This is by far my favorite race.
Because I just recently became a mama, and just got cleared to run again two weeks ago, I am not running Marine Corps Marathon this year. Â However, I will be cheering around mile 23/24 – the Crystal City area – so look for me if you need to see a familiar face.
I have realized that for a lot of you it will be your first time running this race, or even your very first time running a full marathon. So I have decided to share with you some tips that I found helpful each time I have run it.
Here are my top 26 tips for all of the Marathon Virgins out there running Marine Corps Marathon tomorrowâ€¦
- NIGHT BEFORE:Â Check social media for inspiration and updates, this includes facebook and instagram. Marine Corps Marathon pages always have a count down. And the night before race day facebook status always gets me pumped.
- NIGHT BEFORE:Â Always prepare your race outfit, and everything you will need for the race, the night before. (That means tonight if you are running MCM tomorrow morning.)
- Never wear anything you havenâ€™t worn before.
- Make sure your ipod and garmin are charged and ready to go.
- Eat protein and carb race morning, good option â€“ Bagel with Peanut Butter.
- GETTING TO and FROM:Â If you are riding theÂ metroÂ in the morning, you will be getting off at the Pentagon. But honestly if you get confused just follow all the other runners. If you plan to metro after the race make sure you get enough money on your metro card for both ways, getting there and coming back. Metro will be really busy on the way back. TheÂ Rosslyn Metro stop is the one closest to the finish line.
- THE START:Â At theÂ start, strip down and check your bag. If you are one that gets cold easily then make sure you have throw away gloves and shirt. It will be cold in the morning but warm at the finish.
- Oh and donâ€™t forget toÂ BODY GLIDE everything.Â
- CORRALS:Â Because Marine Corps Marathon is the people marathon they do not have any assignedÂ corrals. Instead you choose where you want to be, by looking for the sign that says your finishing time on it. Try to get in the proper corral or the one a head of you. For example if you think you will finish in 4:30 then hang with the 4:15 group. This race is a very crowded race with 35,000 runners.
- WATER STATIONS:Â Have a game plan. Are you going to walk the water stations? When are you going to take your sports beans?
- ROCK CREEK PARKÂ can get congested. But stay light on your feet and use momentum to fly down the down hill part.
- FOCUS ON RUNNING FORM.
- 13.1:Â Â Once you hit the half way point start to break your race into pieces. At this point, you are in Hains Point, the most boring part of the race. Â It is time to start counting. 2 more miles and you will be at mile 15 and out of the stupid park and on to the National Mall.
- MILE 15:Â Enjoy, look around you are running the National Mall.
- MILE 17:Â This mile is significant meaningful mile in a marathon because it takes us into single digits, only 9 more miles to go.
- SIGNS:Â Donâ€™t forget to look at funny signs. The spectators are the best at this race.
- MILE 20: Beat the Bridge.Â The bridge is long and slow. A lot of runnersÂ HIT the WallÂ here. There arenâ€™t very many spectators here. Sometimes it feels brutally hot with sun shining on you. Other times it feels really windy. This is the time when a lot of runners start walking and stretching out. This is when I tell myself to keep running, donâ€™t walk. At the end of the bridge you are in Crystal City. Leaving DC and entering VA.
- MILE 21:Â This mile is significant for me because in training my longest run is 21. During my weekly training I do a 5 mile easy run. When I reach 21 in the marathon, I tell myself, â€śOnly 5 miles to go, my 5 mile easy run.â€ť Everything is mental at this point.
- CRYSTAL CITY:Â Once Iâ€™m at mile 23 looping around Crystal City I am looking at the spectators focusing on seeing people I may know. I also am saying my mantra.
- Â AlwaysÂ have a Mantra. For example, when things get rough, I always repeat,Â â€śNo matter whatâ€¦ Just keep moving forward. Keep moving forward.â€ť Another good one is â€¦ â€śOne More Mile.â€ť
- HOME STRETH:Â At this point I am focused on the traffic signs, I try to get to one traffic sign then the next. Youâ€™ll see signs that say, â€śMemorial Bridge.â€ť
- The last little bit is up a hill and then the finish line. But who cares there is a hill, you made it to the finish.
- Enjoy getting your medal and check out all the hott marines. You earned it.
- MILE 27:Â Walk, Walk, Walk.Â The most important mile is mile 27. The mile you walk after the marathon. This mile walk helps avoid cramping.
- Eat an awesome brunch to refuel and celebrate.
- Take it easy for the rest of the day. Consider taking hot yoga later in the week.
SO there it is!
Good luck to all of the Marathon Virgins out there running tomorrow for the first time. Good luck all runners. Look for me, I’ll be cheering for you.