Debut advice from those who have been there, done that and got the finisher’s medal

Remember when you ran your first ever marathon? Apparently it’s hard to forget.

While AW boasts a number of hugely talented runners among its editorial staff, at the other end of the scale is our web ed, Jessica, who makes her debut over 26.2 miles at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday.

Grateful for the advice received from her colleagues on running elite times (you can read some of our other blogs – including one on dipping under the 2:30 barrier – here) the fact is that two and a half hours in and she’ll be lucky to have just about made it to the half-way point, let alone the finish.

So what is it that runners should know ahead of their first marathon? Well who better to give some advice than those who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt (and finisher’s medal)?

AW readers have spoken. Here’s some of the tips and advice they shared with us on Twitter and Facebook and we thought you might like to have a read too. But we take no responsibility if you heed their advice and it doesn’t work out for you – some are just a little less conventional…

“Advice for marathon debut: Make the start line and cross the finish and you will be rewarded with a personal best time.”

James Lawler @LawlerJames
Patience 1st half, desire 2nd half

Running Advice @running_advice
Enjoy it! But also respect the distance #marathon

Cathy Clowes @CathyC72
If it’s London then just enjoy it – atmosphere so special, you remember crowd support long after you’ve forgotten your time

jingle mcfnarrr @philatko73 
Nipple tape and compression shorts/tops are your best friend

Peter Fleming @Howmanyminutes
Aim for a ‘finish’ & not a time

George Davidson @MrHenryGee
There is nothing and no part of the body that does not rub or chafe by the end

Clare Graham @GBRResults

Chris Childs @chrispchilds
Put your name on your vest. There’s nothing so touching as strangers calling your name and willing you to finish.

Ieuan Ellis @Prof_IeuanEllis
Advice for marathon debut: Make the start line and cross the finish and you will be rewarded with a personal best time.

Mark Sutton @MarkSutton3110
Take it easy until the 13-mile point; that is when the effort needs to start in order to finish 🙂

Carl Hardman @boneycarl
Don’t try to ‘wing it’. It’ll bite you on the arse at some point.

Lawrence Cox
Don’t get drunk beforehand, or drink gin on your way around.

Ray Wilson
Vaseline on your waistline or tuck your shirt into your shorts!

Steve Vaughan
Run your own race. Forget what everyone else is doing.

Simon Freeman
I think that the first marathon is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the experience and learn the ropes – don’t worry too much about time: it is the last marathon where you are guaranteed a PB!

Oliver Starkey
Always use tried-and-tested comfortable equipment. Then, let your legs and your watch govern your pace, not other people!

Alex Davies
Hardest part is getting to the start line

Chris Mason
Relax as much as possible & enjoy the experience

Matthew Mullins
Don’t go off too fast, feel your way into it over the first 5 miles and settle into your race pace

Damaris Daniels
Marathon training is horrible but the race day makes it all worthwhile. Enjoy it! The hours will fly by.

» For more in the marathon advice blog series, click here