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Strategies to face your first marathon: Tricks so that the 42 kilometers do not make you so hard

In less than two weeks many of us are waiting for the challenge of the season: the Madrid marathon. Personally it will be my first marathon, and in all these months that I have been training I have asked many friends to help me prepare both physically and mentally : it is not just a leg race, but the head is very important in these long distances.

Facing 42 kilometers from the mental plane is not an easy task: we run the risk of being overwhelmed by the length of the distance, stressed by the long running time that supposes in the majority of cases … And, if the head does not work, It is complicated for the body to respond. So today I leave here some of the tricks that I will use and I hope that you can be useful for long distance races.

Set a realistic goal (and train for it)

Everyone would not love to do a marathon under three hours, and who does not? But the first thing we have to do is set a realistic goal and in line with the training we have done during the months before the marathon. This will not only help us stay positive and run with more optimism, but also avoid frustrations when it comes to reaching the goal.

If this is your first marathon, crossing the goal arch and enjoying the experience should be your main objective: you will never have that same feeling of completing the queen distance for the first time, so take the opportunity to save every feeling in your memory.

If your goal is to do a specific time, which always corresponds to your workouts, a good idea is to keep the time of passage of the most important kilometer points pointed in the arm .

Divide the distance into smaller sections

Thinking “today I’m going to run 42 kilometers” can demoralize anyone. The best thing is to establish small goals or control steps that divide the race into shorter sections, always making sure that these sections are not too long or too long.

One of the most applied techniques is to divide the race into eight sections of five kilometers each (plus the remaining 2,195 meters, where you already take the rest). The division into sections of five kilometers seems ideal because it is an acceptable distance that allows you to “cheat” your mind and maintain motivation.

Another strategy may be to establish stretches a little longer, eight or ten kilometers (five stretches of eight kilometers or four stretches of ten, in both cases, plus the 2,195 meters at the end).

Mark the laps manually on the clock

This trick is linked to the previous one , and Alberto Barrantes told me during the long run last weekend. I liked it a lot because it had not occurred to me and I think it can work great to keep us motivated during the race.

If we have established these small goals every five kilometers, let’s mark the clock manually one time each time we reach it. In this way, the chrono of the new round starts again from scratch and can help us a lot mentally the fact of seeing on our watch the figure of 25 minutes, for example, although actually we have been running and about three hours in total.

This also helps us not to think so much about what we have already covered or what is still ahead, but encourages us to focus on the present moment and that small section that we must complete.

Place your “personal animators” in the strategic points

I call this the “true logistics of the marathon. ” Especially if it is your first foray into this distance, surely your friends or your family will see you and encourage you: the best thing is that you locate them in strategic places where you know that you will need encouragement and strength from your loved ones.

Get the map of the marathon route, with the altimetry, and calculate more or less where you want to put each person to cheer you up and indicate the time you intend to go there: the half marathon or the 30 kilometer They are perfect places to meet your friends, clash hands, make sure everyone is doing well and continue with renewed energy. Do not forget to also indicate which side of the road you prefer to be placed to facilitate the meeting.

For this next marathon in Madrid, the friends of Arros Running have prepared a planning with “the marathon in subway for companions” : seven points of animation (plus the goal) with their corresponding displacements in public transport so that your friends and family can follow you for the entire journey. If they complete it, they deserve a medal!

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