5 Things I Learned Preparing for My First Marathon

5 Things I Learned Preparing for My First Marathon

The day is nearly here!

For months I have been training to run my first marathon and on Sunday at 5 AM the gun goes off at the 2017 Honolulu Marathon. I will be there on the warm streets of Honolulu along with 26,000 other people looking to complete the hilly 26.2-mile course. 

Having run competitively for 20 years, one might think that I would have a smooth transition to the marathon.

I assure you that for this former half-miler, a smooth transition was not the case.

I learned SO much over the last five months of training as I prepared for this new sport of LONG distance running. I've always strived to share my running knowledge with the running community and today is no different. 

Here are 5 things I learned while preparing for my first marathon.

1.) Mileage Matters

Ohh boy, did my mileage fluctuate a ton over the last few months. I had some weeks totaling over 60 miles for the week and some weeks where I didn't run a step. On average, I was able to put in approximate 30 miles a week. This is far less than I'd like to have averaged and I'm sure to pay the price during the last few miles of this marathon.

My longest run completed up to this point is 15 miles, so everything past that will be uncharted territory for me. This makes me very nervous! 

2.) Shoes Matter

The average marathoner will take 33,000 steps to complete 26.2 miles. That is A LOT of steps. To save your poor legs from completely falling apart, you need a good pair of shoes. I will be racing in my Brooks Running Levitate (Review Here). Not the lightest shoe made by Brooks, but the Levitate have great cushioning. I'm hoping the extra weight/foam will keep my legs running all the way to the end. 

3.) Nutrition Matters

As a middle distance runner, my races lasted anywhere from one to four minutes. Certainly the idea of consuming anything while racing never crossed my mind.

However, when I signed up to run a marathon, I was told that I would have to learn to take in nutrition while running. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but thanks to GU Energy Labs and Run Gum, I now have a winning formula.

I will start the race with three packs of GU and one pack Run Gum in my pocket. I'll ingest one GU every 45 minutes and chew Run Gum the final 6 miles. 

4.) People Matter

One of the most surprising things I found while preparing for this race is how supportive the marathoning community is! We are all working towards the same goal (finishing) and there seems to be no limit to how supportive fellow marathoners can be. I hope to be able to offer some words of encouragement to my fellow runners this Sunday during the race. 

5.) Fun Matters

I'll say it again, FUN MATTERS! Otherwise, what is the point of doing this??

I truly have had fun preparing for this marathon and I am confident I will have fun running it. I have become familiar with the term "Type 2 Fun." This refers to an activity that is somewhat miserable while taking place, but looking back on it you recall the event with nothing but happiness and good memories.

Climbing Mount Rainier earlier this year was Type 2 Fun. The last few miles of the 2017 Honolulu may be the same for me. Either way, bring it on!! 

See you all on the roads.

P.S. Speaking of shoes and nutrition, there is still time to guess what my final time will be at this weekend's race. If you guess my finishing time to the second, you will win a free pair of Brooks Levitate running shoes and a year supply of Run Gum. Enter your guess by clicking the link below! 

Guess Nick Symmonds Marathon Time & Win Big