Give Me Your Marathon Advice

Good morning!

I can’t believe I’m already back at the office. This weekend felt like it lasted about two seconds.

In case you unplugged for the weekend, here’s what you missed in Ali On The Run land:

I’d say life is good.

In other news, you may have noticed that Ali On The Run has a new home! You no longer need to type out the whole business.

Now you can simply find me at

So after this weekend got the best of me and I survived the entire thing on pretty much zero sleep, I was in bed around 8:00 last night. I passed out immediately, woke up a few times during the night to use the bathroom, and still snoozed straight through my alarm this morning.

I think my body needed some sleep.

I still woke up with enough time to squeeze in a 3-mile run in perfect conditions. The air was warm (somewhere around 60 degrees I think), the breeze off the river was cool and there was no sun. Those are the conditions I want when it’s finally marathon day!

I am going to have another crazy busy week at the office, so there was no time for fun outfit stylings this morning. Sorry.

When you’re rushing in the morning, a dress and messy bun are the only options. I bought this shirtdress at the Banana Republic outlet a few years ago and it’s still one of my favorite things I own. It’s so easy to just throw on with a belt and it’s super comfortable. It also works year-round. Great purchase.

Time to kick the day into gear. I’m going to be hustling around the office then hopefully making it to the gym for some strength training fun. Tonight I’ll be watching “Dancing With the Stars.” For work. Not because I choose to.

In the meantime, to all the Facebookies out there, might I recommend liking my page?

Have a great Monday, everyone!

NOW LET’S TALK: I’m in marathon training mode now — the Hamptons Marathon will be my first 26.2! I’ll be working with an awesome coach who definitely knows his stuff, but I’d also love to hear from you. I know many of you out there are marathoners and probably have great advice. What’s your best piece of marathon advice, whether it pertains to training, fueling, carbo-loading (nevermind, I’ve got that one down) or race day must-dos?



0 Responses

  1. Hi Ali,

    I just found your blog. that is so exciting about your marathon? When is it? I am just starting to train for one too, my first!!! So i love this question:) Your blog is great!!! I am excited to see how your training goes, I know you will do great!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. The Hamptons Marathon is on September 24. It sounds so far away but I’m sure it’ll creep up on me before I know it. Good luck with your training!

  2. That’s awesome about the Hampton’s Marathon, so much fun! Definitely listen to your body, take it all in and enjoy yourself. A full marathon is so much different than a half, which I feel like a lot of people say that they understand that, but then when it comes time to run they they try to translate their experience and then feel as though they have come up short. Definitely lean on Emily, she is so experienced and knows so much!

    PS LOVE that Banana Dress, such a good staple!

  3. Congrats! I’ll be running the Hamptons half that weekend, serving as a long run for the NYC marathon. Advice? Don’t set a time goal, just run and enjoy it. There will be plenty of time for a PR with your second marathon. You will be hooked.

  4. I have no marathon advice either, but I am planning on running my first one at the end of August!!! I can’t wait to read about your training!
    Awesome job on getting your site self-hosted too! I got excited when I didn’t see .wordpress on your address anymore! When I am ready to do the same I will have to get your advice because I have no idea what I am doing!!!

  5. It looks like you already have some great advice above. My advice as you get started is just don’t be intimidated. Not by the distance, the pace, the workouts or the coach. Training for a marathon is hard work, but when done correctly and with other people it is a LOT of fun! Enjoy it!

  6. 1. I just watched your RFTR video, and it was awesome. You seem so personable!

    2. Marathon advice – Everything that everyone said above, plus this: make sure to drive/walk/somehow peruse the route in person (not just on a map) beforehand so that you can get an idea of what you’re in for where. Be aware of locations for bathrooms, aid stations, hills, and if you’ll have spectators, try to scatter them along the route to cheer you on if possible. It was easier (if that’s even possible) to get through all 26.2 miles when I knew what was coming & when! Good luck!

  7. Smart training!!! Having each one of your runs serve a solid purpose but also giving your body some time to rest from the intensity of your workouts. Also, try to enjoy the experience. I’m not so good at that. I wish I was!!!!

  8. You look beautiful in the simple all black outfit! Congrats on the domain name – very big blog step!
    Oh wow, it’s hard to narrow down marathon training to one piece of advice! But I guess if I had to pick one, it would be to always remember that training should feel like something enjoyable, not like torture (well, okay some 20 mile runs or speed workouts might feel like torture…) but in general I think it’s important to remember that if you start to forget that workouts should be exciting, dreading each day of training will wear on you really fast. It’s so important to make sure you do whatever you need to do (switch things up, run with friends, drive to a new place to run, etc) to keep things enjoyable! A positive attitude and enthusiasm will take you a long way, and that’s really what the marathon is all about!

  9. Your dress is adorable. Classic and simple. Dresses are my go to when I have no idea what to wear.
    I’m excited to follow your training. I’m officially starting my chicago training next week!

    Good luck!

  10. ooh, how exciting! I would definitley suggest increasing your mileage slowly to avoid injury (no more than about 10% of your total mileage per week), and keep up with a good stretching/foam rolling/strengthening routine. Can’t wait to follow your training!

  11. Am I allowed to write a novel in the comments section? No. Okay, well expect frequent and lengthy communication from me on the subject for the next several months.

