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Tops Tips For Running Your First Marathon

Essential Marathon Tapering Tips

Race day is almost upon us and all those weeks of hard work are about to pay off. You’re bound to feel nervous but these tips will help you keep level headed for the big day.

Marathon success

Marathon kit

Marathon rest
  1. Taper Nerves It’s natural to feel nervous during the taper period and you may even find you get phantom aches and pains that you didn’t experience during training – this is all part of the taper nerves. Calm your nerves by looking back over your training notes. This will give you a sense of perspective on how far you have come and confirm that you are ready for race day.

  2. Mental Rehearsal. If you live near the course then hopefully you’ve had chance to

run part of the marathon route. But if you haven’t, then don’t worry, you can use a technique many top athletes use - visualising the race. Spend 10 minutes sitting in a quiet place with your eyes closed and take your mind to race day. Imagine being at the start line and how it feels, the sounds and smells. Then see yourself running

evenly and effortlessly through every 5 mile marker. Imagine seeing yourself running at target pace and the whole race is unfolding perfectly. Then picture yourself crossing the finishing line strong and smiling. Repeat as often as possible in the days leading up to the race.

  1. The Night Before. You want to take as much stress out of race day as possible by preparing things in advance. Get your kit laid out the night before and pin your number on the front of your shirt. Trim your toenails so they don’t cause discomfort during the race. Have any nutrition or hydration packs ready to go. Ensure your watch/ipod/phone is fully charged. Pack your post-race gear bag. Plan your route to the start and allow yourself more time than you think you’ll need.

  2. Post-race gear. You’ll be given a dustbin-bag sized bag to drop off at the race start and pick up at the finish. Some of the things you may want to consider packing


  • Compression gear to aid recovery

  • A change of shoes. I like to wear flip flops after a race to give my swollen feet some space

  • Savoury foods. I am usually fed-up of all the sweet gels and jelly babies by the time I cross the finishing line so a packet of twiglets or crisps goes down a treat

  • A phone charger

  • A change of clothes .

  1. Sleep. Don’t be surprised if you don’t sleep that well the night before the race. It’s quite common to have disrupted sleep the night before a big event, but it shouldn’t affect your performance on race day. Make sure you bank some good quality sleep in the week leading up to the race.

Gingerbread Man
  1. Gingerbread Man. If you haven’t heard about the gingerbread man in running circles, you may meet him on marathon day! The Gingerbread man is code for your nerves effecting your digestion system. Be prepared to dash to the loo several times before the race. Take some spare toilet roll with you and make sure you arrive at the race early so you don’t have to queue too long for the port-a-loos.

  1. Pacing and Goals. By now you should have a pacing strategy in mind. You may find as the race starts you feel great and want to run faster, but don’t let that lure you away from your strategy. Hold back and stay on pace until you get to at least mile 20. If you still feel you can push the pace when you are 20 miles into the marathon, then give it a shot.Having more than one goal can also be a useful strategy on race day. Your main goal may be to run in under 4 hours, but having a B goal, for example running under 4 hours 30 minutes and a C goal, for example finishing, helps you adjust if things don’t go to plan on the day.

Pacing and Goals

Whichever marathon you are running have fun! Soak up the carnival atmosphere and enjoy being part of it. Best of luck


Thank you for reading my blog! I am lucky enough to have completed 12 marathon with a best time being 3:38:52 at London in 2015. These tips were originally written for all the London Marathon Runners supporting United Response.


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