Running is hard, no matter if you're doing the relay, half-marathon or
a crazy bastard doing the whole 26.2 miles at the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday.
Doing it for the first time? We've compiled a list of tips to help you ace the race.
Time goal? Fuck that
Look, we get that you're a goddamn go-getter, but the goal of your first marathon should be actually finishing. You will have plenty of chances at future marathons to crush those time goals. Enjoy the experience!
Nerves are normal
Sweating like a whore in church and thinking you might need to go vomit behind a Dumpster? Recall your training and how much you accomplished during those tough workouts, you badass!
Positive vibes only
No bad juju. (No, not the band!) Trust in those hours (and days and months, holy shit) that you spent training to get to the finish line. The more you visualize and expect success, the more likely it is to happen. We'll stop before we make ourselves stick.
Avoid 'flying and dying'
Look, you're not Usain Bolt or being shot at (hopefully). So pace yourself. We know you're going to start out with a shit ton of energy (because adrenaline), but stick to your own pace.
Wet your whistle and grab some grub
We wouldn't run if we were on fire, and we're pretty sure carb loading doesn't mean beer. Anyway, visit all the awesome volunteers along the route to hydrate at every chance and grab a snack. And, by all means, get shitfaced after the race. You deserve it.
Leave those new shoes in the box
Blisters will ruin your fucking day. Fast. The folks at Women's Running suggest you slip on a new pair two weeks before the race and put about 20-30 miles on them before the big day.
Make it social
You probably have friends. Have them send you good vibes (or cat pics or nudes) during the race to keep you going.
Also, signing up with a buddy can make it a lot more motivating and fun. Jeff Galloway, an author and Olympic athlete, tells his clients to choose someone whose pace is similar to theirs. "If you have a fast friend, ask if they can run at your pace. If it's too slow for them, you want that kind of honesty because you want to run at your own pace so you don't get injured."
Get an awesome playlist
Women's Running calls this one "The Best Marathon Playlist Ever," and we can't argue with that, because it goes from Pat Benatar to Iron Maiden to Nicki Minaj. It'll keep you on your toes and your feet to the pavement.
... and a weather app
Look, the weather is supposed to be shitty on Saturday. The people over at The Weather Channel are calling for a high of 74 with a 60% chance of storms.
(If you want to back out now and just drink all day in the Strip, this is a no-judgment zone.)
It's OK if things don't go according to plan
Shit happens. Hopefully not literally, because nothing will slow you down quite like explosive diarrhea. There's shin splints. And the dreaded chafing. Maybe your earphones blow out. Chill. Gather your thoughts, and get back on track if you can.