Firstly, I would advise staying calm as panicking will just stress you out more!
I ran my first marathon a year ago! It was in beautiful Amsterdam and it was a race where I learnt SO much about myself, my mental strength and running. Even though I signed up to Amsterdam and it wasn’t a ballot, I understand the impending doom that sets in when you realise you have to tackle the 26.2 miles. Here are some tips that I wish someone told me when I first got a place:
- Start running early!: Yes, your acceptance has arrived, it is six months until the race BUT you will need to run now. If you can run 10km comfortably by Christmas you’ll be ahead of the game! What usually happens is party season arrives and Christmas indulgence comes, then New Year is brought in with a hangover and before you know it you have less than four months to tackle the notion of a marathon. Don’t let it happen to you!
- Get properly fitted for running shoes: This is sneaky tip as I am very aware that footwear is paramount in how well your training goes, but you need to make it high on your list of priorities. Running biomechanics can have a huge effect on your likelihood of injury. If the shoes you run in don’t work with your running style, then you’re pretty much knocking on injuries door and asking for it.
- Ask for advice from friends who have run: One of the best things I did once I signed up was find people who had also been as crazy as me to enter a marathon, but in their case ran it AND survived. Gaining insight to what they did and where to find training programmes and plan it around my life, was so important to the journey.
- Don’t underestimate the power of social media as a motivator: Following people on the same scary unknown journey as you can be really reassuring. Through the #ukrunchat community on a Wednesday and Sunday night it was great to find other runners doing the same race, but also offering advice! On Instagram by using the same hashtag of the race you are doing will also connect you with other runners
- Enjoy the journey and race: The marathon journey is an amazing experience and race day of your first marathon, is something you will never forget. It’s a learning experience and something only 1% of the world’s population have done. So no matter the time or the weather, enjoy every last second and be PROUD!