*The first in the series of articles written by our marathon expert; Shane Finn, endurance athlete

Taking on your first marathon can be a daunting task, however, it doesn’t have to be and by taking on board some of the tips below we can turn it into a hugely positive and memorable experience.

Set realistic expectations

Leading up to your marathon debut, it can be completely normal to begin second-guessing yourself or perhaps doubting yourself, but you don’t need to. Depending on your actual goal, whether it is to get to that finish line, perhaps hit a time goal or maybe a fundraising goal allow yourself plenty time to prepare and train for the marathon in October. By following the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon Training Plan, maintaining a structured nutrition and hydration plan and allowing your body plenty of time to both recover and adapt you will get to that start line in good shape.

Give Respect & Pay Your Dues

Any endurance event requires respect. No matter the distance and whether that’s training or racing. The best way to show this respect is by paying your dues and training appropriately. In this case, we are looking at the Dublin Marathon in October or perhaps it’s on your mind next year.

To give yourself the best chance of having a good and enjoyable day you need to train hard, but train smart with regular hydration. Pushing yourself in training and allow yourself to recover, repeat the process many times over and you will begin to see some progress. Not every run or training session will feel good or easy but that’s the reality of running. You will experience some good days and some bad days training, however, they all take you one step closer, make you that little bit better and I am a fan of embracing the “tough” days! I recommend you adopt the skill of “listening” to your body. This one skill can help you live a long healthy running life.

Practice Your Running Strategy

Practicing things like pacing will be vital in succeeding come marathon day in October. Your longer training runs are perfect for this. Training is also a great time to see what footwear works best, what gear fits well and is most comfortable what food suits and maybe doesn’t suit!

Longer training runs are also perfect for practicing your hydration strategy. A handy tip is to take in water or electrolytes at the same times during training and during a race, so you know in advance which Celtic Pure water station you need to stop at leaving no guesswork for race day.

Top Tips

  • Ensure you are adequately hydrated, before, during and after training to help with both your performance and your recovery.
  • Ensure you get adequate sleep.
  • Fuel and nourish your body with real food.
  • Consult with your doctor or physician prior to starting any new fitness plan and it is good practice to check in with your physiotherapist prior to starting a marathon training program. They can best advise you what precautions to take based on any previous injuries or issues.

If you are embarking on this journey for the first time or maybe coming back after a little time off, as I stated earlier, the most important part is that you enjoy it. Enjoy the process of training, enjoy the process of meeting new and likeminded people, enjoy feeling better and getting healthier and enjoy pushing yourself.

Running is a gift! Embrace it!

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