There are things you learn through training and things you learn on the actual day of the marathon
A lot can happen in 42 kilometers (or 26.2 miles). A marathon is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one and for first-timers, there are certain obstacles that need to be overcome.
Don’t go too fast at the start
Not only will this tire you out faster, it’s also dangerous for everyone if you start running early on. At the starting line, there are hundreds of runners packed together. In the first kilometer or so, it would be too crowded to do a full run, so you’re better off using this stretch as a warm-up. Spend this time running your race pace and if you choose to stay in a group, make sure it’s consistent with yours. World’s Marathon says those who run with pace groups that are in line with theirs have greater chances of finishing and achieving time goals.
Walking is perfectly okay
Realistically, you’re not expected to actually run the entire 42 kilometers. Even seasoned marathoners have walking breaks, and it’s also part of their strategy to finish. It helps ease the impact on your legs and guarantees that you run your best whenever you’re not walking. Walking breaks are both mental and physical breaks that let you reassess yourself so you can run better with proper form, according to Runner’s World.
Focus on the kilometers ahead of you
Sometimes people start a marathon with high hopes and expectations, but end up getting discouraged halfway through. One thing that past marathoners suggest is to focus on running to finish a kilometer rather than reach the end. Think about the miles you’ve finished rather than what you haven’t because it’s going to make you feel a lot worse throughout the marathon.
This one is all about keeping your mental strength. There’ll probably be a time when you’ll be surpassed by old or slow runners, but don’t let it get to you. Some of them may look old, but they may have already finished marathons. Focus on your own performance. If you compare yourself with other people, it’ll lessen your sense of fulfillment when you do finish
Wear comfort in your clothes
Make sure that you wear something you’ve practiced doing long runs in. Even the slightest irritation can build up after long distances and continuous movement. There’s a possibility you’ll experience chafing and blisters by the end of the marathon, but you can wear clothes that can minimize that. Wear nylon and sweat-wicking clothes as well as breathable socks.
Hitting the wall
During the actual marathon, chances are you might hit the wall. It’s when you reach the peak of your fatigue and aren’t progressing any further from your current running state. You can avoid hitting the wall by constantly replenishing your glycogen and refueling. This is why bringing extra energy gels and snacks is important. Physically hitting the wall is easier to get past because that can easily be addressed by slowing down your pace or fueling. Mentally hitting the wall, though, is a whole different thing. Women’s Running suggests focusing on your inspiration to run and not the small pains that’ll get you down.