It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint

I still can't believe the NYC Marathon was two months ago. It feels like just yesterday I was getting ready to run my first half marathon. Now I can officially say I have ran 26.2 miles! Training for your first marathon can be exciting and scary all at the same time.  I mean come on, 26.2 miles is a long drive. Leading up to the marathon, I read a ton of articles, spoke to a lot of folks, made a bunch of mistakes, and figured out a few tricks along the way. Below I have listed the training tips I gathered while training for the NYC Marathon. A lot of these pertain just to the NYC marathon (sorry about that), but a lot of them can help anyone who is a first time marathon runner!  

Marathon Training Tips:

  • You can do it! - "If you believe in yourself, anything is possible".  I never considered myself a long distance runner. Two years ago, running 3 miles seemed way too long and before that I could barely run at all.  Trust me, there will be great days and there will also be not so great days, but in the end its all worth it!
  • Chafing Cream - It never crossed my mind that I would need chafing cream until I ran my first long run. Let me tell you, one of the most painful things is showering after a long run when you didn’t use chafing cream. Open wounds + salt = not fun. I ended up using Gold Bond Friction Stick. It worked great!
  • The poncho  - if you are a member of New York Road Runners (NYRR) you already get a ton of emails from them, and if you have signed up for the NYC Marathon you will get even more! I stopped reading them and missed the poncho sign up (they have a limited number of ponchos so if you don’t sign up early you will be put in bag check) so once you have signed up for the marathon be sure to open your NYRR emails and skim through them.
  • Transportation -  NYRR provides transportation to the start line. Don’t stress about what time you sign up for to take the ferry. I signed up for the 5:30 am slot and took the 7am ferry. No one checks ferry times, just make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get there.
  • 9 + 1 for training runs / Plan out your runs - The 9 +1 is how I got into the NYC Marathon in the first place, if you are a member of NYRR you run 9 races and volunteer for 1 and get automatic entry into the NYC Marathon for the next year. As I was planning out my training runs this year I tired to incorporate as many NYRR races as I could - the races keep training interesting and if you do 8 races(the marathon counts as one) you get automatic entry into the marathon for the next year! If you don’t want to run it next year you can always postpone. For planning out your runs, Hal Higdon ( has a great site. This site also has a ton of tips for beginners.
  • Keep yourself accountable -I find that if I have a big goal that I know I am going to have trouble with, telling a lot of people and writingeverything down is very helpful. I wrote down my marathon training planning months in advance so I knew what to expect every week. Once I was done with my run for the day I wrote down how many miles I ran, where I ran them and how I felt. This provides a sense of accomplishment and you can look back and see how far you have come!
  • Set a routine -  I am usually not a morning person, but I tried running in the am and found I really liked it. It wakes you up and gets you into a routine for race day. Make sure you have some sort of routine for race day so you know how much you usually eat for breakfast etc.

  • Find some fun cross training- One of my friends got me into Pure Barre a while ago and I went to classes as form of cross training.  Pure Barre utilizes the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to music. It is a lot of fun and I highly recommend trying it, but if that's not your cup of tea, lifting, swimming or cycling are good forms of cross training too! Either way definitely plan cross training into your marathon training plan, it works different muscles and helps change things up.
  • Don’t over do it! Make sure you have at least one rest day a week where you don’t do anything. I usually scheduled them a day after my long runs as a reward. It is ok to take more than one day off. If you have an injury, rest, rest, rest! Trust me it helps!
  • Things to do closer to the marathon -
    • Get Layers - You are going to want layers for the start line because it's November in NYC and its cold. Old Navy has cheap warm winter clothes or if you have clothes you would like to donate, wear those! NYRR donates all the warm clothes to homeless shelters
    • Put your name on your race day shirt - I bought a plain athletic shirt and ironed on 3 inch letters I got from amazon (
    • Plan out where you want people to cheer you on - There are a ton of people cheering during the race so try to plan out where your friends and family will be, this includes what side of the street you would like them to stand (right or left).  Tell them to wear something bright and match if possible (trust me it helps!) A couple things about this: On the direction it says flock side up - to me flock side up means how you would like them to look on the shirt. Remember you will have a bib on the front of your shirt so you'll want to have your letters a little higher up
    • Don’t make changes close to the marathon - About a month before the marathon don’t try anything new. By this I mean don’t buy new shoes, try a workout class you have never done before (I tried cycling for the first time before my first half marathon, bad Idea, I was sore for a couple of days after and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to run)

So there you have it, my marathon training tips! Now that you have taken a look please let me know what you think (this was my first marathon so I probably missed something). Just remember, it's a Marathon, not a Sprint. Training is going to take time and you will definitely have some bumps along the way, but in the end it will be worth it! 

Good luck on your marathon! 

- Proto