You finally did it! You bit the bullet and signed up for that first marathon. Then you thought, wait… what was I thinking?!  Take a deep breath and remember that you can do this. With a little preparation and a lot of confidence, you will be checking those 26.2 miles off your bucket list.

Set Up Your Training Plan: Whether this is your first marathon or your fifteenth, you always have to make sure you have a good training plan that represents your goals for the race. A training plan will help you avoid injury and will prepare you for the long distance you have ahead of you. Write the plan on a calendar that you see every day and check off your workouts once you complete them each day. This will keep you accountable along the way and will show you how much closer you are getting to being completely prepared for your big race. (photo credit)


Get a Workout Buddy or Connect with the Marathon Community: Find a friend who wants to train with you to keep you motivated throughout your training program. If there is no one as crazy as you then find the rest of us crazies through social networking. Most races have a Facebook page or website for runners to connect with each other, ask questions, and prepare one another for the feat ahead of them.


Get Excited: Pump yourself up for conquering what few have done and many will never do. The training process can be grueling and can lead to race day apathy. Keep yourself motivated by reminding yourself of the magnitude of this life event. Don’t let others diminish your excitement about your race and surround yourself with a good support team.


Race Day Preparation – Know Your Course: If possible, check out the course ahead of time by driving it or biking it so you can know what to expect. Check out the weather report to dress accordingly and hydrate sufficiently. If you are unable to get to the course yourself, ask someone who has run the race in previous years on one of those social media sites that you have found. Some of the best advice can come from other runners but don’t let yourself get psyched out if they have some words of warning. (photo credit)


Race Day Preparation – Bring a Crowd: When you are hitting those last few miles you might need a pep talk to keep going.  Invite friends and family to cheer you on during your race and to remind you that you are more than capable. If your loved ones are unable to make it then wear your name visibly so the spectators can cheer you on. Marathon spectators are some of the most supportive fans out there so if they know who you are they can cheer directly for you as you zoom by.


Race Day Preparation – Trust In Your Training: You have logged the miles and dripped the sweat. A marathon is more of a test of the mind than it is of the body. Have the confidence in your abilities and know that you put in the work to get you ready for the race ahead of you.  Don’t psych yourself out or give in to negative self talk. Don’t let the other runners impact your goals, we are all at different stages of our racing journeys so don’t compare yourself to someone else.


You are ready to rock this marathon! Set your goals, put in the miles, and conquer those 26.2 miles. You’ll be so proud of yourself you did. For more training tips, read 5 Nutrition Tips for First Time Marathon Runners.