Running your first marathon is a nerve wracking experience, especially on the night before and morning of the race. To help battle as many nerves as possible, I begin to prepare for the race weeks before to help ensure that I am as prepared as possible.
For the past few years, I have been running a half marathon on the 4th of July, called the Red White and Boom half marathon. I’m not one to get into themed races, but it usually falls in a perfect spot in my training cycle about a month after the Birdtown half marathon. It’s nice to get another month of training in after the Birdtown and see how my fitness level has improved. I ran my first sub-2 hour half marathon at the Red White and Boom a few years ago!
The race is always a hot one since it’s on the 4th of July, and this year it was supposed to be near 100 on race day. The race starts at 6:30am which is a little early for me, but its the coolest part of the day. Knowing how hot it was going to be, I came to terms that I probably wouldn’t beat my PR of 1:41 that I set at Birdtown this year during perfect weather conditions, but I was okay with that. Once you get into the mindset of training for a full marathon, you’d rather focus on that long term goal anyways!
Three years ago, I ran my first half marathon at a local race called the Birdtown half marathon. I had only ever ran a 7k race before, and I had no idea what to expect. My goal was to finish in under 2 hours and off I went. The race was a huge struggle starting at about mile 6 and I spent a ton of time walking. I remember watching the 2 hour time slip past the last mile and couldn’t even bring myself to keep running. I finished in 2:04:30, and was proud to say I had run a half marathon.
Last year, I ran the Birdtown again. Since I had run 2 more half marathons after the Birdtown, I was more prepared. That is, until race day when it was pouring rain. The rain didn’t bother me as much as I thought, and I pushed through with soaking wet shoes and an empty course. I PR’d the race at 1:48:30. I ended up running slower at my next half marathon on a much warmer and humid day, but was frustrated that I didn’t break the 1:45 time that I was hoping to achieve at either race that year.
After running a few half marathons the past couple of years, I finally took the plunge and ran my first full marathon last October. Over my time of training and racing I’ve tried all sorts of gear and goods to help with running and thought I’d share my advice for any of the newer runners out there.
I tend to get really nervous before races and like to know as much as possible ahead of time so nothing unexpected happens. In the last year, I’ve had races during below freezing temps, pouring rain, and extreme heat so I’ve learned to always be prepared!