4 Marathon Mistakes Every Rookie Can Learn From

Female marathon training tips and advice

Running marathons has always been a big part of my life – I’ve ran in NYC, Chicago, LA, Marine Corps, Rome, Paris, Napa, Avenue of the Giants, & Manitoba to name a few, but my favorite is Boston – you can’t beat the people that support you on the course. I smile just thinking about it.

I made every rookie mistake you could possibly make in my first marathon. Below are some of my tips to help you rock your first marathon.

Mistake #1: Not Having a Marathon Training Plan

I registered for the race eight weeks before the event, so I hadn’t been on a regimented training plan. I was in Asia for two weeks prior and took a direct flight to NY for the race. Not advisable! I was undertrained, jet-lagged, sick and dehydrated. You can’t run a marathon on a whim! The most important thing is to have a plan. You can find one on the internet, work with a coach, or train with a team.  At the end of the day – you need to schedule your workouts into your day.  Think quality over quantity, make every workout count.

Mistake #2: Expecting the Expected 

Be prepared for anything to happen.Even when you’re prepared for your run, there are variables you can’t control, like the weather. I ran the LA Marathon in a rainstorm, with a partly-flooded course. It wasn’t fun but I did it and now I know I can handle it. This is what makes marathon running so exhilarating to me – I learn something new about myself every time.

Mistake #3: Losing Sight of Your Marathon Motivation

Why are you doing this?  You will need to remember this when the little demons show up in your race.  You will question this during the race. I can recall numerous times thinking about how I could be eating pancakes with friends instead of pushing through at mile 21.

Mistake #4: Going For It Alone

Tell your friends to track you on the marathon website page. Knowing people are watching you keeps you motivated and pushing through to the finish line.

What are your marathon tips? Share them in the comments below!

Looking to get started on the path towards running marathons? Athleta’s selection of running clothes is a great place to start.

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Marathon Mom

March 04, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Great tips! As an avid marathoner, I’d also add the tip to make sure you do a few long runs in the outfit you planning on running your race in! You’ve heard this tip before probably, but its true- practice wearing your outfit! Likewise goes for pre-race food too! Oh, and put Vaseline all over your feet and then your socks on race day. Your feet will thank you.


March 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Great refresher! I’m doing my first this year with my sister and it’s been on my LifeList for several years – here’s to 2015!


March 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Tracy, you are such an inspiration! Successful as a person and a professional in every way. I’m grateful to call you friend!


April 02, 2015 at 4:01 pm

You are so inspring Tracy! I sometimes question my motivation when I’m running just 3 miles 🙂 I’m so lucky to know you, hope to see you soon!


April 10, 2015 at 6:34 am

@Marathon Mom I totally agree! I’ve only done half marathons, but you should definitely do a “dress rehearsal” beforehand to make sure your planned outfit is chafe-free and comfortable for a long distance. I know too many who have made that mistake and fortunately I was able to learn from them.

Aster Massage

April 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm

I recommend several visits to a sports massage therapist prior to the event if not keeping it part of your routine in general.
We specialize in preventing soft tissue injury during training and/or during the event.
Book your appointments ahead of time to integrate them into your routine.
Take advantage of stretching and compression services offered “on site” at the event especially after the race.

Finally, sessions don’t need to be a full hour and most therapists should offer service plans keeping it affordable.

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