“Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles”

Who’s training for a marathon this year?
Who’s thinking about training for a marathon this year?
Who’s for sure not training for a marathon this year…but maybe, possibly might end up training for a marathon this year?

All of you, especially if you’re a first-timer, my new three-part blog mini-series is just for you.

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Excuse the poor photo quality – throwin it back to my first marathon

In this mini-series, I’m going to take you through a marathon – all 26.2 miles. Along the way, I’m going to tell you what to expect, how to train for it, and how to embrace, enjoy, or just get through it on race day.

If you’re planning to run your first marathon and wondering what to expect when running those 26.2 miles, tips for how to train for a marathon, and preparing for the big race day, I hope you enjoy this series.

For those of you on the fence or slightly terrified, please read on and let this help calm your fears – or at least put them in front of your face to punch back.

Now, the first in the three-part series: What to expect when running a marathon.

The Start Line

What to expect
People. Everywhere. From fellow athletes and pace leaders to race officials and spectators, the area will be full of people.

How to train for it
Coming soon!

What to do on race day
Coming soon!

 
Mile Markers 1-4

What to expect
The crowd will be thick and adrenaline high. You’ll be excited and may feel tempted to push your pace to get around people or, simply because you feel great.

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The early miles are full of energy and people, people everywhere

How to train for it
Coming soon!

What to do on race day
Coming soon!

 
Mile Markers 5-8

What to expect
You should feel good and strong, likely having settled into a comfort pace. The crowd, while thinner now, will still be fairly close together.

And if you’re running a race that has a four-person relay, you’ll hit the first relay exchange point in this mileage block. Expect a ton of spectators (feed off their energy), possibly some minor congestion (runners will be switching in and out), and a sudden burst of faster runners around you (the newbs that just hit the course).

How to train for it
Coming soon!

What to do on race day
Coming soon!

 
Mile Markers 9-13

What to expect
It’s unlikely fatigue will have set in yet. Those of you who have run a half marathon will likely notice how much better you feel now, compared to how you feel at this point in a half marathon. You should feel mentally good that you trained hard and are poised to hit the second half of your race, and physically up to the task.

How to train for it
Coming soon!

What to do on race day
Coming soon!

 
Mile Markers 14-16

What to expect
Mentally, this is a good place, as you’ll know you’re more than halfway there. That said, slight fatigue may start to set in with your legs, glutes, even your upper body, especially if the weather is significantly different than what you’ve trained in. Upside, you’ve likely seen some really great running signs by this point – and there are more to come.

How to train for it
Coming soon!

What to do on race day
Coming soon!

 

Mile Markers 17-19

What to expect
I’m gonna give you the bad news first – these three miles are often the most mentally-tough ones of the race. You’re far enough in now that you’ll be feeling some fatigue, yet you feel so far from the finish line.

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This is a tough point in the race so dig deep

The good news, though, is if you haven’t yet had any issues with stomach trouble, you’re likely not going to as long as you stay properly hydrated. High-fives for successfully avoiding the port-a-potties!

How to train for it
Coming soon!

What to do on race day
Coming soon!

 
Mile Markers 20-26

What to expect
You’ll feel tired. You’ll find yourself wondering why you signed up to do this. You’ll be tempted to walk or stop altogether.

How to train for it
Coming soon!

What to do on race day
Coming soon!

 
The Finish Line

What to expect
Emotions and extremes. You may cry, you may laugh; you may feel a burst of energy or like you’re going to pass out. Either way, you can’t help but feel pride. I don’t care if it’s your first marathon or tenth. It’s an incredible accomplishment that comes with an incredible feeling.

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The finishing stretch – very few moments in life beat this one

How to train for it
Coming soon!

What to do on race day
Coming soon!

Now you have an idea what to expect throughout the 26.2 miles of a marathon. If you’re still in, awesome. Next month, watch for Part 2 in this series that will remind you what to expect and offer specific tips for how to train for it.

If you’re training now and can’t wait, feel free to leave a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter with your questions or other comments.

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