35 Tips for Your Best Marathon

If you’re like me, the week before the marathon brings the taper crazies. Anxiety and nerves tend to take over a previously strong body and mind. Instead of giving into my nerves, I reached out to the experts, my friends on social media, for tips and inspiration. While Sunday’s Berlin Marathon will be my fifth marathon, I believe I can always learn something from those around me. These 35 tips will help you prepare mentally for the big day along with ensuring you have everything on your packing list, including some extra Vaseline or Glide! Thank you, thank you for all the tips, positive motivation, emails, and thoughts this week!

If you love this list as much as I do, please share it or pin it so others can benefit too!

35 Tips for your best marathon

“Enjoy the moment! We don’t HAVE to run, we GET to run!” Amanda @ Run to the Finish

“For every negative thing that slips into your mind, think of two positive things!” Marcia @ http://marciashealthyslice.com

“Don’t expend energy trying to zig zag pass others at a crowded start. It helps you not take off so fast at the start as you are likely to with fresh legs.” Jolene @  Http://www.jojocouture-southernfriedsoul.blogspot.com.

“Find a mantra to pull your mind from the negative thoughts as you tire. My favorite is "Yes I Can!" Angela @ http://happyfitmama.com

“Never underestimate the benefits of doing a few sets of quick butt kicks in the marathon to jump start your legs and muscles!” Michelle @ www.pawsitivelydelightful.com

“Even though the start is exciting, DON’T go out too fast!” Lauren @ http://www.breathedeeplyandsmile.com

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because the sooner you get used to the feeling, the more you can enjoy the race.” Katie @ http://gettinmyhealthyon.com/ Ashley Hoffman Forster

“Get a good night’s sleep the night BEFORE the night before the race. You probably won’t sleep the night before the race because of nerves, so make sure you bank a little sleep two nights prior.” Ashley @ http://fiddledeeme.com

“Enjoy your race and trust the training. Even when it’s sucking, you’ve put in the hard work. Time to reap the benefits! You’ve got this.” Rachel @ http://www.runningonhappy.com;

“Know that it’s 100% okay if you DON’T cross that finish line if your body is telling you that, as much as your heart is still in it, today just isn’t the day! It’s heartbreaking to rack up a DNF (or maybe even a DNS), but there will be other races!” Mindy @ http://justaonegirlrevolution.com

“Know that there will be ups and downs, especially in the later miles. When you hit a low moment, ride it out a little bit slower, and know that you will come out of it and have a chance to pick up the pace again when you’re feeling better.” Amanda @  http://misszippy1.com

“Have fun and be confident. Your training brought you here, and now it’s your 26.2 celebration to success… you deserve it more than anyone, so go get it!” Lora @ http://www.crazyrunninggirl.com

“Enjoy the journey and have fun even if your race starts going in a different direction than you hoped. You must with with endurance the race before you…even if that means taking walk breaks.” Erica @ http://lifeasarunningmom.blogspot.com

“Make the race joyful. The hard work and training is already done so it’s time to let loose and have fun! High-five kids, thank the volunteers and police officers, read all the spectators’ signs, look at all the costumes, joke with and cheer on your fellow runners! One other suggestion. I’ve never tried this myself, but other friends swear by dedicating each mile to a special friend, relative, or colleague while running!!!” Emily @ http://emmers712.blogspot.com

“Don’t be sick and be on antibiotics but if you are, take probiotics. Your stomach will thank you. Signed, the one who was sick for 20 of 26.2 miles and vomited at the finish line for her one and only marathon.” Melissa @ http://www.thevalentineRD.com

“1) always trust your training; 2) don’t start too fast and 3) when you find yourself starting to fade (or in my case, thinking WTF is wrong with me for putting myself through this), remember why you started and envision the finish line – usually that is the little boost I need to get me to the end.” Kasandra @ http://urbaninsuburbia1.com

“Run your race – don’t get caught up in what others are doing. Just do you!” Kelly @ http://www.kellytheculinarian.com/ 

