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 Tips For First-Time Marathoners
Submitted by Rickshaw :: Sun Dec 19, 2004 1:32 pm
With the exploding popularity of marathons, every year thousands of people take on the 26.2 mile challenge for the first time. For those marathon newbies, Hal Higdon has assembled a list of handy tips to help race day go smoothly. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for it can be a huge boost for first-timers who are likely to be pretty nervous. Higdon's best tip: skip the pre-race chili booth.

The tips Higdon offers are right on the money, but some probably deserve more emphasis than he gives them. Starting slowly is critical for new marathoners, and will often make a big difference in how they handle the wall at mile 20+. While it's natural to worry that you're losing time by starting slowly, for the majority of people you will finish in less time with a slow start and steady finish than with a fast start and zombie death march in the final miles.

Because it's not a race-day issue, Higdon's list doesn't mention anything about training for first timers, but that's another place where newbies often go wrong. There are many good training plans for beginners, but the single most important element of all of them is the long run. Ideally you should do at least two 20 mile training runs prior to the marathon, and more is better. A 20+ mile training run is significantly more helpful than a 16 or 18 mile run, because it's around 20 miles that most people's bodies begin to run out of stored energy. You'll want to have experienced this in training and learned to push through it. Entering a marathon without a sufficient number of long training runs is a sure recipe for problems.


Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 33

Re: Tips For First-Time Marathoners Posted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 3:22 pm 

Actually, I'd put training as the number one tip. So many people think "hey, I'm physically fit, I do other sports" and just go into a marathon without really training for it and end up hurt. I think it's a little dangerous to give out tips like "thank the volunteers" and "avoid the chili" when there are a lot more important things for first-timers to be worrying about.

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