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April 07, 2014

26.2 Tips from the Elites

We know a lot can happen in 26.2 miles, making it very important to "control the controllables." That is why we rounded up marathon advice from Oiselle elites. Each has had their ups, downs and lessons learned in training and racing. Instead of crossing your fingers for the best race day, read on to see what tips you can glean from the pros.
 

 
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Body lube or vaseline under your arm pits. Never had chafe before the marathon. It was terrible. But I've used vaseline right under my pits by my sports bra- a thin layer right before you start- and haven't had a problem since.
 
Practice relaxing instead of pushing when you start to hit the wall. Just like any aspect of racing you have to train your body and mind to relax when things start to hurt. The harder you push the more you will tighten up, physically (ex. muscles cramp, form fails, etc.) and mentally (panic, fear, crying, etc.).
 
Lay everything out the night before. Ev.ery.thing. I'm talking oats measured and sitting by a pot of water ready to boil on the stovetop. Race morning should be as uneventful and boring as possible.
 
Use Glide!...chaffing is NO JOKE!
 
Hydrate and fuel! Something I didn't do in my first marathon (2003) but did in my second (2009). Both were the Portland Marathon. This photo is of me running marathon #2 and smiling at mile 20 which I credit to fueling and pacing. Who smiles at mile 20?!  You'd never know the night before I was crying because I forgot my running clothes and had to get to a store before closing. I also barely slept because my hotel was where a wedding reception was held and guests were staying. In the end, executing on a race plan and hydrating/fueling prevails.
 
Don't think about outcomes, just be in your moment, nothing is good or bad, it just is part of the experience.
- Marci Klimek
 
The worst thing you can do is wear a brand new pair of shoes that you've never tested in a training run. I once wore shoes that were a size too small for me. By the end of the marathon my feet felt like I was running on nails, and when I took my shoes off my feet had swollen so much my toes disappeared! Ha!  
 
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Wear your favorite, most comfy socks.
 
A mile for a smile. No matter how bad I feel, smiling and even waving at crowds the last mile or two helps trick my brain into thinking my body feels great, and I'm able to pick up my pace a little. (And crowds love cheering for happy people)
 
Definitely double knot your shoes!
- Heidi Greenwood 
 
Look at the course map the day before and pick a few landmarks and commit to thinking certain thoughts at those points. For example "no matter how I'm feeling, at mile 18 I'm going to spend that mile thinking about everyone that helped me get here" or "I'm going to smile at mile 23 even if it feels like I’ll break my face."
- Lauren Fleshman 
 
When you start to go to a bad place protect yourself from chaos by relaxing and removing negative thoughts; shake out your arms, drop your shoulders, relax your face. 
- Marci Klimek 
 

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Disposable hand warmers and Thermacare heat wraps for a cold start.  
 
Always be friendly and nice to the people working the event.  Most of them are there as volunteers.  So when able to say thank you!  
- Deanna Ardrey
 
I remind myself how lucky I am. All I have to think about the next ___ hours is running. In my busy life, it's a huge relief. I get to focus in on what I love and celebrate my hard training.
- Sarah (Mac) Robinson
 
Do you have other marathoning tips to share? Tell us on twitter @oiselle with #marathonmonth.

Comments

Emily McDevitt | April 8, 2014 at 8:13am

Marathon Tips!

Bring a Sharpie marker to the start, write your friends names on the side of their arms, shoulder to elbow, and have them do the same for you - spectators can easily cheer you on by name! Also, cut your toenails one week before race day ;)

Robin Khan | April 8, 2014 at 9:59am

Race Day

Great ideas for a long race! Always great to get advice from those who have been there done that!

Carmy | April 8, 2014 at 11:26am

Definitely agreed with the

Definitely agreed with the lube tip. I always keep bodyglide in my race bag, gym bag, and by my door to remind me to put it on if I had forgotten

DJ Hummel | July 3, 2015 at 11:35am

Put in the mileage pre-race.

Put in the mileage pre-race. More is more. Never skip your long run. Make a training plan and stick to it.