12 Must-Read Tips For First-Time Marathon Runners

Marathons and other endurance events are gaining popularity in Asia, including Singapore. In such events, fresh faces are abound, admixed with diverse emotions, as they gear up to their first-ever race.

You might be looking forward to your own marathon a couple of months down, feeling the same part excitement and part fear. At the back of your mind, a question pops up: How do you prepare for your first-time race?

Regardless of race distance and your fitness level, having a plan is important to ensure you cross the finish line and with a respectable timing. 

Here is a guide for those running a race for the first time. 

Before the Race

Eat Right

You want to boost your energy before the run without getting an upset stomach while on the road. So focus foods that are low in fibre and fat while high on carbs.

Plan a Suitable Training Period

Give yourself enough time to train over a period and avoid the mistake of running too hard and too fast, clocking excessive mileage. Your body won't be able to take the sudden change and pressure.


Don't run every day. Fill gaps with rest days and take up exercises that give your joints a break. Dont neglect strength training. Exercises such as swimming or cycling give you a solid balanced workout without added impact.

Buddy/Group/Social Considerations 

Marathon training can be mentally draining. Finding someone who can run with you at a comfortable pace makes a big difference as it takes your mind off the run. You and your training buddy can also motivate each other on a sluggish day.

Regardless of race distance and your fitness level, having a plan is important to ensure you cross the finish line and with a respectable timing. 

During the Race

Don't Start Too Quickly

You may be pumped up by the music, crowd vibe or wild energy waiting to be released, but it is a common mistake to start too quickly. You won't have enough energy left to finish the race and will face the daunting struggle to keep up at the later stage.

Pace Yourself

Maintaining the right speed throughout the entire race will help you to complete it in the best possible time. You can break down the race distance into segments where you begin at an easy pace within your comfort zone, then slowly increase your space as you move towards the middle distance and then give it all you got towards the end.

Block Out the Bad Thoughts

Sing a song in your head, reminisce positive memories or do anything else that will take away the internal dialogue that can amplify your pain while running.

Focus On the Process, Not the Outcome

You may be surprised but the top marathoners in the world don't think about winning. Rather they think about what they are doing in the moment, which is the only thing they can control. Among them include rhythm, movement or breathing.

After the Race

Warm Down

Don't immediately stop or sit down just after crossing the finish line. Walk around or jog slowly for about 10-15 minutes. It helps the body purge the lactic acid while bringing down your heart rate and blood pressure to normal levels.

Rehydrate and Recover

Once you have warmed down, replenish your body with fluid such as water and sports drinks. Munching on some snacks such as bananas and energy bars to replace the energy lost during the run can be a good idea as well.

Arrange Pickup

Consider the fact that you might be too tired to take the public transport or flag down a cab. Arrange for a cab or schedule a pickup somewhere near the event venue.

Evaluate Performance and Results

If you are serious about participating in future races, it is a good chance to take a step back to have an overview of what worked and what didn't. That way, you can work on improving your preparation, training and strategies before the next race.


These are the fundamental tips to making a positive difference in your marathon training and first-race experience. But if you wish to have more in-depth advice or consult someone who has more experience, you can find many among LIV3LYs sport community.


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

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