my first marathon questions FAQ running

Have you signed up for your first marathon? Congratulations! While it's very exciting, it can also be a very daunting time with lots of questions cropping up. Read below for some of the most common questions answered but if your question can't be found, ask it in the form at the bottom of the page and it will be promptly answered by an expert!

How do I taper for my marathon?

Tapering is a term used to refer to winding down the intensity of your training ready for race day. You should do your farthest and longest run of 20 miles around 3 weeks before race day. After that, you will begin your taper which will consist of reducing your weekly mileage by 5-10 miles per week.

The week of the marathon, just do some very light training to keep you mobile and supple but so that you don't tire yourself out. Do a very light, short jog the day before the race.

How do I carb load for a marathon?

Contrary to popular belief, carb loading shouldn't take the form of eating a huge bowl of pasta the night before the race. This will cause you to feel heavy and bloated and could affect your performance on race day.

In order to properly carb load for a marathon, you should gradually increase your carb intake an entire month before the race. This way, your body will get used to storing more carbs for energy and it will stop you feeling sleepy and lethargic when you eat high amounts of carbohydrate.

How do I avoid hitting the wall?

The main cause of 'bonking' or hitting the wall is your body running out of glucose, electrolytes, or dehydration. Make sure you develop a fool-proof hydration and nutrition strategy during your training so that you can stay hydrated and fuelled throughout the entire race. 

Make sure you keep your salt and electrolyte levels topped up throughout the race as drinking only water will cause you to develop hyponatremia which could make you seriously ill.

Read more about how not to hit the wall when running here.

Got more marathon questions? Ask below and a marathon expert will answer!