Your First Marathon

Top Tips

With marathon season fast approaching, keen runner, Sigma Sports Ambassador and multiple marathon finisher, Maisie, is here to help you tackle the challenge head-on. From preparation the day before, to staying positive during the race, these are her top tips.

The Day Before

My first piece of advice is to take some time visualising the course. Familiarise yourself with landmarks at key distances to use as reference points, I often use Google Maps in street view to study sections of the course the day before.

Similarly, make sure you are aware of where your supporters will be, this is particularly important for busier races like the London Marathon. Write names and which mile they are at on your hand so you know when to keep a lookout. I find counting down to seeing friendly faces really motivating.

I always lay out all my kit the day before. An outfit for warm weather and another for cooler conditions is my go-to setup. Writing your emergency information on your race number is essential, and ensuring all your smart devices are fully charged can help too!

Stay hydrated. It’s really important to hydrate effectively the day before, I tend to take a few hydration tablets throughout the day. Finally, make sure your toenails are short, that is, if you want to keep them...

What To Pack

Firstly, bring toilet roll. I’d also advise packing a bin bag or an old jumper to wear at the start line. If you don’t already have one that you’re willing to lose, head down to a charity shop and pick something up. Usually, they are collected up and given back to charity, so you will be doing a good deed, twice!

In terms of fueling, never try something new on race-day; stick to what you know works for you. Body lube is important too, after all, no one wants chafed nipples. Blister plasters are a must, while suncream and a hat help in warm weather. On colder days I opt for gloves and a headband. SPF lip balm comes in handy too.

For The Race

In terms of tactics, I’d say pace yourself. Don’t start off too fast. I know it’s tempting to set off quickly amongst the buzz and adrenaline, however, pacing your splits too quickly early on will come back to bite you at mile 18.

Instead, think about taking it really easy, you have 26.2 miles to go, so preserve those legs for the second half. Only then, think about picking up the pace.

It’s a long way, and things can get tough mentally. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, but here are a few of my tips. Dedicate each mile to someone important to you, think about a good time you had with them during that mile. Concentrate on the external environment, look at the fancy dress outfits and smiling faces; all of these things will help promote positive thoughts.

Most importantly, soak up the energy, remind yourself of why you signed up and enjoy yourself out there!

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