

I have been training for over 20 years and have been very serious with this sport for the 99.99% of that time, but if I were trying to finish my very first attempt at a 26.2 mile run I would expect to run a little and add in some walking simply to get to the finish line.

26 miles is a long way to race.

These are the form of marathon tips to finish and earn that medal at the end that I never received when I first began running.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, run the first 10 miles too fast and than call it a day at mile 12. Walking, if you must, is not a bad thing.

Our running community gives praise to the best runners yet overlooks the countless others out giving it their best.

If you have to walk, then walk, but keep going. Walk for 5 minutes, run for 10, walk for 5 minutes, run for 10 and repeat.

I don’t expect first time marathoners who  have never run more than a mile at once in their life before a marathon to run the entire 26 mile distance.

Focus on adding in additional miles during your build up but take your time.

Your first marathon doesn’t have to be a world-beating time. The fact that you are aiming to attempt one is already a huge accomplishment.

We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.- Emil Zatopek

#2 Be Persistent

It doesn’t matter if you have never run a step in your life.

The best marathon tip I can give is simply to be persistent

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There is no more important attribute needed to run a marathon than persistence. You have the ability, act everyday on it and you will accomplish finishing the 26.2 miler successfully.

#3 Run Longer

I tried the distance in 2002 on a whim as a  request to be a part of an armed forces marathon team that was running the New York City Marathon.

I didn’t know how to run a marathon, but what I did know that I needed to do, to attempt running a marathon, was to run longer. I knew that to be strong enough to handle completing the distance, running longer was what needed to be done.

You are aiming to run a 26.2 mile race so the more time you can spend running the greater stamina and endurance you will build leading into the your race. 

The best thing you can do is gradually lengthen the distance of your weekly long run. This will increase your endurance and give you added confidence, especially as you gain fitness, that 26.2 miles is not to be feared, but conquered.

#4 Let Go Of Worry And Just Give It A Shot

You need to get the monkey off your back and disregard any negative thought that comes to mind that you can’t accomplish this.

The biggest obstacle for many runners who are concerned that they are either not fit enough to run a marathon or will start and not be able to finish lies in fear.

This is what I want to help you with here at rundreamachieve.com.

I am here to tell you that once you let go of the worry of being unsure you can complete the distance, you will be that much closer to accomplishing your goal.

#5 Relax Your Body

This is probably one of best pieces of advice I ever received. Yes, you hear it often. Relax!

The truth is, if you can consciously practice keeping your muscles relaxed as your training and in your races, you will run much more economical (more effective) because it is very easy to untense a muscle. What do I mean?

How many times have you been out on a run or running in a race and noticed how tense your face was? It is probably safe to assume everyone reading this has done this.

How easy is it to simply loosen the tension in your face. A 2.14 Kenyan marathoner I trained with while in college gave me a great piece of advice when it came to relaxation,

Focus on keeping your face relaxed, when you relax your face, your entire body will follow -Gilbert Rutto

Simple advice that anyone can use to help assist them run a 26.2 mile race with less effort simply by monitoring how tense you are.

You can practice this on a daily basis and get better at it over time. It takes time, but is a great way to run more smoothly and not use any precious energy that you already need for attempting a marathon.

#6 Don’t Place Limits On Yourself

Listen, you already have far more capability than you are letting on. Runners all over the world run marathons.

This may be your first marathon but countless people do it every year across the globe. Why are you not capable?

I have tried for years to motivate people to enhance  their thought patterns when it comes to running.

My brother is one of those people who seems to have been born with multiple gifts. Running is what I have lived and breathed since I was 15. It is what I know.

The greatest thing I can do for another person is to get you out of your normal train of thought when it comes to running.

Let go of your internal limits and keep focusing on what you can control. Worrying that you are not capable of finishing a marathon is a total waste of your ability.

You are better. Think like the champion you are and let go of the worry. Take each day, concentrate on putting in the mileage and keep chopping at the tree.

#7 Hydrate Well Throughout The Race

The biggest mistake I have made it is not drinking enough fluid through the race. Will you still be able to finish.

Absolutely, but to minimize the agony, take hydration very seriously. In addition, don’t just grab a cup from the race volunteers at the aid stations, grab two or even three per station.

You can fine-tune your strategy prior to the start of the race by not being like some people (we won’t name names), who fail to drink enough and are croaking the last 10 miles of their race.

It will save you an enormous headache and create a much smoother path to the finish line.

You will not be worrying about a cramp and not neglected your body of essential fluids and electrolytes your body will desperately need in the latter stages of the race.

The marathon is one of the most rewarding, exciting physical sporting events in the world. I have an enormous respect for anyone who simply wants to attempt one.

You will learn a lot about yourself by completing one. It doesn’t matter if you have to walk at times in your first, get to the finish.

A 26-mile walk is something many people will never do in their lifetime. You are going to run the majority, possibly the entire race, on your first try.

Time is irrelevant. We’re not talking about breaking a time goal. I want to see you finish the distance. Let me know how it goes! Good luck!

If you have running a marathon under 4 hours as your goal I strongly encourage you to consider the Sub 4 Hour Marathon Blueprint which covers much more in-depth information in finishing your first 26.2 miles race with success and confidence.

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