Before I ran my first marathon in Edinburgh, I asked Twitter one question:
What is the one thing you wish you knew before you ran your first marathon?
I was lucky to get lots of interesting responses and advice, including an entire race day guide from the amazing @braziliangunner! (If you are interested, check out his comments on this page.) So as promised, here are the things the wise Twitter Running Family recommended the most:
Top 5 Tips for First Time Marathoners
5. Don't stress or panic, either during the taper or the race. Try to stay calm--the stress won't help you. @nylonruns said ' I wish I'd known how much I would enjoy it, I wouldn't have stressed so much!'
4. Hydrate properly. Hydrate enough but not too much, and make sure you take some salts to prevent cramps.
3. Understand how you should fuel for the race. Nutrition is an important part of running a marathon, and lots of people said you should test this beforehand and know what works best for you. @brazilliangunner put it best: 'If you get carbload + race day nutrition right you won't hit the wall, as simple as that.'
2. Don't go too fast at the start. It's so much harder to stick with your pace and go slow at the start of a marathon. But as @mikew30 said 'Go off slower than you want to and if the first few miles feel the right pace, it's not slow enough. If it feels slow, it still probably isn't slow enough.'
1. Enjoy the experience. This is what most marathoners said BY FAR. As @ruggedradnage said, 'You'll never have another first! :)'
These were the tips I heard most often but I also got other great advice:
@rhianonruns: During your taper spend all the time you would usually be running on stretching
@runreadrant: Trust your training!
@mikew30: Wear a vest with your name on the front so people shout your name
@_martyn_fisher: Remember during the hard bits that loads of people are rooting for you
@runlikeacoyote: After...keep walking and moving. It really helps keep you from stiffening up
So now that I've run my first marathon, what's my tip?
Run with someone during the race if you can. I usually train alone these days so I never thought much about this at all. But I was very lucky that an experienced runner found me during the race and I think it made a difference! Running with that nice lady forced me to focus on my pace (and make sure I wasn't getting carried away). Best of all, it meant that I didn't feel quite so alone during the tougher moments. So if you can find a friend to run with you that's great. But if not, try to tag along!
All the advice really helped me to feel both physically and psychologically ready for the Edinburgh Marathon. So a big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to share their wisdom!
And if you are running your first marathon (or thinking about it), I hope these tips will be as helpful to you as they were for me!