I have quite a few friends running their first marathon this year which is really motivating and exciting for me to be part of. A couple of questions have come up in terms of what to remember to take, especially if the marathon is not in your home town, so I decided to make a list for beginner marathon runners. Feel free to add to it if you feel I’ve forgotten anything…
Make sure your laces are tied properly and that if it is a Champion Chip or timed race, that your timing chip is on – you will be surprised to know how many people forget these little things.
Running Shirt and pants/skirt/shorts
Secure your number onto your shirt the night before to make sure you don’t forget. You should have done some long runs in your gear before marathon day to check for any chafe spots and comfy fits.
I always run in a hat, it helps when there is wind and will stop it from raining right in your face if the weather decides to be miserable.
Make sure you smear a thick layer of Vaseline wherever your clothes might chafe you and on your feet in places you usually get blisters.
During the Race
GU or Energy Pack
I usually take one GU every 10km on a long run. You will need to figure out what works for you. I almost never take all of them because by the end they start making me feel a little ill but I do know some people who take them every 45 minutes.
Lip-ice (Lip balm)
I get very dry lips while I run so I like having lip-ice on hand. This also doubles up as lube if I start feeling my clothes snacking on my skin.
I usually take my iPod incase I can’t find anyone to run with or if I’m having a bad day, it just helps to motivate me and drowns out all the unhelpful noises in my head.
Ok this is something which some people frown upon (all non-runners) but if something comes up which doesn’t feel serious then a painkiller usually just dulls it until the end, like ITB or sore shoulders. You have to drink lots of water if you take any, so keep that in mind. I haven’t taken a painkiller in ages but I do take them with me just in case.
I have written about recovery drinks before. At the moment I’m using Hammer’s Recoverite but if I don’t have that then it’s a strawberry/chocolate milkshake. I have also been known to have a beer but I’d recommend having a proper recovery drink or Rehydrate within an hour of finishing.
This is for any chafe you may have gotten and only realised you had once you got in the shower – you’ll know what I’m talking about if you have every had stealth chafe before.
There are usually massage tables with physio’s at the end of the bigger marathons so try and get in to one of those when you are done – the difference it makes is amazing. You also want to try and get a rub-down before your legs start getting stiff otherwise it’s too sore. I usually book a massage for a couple of days after a long race just to loosen the muscles again and to make sure all the lactic acid has drained so that my legs don’t feel heavy.