I recently ran the TCS New York City Marathon with my brother.
Say what you will about marathons, but they can either bring a family together, or tear it apart. I jest, of course. Recently my brother Paul and I decided to run the TCS New York City Marathon together, as a way to raise money for the Women’s Sports Foundation , and do some brother-sister bonding.
At 43 years old, long endurance events like this are never easy. It took a lot of preparation and conditioning, which was great since the weather is changing and we are probably all having a hard time getting to the gym. That being said, the sense of camaraderie we felt with the other runners and each other, as well as the accomplishment of finishing the race was well worth it.
It got me to thinking about how gratifying it is to finish a marathon. It can be a great way to bond with family, but it can also instill within you a sense of personal confidence.
There are tons of tips and tricks out there, in terms of running a marathon. Most of them will tell you to train, eat the right things, and spend some time on recovery. So here are some nontraditional tips, from a mother of four, who is incredibly grateful to have had this experience.
Eat lots of carbs beforehand. A friend and I went for a full pasta dinner, which gave us the endurance we needed to finish the race.
Bring a bathrobe, a warm hat, and gloves. We had to wait two-hours before the race started. Without those items I would have been freezing.
READ MORE: Three Best Marathon Recovery Foods
Have an exit strategy. Plan beforehand where you will meet up with your family, because things get pretty chaotic after the race.
Have people waiting at mile 19-20 with some soda. Soda will give you one last energy burst to push you across the finish line.
Pace yourself. For this marathon, I started 15 seconds slower per mile, then increased my speed at mile 10, and mile 20.
Invite cheerleaders. My husband and kids couldn’t attend, but they cheered me on via social media. They even made posters! Having a support system is very helpful when you are struggling to cross the finish line.
Connect with the people around you. I made five new friends! Don’t be shy to talk to the other runners, you probably have more in common than you may think.
Smile! You don’t have to smile the whole time, but make sure you smile at the photo marks, so you don’t end up looking miserable in online photos.
Lube yourself up. Your sunglasses may chafe your nose. Your arms and thighs may also experience chafing. I use Triglide to protect any sensitive skin.
Pamper your feet. After the race I always switch to my Oofos flip flops. They are designed to support your feet and legs, especially in times of recovery.