6 tips for your First Marathon | Iconic Fitness Dubai Marina JLT

6 tips for your First Marathon

6 tips for your First Marathon

By Hannes Loubser on January 19, 2017

6 additional tips to ensure that all the hard training pays off.

It’s exciting to see how many people are entering the Standard Charted Marathon for the first time this year. There are a Million Dirhams up for grabs if you run the fastest Marathon ever which stands at just over 2 hours, still time to enter.

The first person to do a 42 km marathon had to deliver a message from the town of Marathon to the city of Athens announcing a victory over the Persians in 490 BC. He died, and now we do it every year and get medals.

If this is your first one, here are few tips from many who have done it before:

  1. Take it easy – Early in the race the adrenalin and hype of the occasion sets in and you may feel better than ever. Just hold back a bit. Try to stick to your predetermined pace, don’t run away with yourself yet. It’s a long day, keep something left in the tank. Enjoy the occasion and take it all in. You have trained hard to be here so just enjoy. 90% of the people there will walk many times, you don’t have to go the whole distance running.
  2. 30km is halfway – Yes 30! Not 21. Countless runners keep telling stories over BBQs and drink months after the race that something mysteriously happens at 30 km. The body suddenly gets tired and you start playing mind games with yourself. I’ve run next to people who cried all the way from 30km to 42 km, not because of the pain but rather fatigue and confusion – this is when it’s important to tell yourself that you’ve done 71% of the race and from here a run-walk-run approach is a safe and effective strategy. You’ve come a long way, just finish now.
  3. Don’t compare – you’re in this for yourself, no one else. Stick to the plan and stick to your predetermined pace. Just because someone who may be older than you, or less athletic than you runs faster doesn’t mean you need to increase your pace. We are all different.

My dad is 60 years old this week, he’s slightly overweight and may look like he has never done a marathon before, so you would think if someone like him runs past you that you need to increase your pace. He is sitting just under 40 000 km in registered road races now. Just short of a full circulation around the earth. Looks can be deceiving.  I’ve also done a marathon before where a gentleman ran the whole 42km backward, yes backward while he was telling jokes and smiling all the way. He beat me by well over an hour….

4. It’s a journey, enjoy it – I did the 42 km Standard Charted Marathon in 2016. It was the most peaceful few hours I’ve had since living here for 3 years. You will talk to yourself more than you have done in a long time. Your mind wonders and you will think about people you haven’t seen in decades. You will have highs and lows as the km’s tick down. You will chat to people on the road with you because as soon as the bunch clears you’ll find yourself with others that maintain the same pace as you. These people may become your best friends as you will pull one another through.

5. Stick with what you know – this is not the time to eat and drink anything that your body is not used to. Especially the night before and the morning of the race. If you are planning to use energy gels and electrolytes along the way, be sure to try it out a few days before the race just to know how your body reacts. You may start stressing as soon as unexpected tummy cramps set in.

6. Avoid additional stress – layout your gear the night before. And set 2 alarms to give yourself the peach of minds that you won’t oversleep. Good rest and peace of mind is the key here. Ensure that you get there to avoid rushing and once there sit down, one can easily stand around for an hour and not notice it. You’re going to need them legs so don’t do any unnecessary standing.


Best of luck to everyone tomorrow!

Coach Hannes, Iconic Fitness

Dubai Marina