7 Ways to Prepare For Your First Marathon

6. What to Eat Before the Race

Many athletes think that carbo-loading the night before a big race is the best strategy but Loftus suggests consuming carbohydrates such as rice or pasta at lunch instead, and having a smaller dinner. "This has the advantage of lightening the load on your GI tract and making it easier to sleep," he says.

It's important to consume your food at the right time on race day so that you allow your body enough time to digest. "On race morning I do my fueling three hours before the start of the race so it has time to work it's way out of the stomach," Loftus says. Also be sure to bring fuel sources with you that you can grab during the race.

More: The New Rules of Marathon Nutrition

7. Understand it Will be Hard, But You Can Do It

Committing to a training plan and following through with the taxing, demanding workouts is extremely challenging. But once you have made it and you line up at the start line, certain parts of the race can prove more difficult than others.

"Every race can unfold differently because of terrain, weather and the conditioning of the runner," Loftus says. "For someone who is well prepared the marathon usually starts to get harder in the later stages, the last 6 to 8 miles. That is when the muscles can be nearing the effective end of their stored energy, and the first time the new marathoner is going into unknown territory in terms of time or distance."

Most runners are usually able to rally towards the end of the race, when they are able to see the finish line. Towards the end runners may feel overcome with emotions as they will experience a feeling of elation mixed with the emotions of all of the highs and lows they have gone through during the 26.2 miles.

These strategies can help anyone cross the finish line at their very first marathon. Just remember to start out slow and steady and don't get discouraged. Support and encouragement from friends and family can also help to boost morale and keep you going throughout the process. So enlist a cheering section, lace up your shoes, and get out there and run!

More: 4 Tips To Running Your First Marathon

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