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10 Marathon Mistakes to Avoid

With the 2020 Spring marathon season about to start, it's worth taking stock of some common rookie marathon mistakes, particularly if this is one of your first marathons.

1. Probably best not to run if you're injured.  There's no way the body can cope with 26.1 miles if you're not fighting fit.  Obviously there are different levels of running injury.  With some running injuries you could possibly still run but at a slower pace than your target.

2. Don't drink/eat anything before or on the run that you haven't tried before.  Don't be tempted by energy drinks or gels at the water stations unless you've practised eating or drinking these during your long training runs. From bitter experience we've found that some energy gels can lead to an urgent need for the bathroom!

3. Don't wear any new kit, socks or trainers on the day.  Even if it's great kit, it might not work for you. You need to turn to your tried-and-tested kit, even if it's a little shabby.

4. Don't cut it tight getting to the start.  Assume there'll be problems on the train, tube or roads.  Many marathons take place on Sundays, when public transport is rarely as frequent or reliable as during the working week.

5. Don't be surprised if there are very long queues for the loos. There always are. Assume you might need to queue for at least 30 minutes for the bathroom.

6. Don't set off too fast.  It's much easier on the body to run at a steady pace or even do a negative split.  Even experienced runners often go off too fast, carried away by the excitement of the start.

7. Don't assume you'll find your friends/family easily at the finish.  Agree a precise meeting place within a time band. This has caught us out on a number of occasions because roads are often blocked for the marathon.  Bear in mind that after the finish, you may feel too exhausted to even jog to a meeting point a few miles away.

8. Don't forget to smile as you cross the line. You've made it and you may have the photo of your moment of glory up in your bathroom for many years yet!

9. Don't be too disappointed if you don't hit your target time.  How you'll feel during such a long race is always unpredictable. Many find that the real race begins at mile 20.

10. Don't plan your next marathon until you've enjoyed and reflected sufficiently on this one.  When you do, think back to what you enjoyed about the race and what you didn't. Some people like running with crowds, others prefer a more solitary experience. There are marathons of all types out there and it's worth taking the time to make the right choice for you.