    I think the thing that helped me most during my first training cycle for a marathon was finding other people to do it with. I know you’re just starting to see the benefits in running with friends, but the longer the run, the more the company helps. I ran with my roommate, my mom, my coworker, running groups, ANYONE who would agree to tackle double digits with me.

    Also, embrace cross training. My first marathon is when I got a stress fracture and it was definitely from being a slave to my training plan when in reality, the difference between doing a 3 mile recovery run and a 3o minute swim is pretty much nothing.

  12. Best advice I got: it’s the night before the night before the race that counts the most, sleep-wise, because chances are you’ll feel too antsy to fall asleep early on Marathon Eve! I only got four hours of sleep before running NYC last year…so I sure was glad I got 10 the night before that!

  13. I think for you it’d be helpful to start testing out fueling strategies early on, just a guess but Crones might make eating during the run cause more complications than the rest of us. So try out different gus/drinks/jelly beans to figure out how they affect your stomach and your energy while running. During a marathon I usually take a gu packet every 10k and I know the ones with caffeine leave me searching out port a potties so I avoid them for races.

    The advice everyone above has given is also really helpful. Listen to your body and your coach. An extra rest day or two won’t derail your training, it can actually help it. Not only should you take rest days you should try to prioritize getting a lot of sleep as tough as that is to do.

  14. I just ran my first marathon, and I definitely second all the advice given above. The biggest issue I had was that I got really really sick of running. Definitely mix up your routes and music and running buddies. My stomach also had trouble adjusting, so I learned very quickly what I could and could not eat before runs. Make sure you do eat before your long runs – I also found that keeping a regular hydration/nutrition schedule during my long runs was helpful. I ended up buying a fuel belt and going through a bunch of Shot Bloks.

    Also, the last four or so miles of the actual marathon are going to hurt. Like, I don’t think there’s any possible way you won’t feel like your hips are going to snap off your body. But you’ll run through it. THAT I’m sure of.

  15. I’d agree with what the smart ladies above have said. My first marathon I religiously stuck to the training schedule and would FREAK OUT if I missed a midweek training run bc of work, weather, sickness, social life etc. The long runs (well I think at least) are the ones you don’t want to skip… a missed 3 miles mid week is nothing in the grand scheme of things!

    And I like the Cliff Bar gels… they are organic and agree with my stomach (and my stomach is picky!). Let’s just say its the only brand that doesnt leave me out of commission after a long run! 🙂

    Good luck!

  16. One thing that keeps me sane during marathon training is switching up the long runs – that includes location, running alone versus with someone else, different music or podcasts, etc. Especially during summer, the runs can feel really monotonous after 3+ months so you have to work to keep from getting bored!

  17. Only ONE best piece of advice? That is a really tough one. I’d agree with Beth to absolutely not set a goal time. However, in terms of advice for doing well, I’d say to not forget about the mental part of running a marathon in addition to the physical – it’s often overlooked, but in all the marathons I’ve done, my best times haven’t been the ones where I’ve been the best trained, but the ones where I was in a great mood, had a lot of mental strength, etc. Yes, your legs need to be strong, but your mind needs to be even stronger so that you don’t give up, and you actually push your legs/lungs/etc to their limits.

  18. For your first marathon, do not set a time goal. Your goal is to finish and feel decent doing so. My favorite race fuel is Hammer gel (and I’ve tried them all)…digests easily for me, no simple sugars, and flavors are good too. Schedule a massage either later in the day on marathon day or the next morning–you’ll be happy you did!

  19. I’m sure you’ll here this a lot, but pace yourself! You’re so lucky you have a coach to help you see what the right pace will be for you. Also, never doubt the importance of mantras. I swear, when I run, I say so many little motivational phrases to myself! My fave one is, “If this was easy, everyone would be doing it” 🙂

  20. Just based on what I’ve seen from your regular running posts, I think one important thing for you will be to rest religiously, even when you don’t want to! I am betting Coach Cane will be able to help prescribe the best fit for you, but definitely don’t shirk your resting responsibilities. 🙂

    Also, a fun thing I’ve seen done is a waterproof bracelet (you can make this yourself with a strip of paper and clear duct tape) with 26 + 1 names that you write on it. Each of those names represents one mile dedicated to one important person in your life. It helps get you through the 26.2 when you’re thinking of them and how they’ve inspired you, and trust me, they’ll be so honored to know that Mile 7 or Mile 17 is dedicated to them.

    BEST OF LUCK! I cannot wait to hear all about this journey!

    (PS I’m totally down for a morning run with you, but would prefer one of your shorter runs, like today! Ha!)

  21. I have no marathon experience – but I agree with Amy – listen to you body. I think it is the most important thing anyone can do when training for anything! Make sure you rest when you need to and get enough sleep! Don’t push through what appears to be an injury – it is better to take it down a notch and take a day or 2 off.. then have to miss the race!

    Love you black dress. Mondays after a holiday are made for simple!

  22. Listen to your body! Even the best laid training plans need adjusting so let how you’re feeling be the final call week-to-week in terms of total mileage, etc. I usually go in with a skeleton (pool running + lift monday, track tuesday, etc.) and then let my coach/how I’m feeling dictate how long I do each. Takes some of the pressure off too to hit mileage goals each day. As long as I’m where I should be for the week, it’s all good.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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