“Use Vaseline generously in any possible chafing areas!!!” Amy @ http://www.livinglifetruth.com/

“Never wear anything new on race day and start slow and build your race.” Pam @ http://www.werundisney.com/

“However good some advise may seem, stick to what you know and what you trained with, don’t change your plan too close to the race.” Laureen @ http://peachylau.wordpress.com

“Have your name printed on the front of your top in large letters, the buzz you will get from the crowd shouting your name will give your legs a boost when they are tiring.” Nikki @ www.runninggirlslim.com

“Step one to running a marathon, you start running. There is no step two.” Barney Stinson (Thanks to @vkandersdc (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_-RDyxaJ1E)


“Remember that race day is the celebration of all your hard work, effort, and training you have put in. Smile, laugh, have fun and enjoy every moment of it – even when it hurts!” Leah @ www.naturallyleah.com

“When it’s really tough and you can’t remember why you signed up to to run 26.2 miles for fun, just remember, pain is temporary, pride is forever.” Zoe @ www.londonandme.org

“Put Vaseline EVERYWHERE. Race day is meant to be fun – during the run and celebrating after – now is not the time for friction burns in awkward places!” Jenn @ http://club.runthrough.co.uk/author/jenniferjane2/

“Don’t get wrapped up in the wave of runners around you, find your own pace to feel your way through 26.2 miles and enjoy the experience.”  Becs @ http://thestyledynamo.wordpress.com/

“Remember to start taking fuel and water early because once you feel thirsty or hungry, it’s too late.” Ashley @ www.healthyhappierbear.com

“Don’t think. Just Run. Save your music for the second half.” @jengaude

“Lots of positive thinking and visualization up to race day.” @kararuns729

“Let go of all your goals out there, smile, have fun, if you feel good speed up and if bad slow down!” @mbsthinks

“Do not eat date pudding the night before!” (or anything new for that matter) @catTBowen 

“At mile 23, remind yourself that you have less than a Modern Family episode to go!” @kristineciard

“Believe you can do what you set out to achieve, no matter what.” @paleorunmomma

“Run with your heart, not your mind.” @chicrunner

“Each mile is a gift. The second you start counting down, you lose the opportunity to take it all in.” @krissymmurphy

Your turn! What tip is missing from this list?

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Berlin Marathon Training – Week 2

It’s finally here. In less than 6 days I will have the opportunity to toe the line of the Berlin Marathon and enjoy every single second of the experience.


I could lose myself in all the questions and anxiety leading up to Sunday’s race but instead, I’m focusing on using my energy in a positive way. I spent 30 minutes on last night’s flight making a list of the things I want to do before leaving for Berlin so that I have the best experience possible.

  • One final speed workout – 6 x 400 meters (CHECK!)
  • One final massage – 60 minute sports massage focusing on my lower back, hips, hamstrings and calves. (CHECK!)
  • Call to confirm flights, hotel accommodations, boat tour. (CHECK!)
  • Download Berlin Marathon app on my iPhone and Bo’s so we have all the information at our fingertips. (CHECK!)
  • Review the course profile and read all the race recaps on Pinterest (CHECK!)
  • Make beet juice for Thursday & Friday. (Thursday AM)
  • Pack my carry on bag which will include everything on the handy, Berlin Marathon packing list AND everything I need for pre-race breakfast and snack.  Double check that full marathon outfit and all chargers are packed! I am carrying my bag on versus checking it so there is no risk of it getting lost.  (Thursday)
  • Reach out to experienced marathon runners to get their tips for running the best marathon possible and compile in a post for readers. (Thursday)
  • Stretch out all the last minute nerves and tension with a hatha yoga class. (Thursday)
  • Sleep at least 9 hours. (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night)
  • Finalize playlist for the marathon. (Friday)

That seems like a ton but I am sure I’m forgetting something. What did I forget?

Now that we’ve reviewed everything I need to do this week while not running, let’s take a look back at last week’s taper.

