I’m going to run my first marathon this fall, so I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to train properly for the race. In addition to that, I’ve been researching tips and advice on what I should and shouldn’t do in preparation for the big day. I came across an article on Triathlete Europe that reviewed 5 common mistakes runners make before and during a marathon. These tips, however, also apply to half-marathons.
1. Training too much (or not enough). Want to know how to kill your chances of finishing your first marathon? Start the race exhausted or injured. The author, Sabrina Grotewold, writes:
It’s true that to achieve a personal record at any distance requires executing new strategies—from increased mileage to marathon-specific workouts to even a different, but well rehearsed, fueling plan—but showing up at a marathon start line without an adequate-for-your-body taper, sore and taxed legs, an injury, or ill-stocked glycogen stores will almost guarantee a bonk.
2. Not taking your long run nice and slow. Yes, the long run can be boring. But a long run, at a nice slow pace is still the best way to prepare your body for the amount of running you will do during your half or marathon. Sure, you should feel free to kick it in to a higher gear toward the end of the run (to train your body to run fast while tired), but in the end, you should take it nice and slow.
3. Trying something new on race day. My wife and I ran the Joplin Half Marathon about a month ago (fantastic race, by the way). She bought a couple of pairs of new socks at the expo and she was going to wear them the next day for the big race. I wouldn’t let her. She said, “They are just socks.” It doesn’t matter what it is. Never try anything new the day of the big race. If you always eat a bagel before a long run, don’t suddenly eat a peanut butter sandwich the morning of the race. Stick to your routine.
4. Starting too fast. It can be really hard to control your pace when the gun goes off and you start running. It will seem like everyone around you is running a 7 minute pace, and only natural that you should too. Well don’t. Control your pace. Stick to the speed that has worked for you during your training runs. Starting too quickly is the best way to ruin your race.
5. Worrying too much about your time. If you are getting ready to run your first half-marathon or marathon, don’t worry too much about your time. Deep down, we all want to finish that race before a certain time, but you risk an emotional let down if you are singularly focused on hitting that number. If it’s your first big race, enjoy it. Don’t stress about time. The author put it best:
Every marathon finish is a gift.
Can you think of any more mistakes that should be avoided?
Triathlete Europe|The Top Five Marathon Mistakes