I remember running the last few hundred yards of the Philadelphia Marathon when I was a kid. My uncle was running it so my cousin and I thought it fitting to join him on his triumphant finish. I suppose it has been since then that I have always wanted to run a marathon myself. I ran a couple half marathons a few years back and a Tough Mudder this past spring but a marathon has been somewhat out of the question. However, my plan to race in the Toughest Mudder fell through and I longed for some form of abuse via exercise, I also wanted to be able to check something off life’s bucket list. Thus bringing me to a marathon. So back to the Motherland I went for the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday November 18. And yes, I did finish.
But obviously no experience such as this would be complete unless I did a post about it. That said, I offer some advice from my experience on some general things and what to wear for a marathon.
1. Dress appropriately for the weather.
2. Be familiar with all the clothes you are going to wear for the race. Make sure you have worn them before and that they are comfortable and fit properly.
3. Technical fibers can be your best friend. Specialized synthetic fibers can help keep you warmer with less weight and bulk. They can also help kee you cooler and wick moisture from your skin.
4. There is nothing wrong with wearing band aids on your nipples. It may sound weird to those who don’t run. But trust me when I tell you that they can be essential in reducing the chafing on your nipples. I saw some guys bleeding from their nipples from chafing; you don’t want to be that guy.
5. One of the most debilitating things runners face is hypoglycemia, or, low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia can be a huge factor in causing what runners call hitting the ‘wall.’ Sugar intake is the best way to avoid this, as sugar is easily processed by your body. Gu, Cliff Shots and the like that are also given out during the races are crucial in maintaining a healthy blood sugar.
6. Wear shoes that are properly worn in (and fit your feet properly). If they are not, you could face unnecessary and avoidable blisters, soreness and chafing.
7. Keep in mind that most of your body heat is lost through your extremities; hands, feet and head. You have your feet covered, but will your head and hands be warm enough? At the start of the race the temperature was 35 and at the end 45. Wearing gloves was one of the best decisions I made.
8. Don’t be afraid to stop to go to the bathroom. Also, remember, Starbucks is the world’s bathroom, they all have a bathroom. Big thanks to the Starbucks at 13th and Chestnut.
9. Train. I didn’t train much and/or properly so I feel that it would’ve been a much easier run if I would have trained properly.
10. Know yourself. Know how your mind and body react to exhaustion, stress and pain. By knowing yourself you will be in an ideal position to run and finish a marathon.
Remember: pain is temporary.
Best of luck,
Justin L Jeffers