Race Day Advice for First-time Marathoners

You’ve put in the work, done the training, and now, Race Day is right around the corner. It’s natural for those Race Day jitters to hit, but it’s important to remember – this is your time to let all that hard work and discipline pay off.

To help get you across the Finish Line, we asked the RUNVAN® community to share their best advice for first-time Marathon runners.

Here are 8 pieces of Race Day advice from our RUNVAN® Ambassadors.

1. “Don’t try anything new on race day.”

We’ve all heard it before. Race Day is not the day to bring out the new gear or different types of nutrition or anything else, really. “Take advantage of your long-run days to try new things and practice what you plan to do on Race Day,” shares RUNVAN® Ambassador Emilyn Ticong. “When the actual day comes, you’ll be able to execute what you practice and won’t face any surprises such as cramping or injury.”

“Things rub, bruise, bounce and blister in ways that will blow your mind with their randomness,” adds RUNVAN® Ambassador Jennifer Taylor. “Best to get that stuff worked out in advance.”

2. “Prep as much as you can the night before.”

Race mornings can be hectic, and since most races have an early start, you don’t want to be scrambling around the morning of. “I always prepare my race outfit, bib, hydration, nutrition, and anything else I need the night before, so I don’t need to think about it the morning of the race,” shares Emilyn.

Consider the logistics of how to get to the Start Line ahead of time, and aim to get there at least 30 to 60 minutes before your start time, especially if you plan to use runner services, such as gear check or hospitality. Give yourself plenty of time to warm-up, stretch, and make your way into your start corral.

Related article: What to expect from your first running race

3. “Break up the race into smaller races.”

To a first-time Marathoner, 42.2KM can be quite intimidating. Breaking the race up into smaller sections makes it seem more doable, and keeps you motivated from Start to Finish. “Focus on running your first 16KM. Then another 16KM. And the last 10KM – That’s your race,” shares RUNVAN® Ambassador Mariya Zhalovaga. By breaking the race up into smaller sections, the kilometres fly by much faster and before you know it, the Finish Line is well within reach!

4. “It’s not about how fast you run”

Being able to say you’ve run a Marathon is in itself already a huge and impressive accomplishment. “it’s not how fast you run, or how many races you’ve done,” shares RUNVAN® Ambassador Hayley Gulayets. “It’s the sensation of doing something you love, seeing how far you can push yourself and [hopefully] doing it alongside other awesome people!”.

Remember why you’re doing this in the first place, and keep that with you every step of the way. “It’s about experiencing a rewarding lifestyle, the amazing running community, and challenging yourself in different ways,” reminds RUNVAN® Ambassador Chris Seto.

Related article: 6 reasons why you should run a Marathon

5. “There will be highs and lows during the race.”

No matter how much training you put in, 42.2KM is a tough distance. You’re pushing your body to its limit, and it might not be smooth sailing from start to finish. “When you find yourself in a low, know that there will be a high coming again soon,” shares RUNVAN® Ambassador Krista Wollny. “Enjoy the race! This is your celebration for all the hard work you’ve put in over the past few months.”

6. “Run your own race.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the Race Day excitement when you’re literally surrounded by thousands of runners, but remember – this is your race. “Don’t worry [about] what others around you are doing,” reminds RUNVAN® Ambassador Siobhan McCormick. “Stick with your plan and execute it the best you can on that day.”

7. “Whatever happens, remember you have more races in the future.”

RUNVAN® Ambassador Patrick Kiernan shares, “It isn’t your last race, so whatever happens, remember you have more races in the future.” Keeping this in mind can help alleviate some pressure or nerves you may be feeling on during your first race.

Check out: 4 Vancouver running races hosted by local event organizers RUNVAN®

8. “Have Fun!”

You earned it! “Make it fun, make it social, and running can be such a powerful force of positive energy in your life,” shares RUNVAN® Ambassador Kate Inch.

Give a high five to a spectator or rock out to the live entertainment! Whatever you do, enjoy yourself on course and celebrate with your friends and family at the Finish Line!