Marathon season is upon us, and many runners are about to attempt 26.2 miles for the first time. In light of that auspicious moment, I’d like to share the last-minute words of advice I’ve been known to pass along to runner-friends as they embark on their first marathon quest.
- Support. Invite friends and family to come and cheer for you. Seeing a familiar face along the way is a great morale booster.
- Soak it up. Make a race day friend, sing along with the bands, high-five the little kids, thank the volunteers. Make your own race day memories.
- Trust in your training. You worked hard. You put in the miles. You tapered. You carbed-up and hydrated. Now let your body (and mind) run the race that is handed to you on race day.
- Smile. Flash your best smile for the crowds, the cameras, your personal cheering sections. Even if you don’t want to smile, just doing so can make you feel a little lighter.
- Finish strong. Cross the finish line with as much strength as you can muster. Then, remember that moment … the emotions, the sights and sounds. Revel in it. Breathe it in. You worked hard for that moment—it is yours to own.
- Receive your medal. Wear it proudly for the rest of the day, or week.
- Cool down properly. Let the volunteers remove your chip. Then take and wear the crazy silver space blanket and slowly sip some water. There’s a reason that all of this is available at the finish line—be a smart runner!
- Post-race essentials. Pack a post-race bag with flip-flops/comfy shoes and warm, dry clothes (including a dry hat). Include some “handi-wipes,” if access to showers will be delayed or limited. Then, eat some food, drink fluids and get a post-race massage.
- Nap. Take a long, long nap. Be sure to leave your medal on. And have sweet dreams.
Congratulations Marathoner, you’ll never forget your first!