There are a lot of excuses I could make for last week between the travel to the United States and some other stress. But, at the end of the day, I’m focusing on the other 12 weeks of training which were super strong and my half marathon performance versus focusing on last week. Life goes on.

Monday: 60 minutes of hatha yoga practice

Tuesday: Five mile tempo run along Lake Geneva

Wednesday: Rest day including 14 hours of travel from Geneva to Atlanta, Georgia.


Thursday: I got over the jet lag with a quick 30 minute speed workout in my friend’s apartment gym including 5 x 1000 meters at 7:30 pace.

Friday: Raj showed me new areas of midtown Atlanta including the Beltline Path during our 6 mile run. It was a perfect shakeout run though not as long as my training plan’s prescribed 10 miles.


Saturday: Easy 2 mile run before a day filled with coffee, bagels & lox, a great football game, and 2 pumpkin beers. I’m pretty proud of myself for limiting the alcohol in Athens because it would have been really easy to use it as an excuse and enjoy ALL the pumpkin beers.

Sunday: Rest day including 14 hours of travel from Atlanta to Geneva.

Positive – I ate really healthy, even with two days of travel and lots of celebrating and merrymaking in Atlanta & Athens.

Negative – I fell short on the mileage.

Your turn! What is your #1 tip for a great marathon?

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Berlin Marathon Training–Week 3

I’m still riding a high from Sunday’s half marathon PR! After a much needed rest day, I laced up my shoes late this evening for a tempo run. My legs didn’t enjoy it but it was the perfect opportunity to hop back on the taper training wagon before tomorrow’s 15 hours of travel. Our bags our packed and we’re heading to Atlanta tomorrow. While I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with friends and family that we don’t see nearly enough, traveling to the US this close to the marathon has me a bit nervous. I’ve packed my running gear, massage balls, compression socks and lots of healthy snacks for the flight. While it would be easy to spend our time in Athens enjoying way too much tailgate food and alcohol, I’m going to have fun this weekend but keep things in balance. My eye is on Berlin, not a hangover on Sunday. I hear Ryan Gosling is going to be waiting me at the finish line. Oh wait, never mind, he has a new baby to cuddle instead.

Hey girl....  Run - this would make an awesome spectator sign!  Now if only I had a race to spectate....

This week’s plan includes getting in the prescribed runs, sleeping a lot, drinking tons of water, and limiting my alcohol intake.

Now, let’s get back to last week’s training!

Monday -  A quick 20 minute strength workout including wall squats, walking lunches, planks, jumping jacks, and more.

Tuesday –   I woke up early to do 8 x 800 repeats in through Acton Green Common while staying in Chiswick. My pace stayed between 7:53-8:01 for each of the repeats!

Wednesday – This day should be known as the day Charlie and I took ALL the spin classes. We started our day with 45 minute boot camp spin class at Edge Cycle and ended the day with a 45 minute class at Cycle Beat. I am a competitive person and therefore pushed myself too hard during the class and quickly realized that I prefer spin classes that don’t have public torq/beat/exertion boards for that exact reason.

Cycle Pic 4

Thursday –  After landing back in Geneva, I kicked off the bank holiday with 7 tempo miles along the Lake. I realized during this run that midweek runs between 6-9 miles stress me out far more than speed workouts or long runs. Am I the only one that feels this way?


Friday –  I discovered a new Runners World yoga streaming video which combines foam rolling with yoga. I think I’m going to do this again this week as it was absolute bliss!

Saturday – My rest day included lots of baking, wandering through the farmer’s market, 10 hours of sleep and lots of foam rolling.

ashley 9k

Sunday – The day I finally ran a sub-2 hour half marathon, according to my Garmin, or set a new PR according to the official race results. Regardless, there was bubbly and cheese included in the celebrating Sunday night!

I’m personally exhausted just reading last week’s recap. While it was taper in distance, the effort was beyond taper. Don’t you worry. These two weeks are going to be ALL about respecting the taper.

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