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5 Last-Minute Boston Marathon Tips For First-Timers

Monday is going to be a very special day for you! The culmination of hundreds—if not thousands—of miles run. While any finish at Boston is to be celebrated, who doesn’t want to feel good and run strong into the finish? Here are five tips to help you reach your goal on Patriot’s Day.

Bring a gallon-size bag or throwaway shirt to sit on.
A good portion of Athlete’s Village is grass. You may be able to find a spot on the pavement to sit down, however, it is more than likely that you are going to need to set up camp on the grass. If you don’t have something to sit on you may be tempted to stand around while waiting for your turn to head to the start. No matter your pace, running 26.2 miles takes a good amount of time. You want your legs fresh and rested before you begin.

Wear sunscreen.
It’s a good idea to always protect your skin when out running but it becomes a requirement during a marathon when you are out in the sun for an extended period of time. This is especially important at Boston because of where the sun will be overhead and the lack of shade in certain parts of the race. If you skip this minor tip, you may end up with an extremely burnt right side of your body as well as your back. You have been warned.

Start slow.
The start at Boston is tricky in that it is downhill, the excitement is high and you likely are in the best shape of your life. You may think that you are fitter than you thought as you blaze through the first miles. This may be the case, or it could be a combination of the downhill and the excitement that has you running faster than your overall goal race pace. Resist the urge to run fast in the early miles. Don’t waste energy weaving in and out of people during the crowded, narrow start. Settle in to a slower-than-goal-pace tempo and remind yourself that patience wins when it comes to the marathon distance.

Run the hills smart.
This tip relates to the tip above. While you likely have heard about the Newton Hills, they are not that bad when it comes to hills. They are, however, miserable if you start out too fast and have pounded your legs into oblivion in the early miles. If you run smart up until mile 17, there is no reason that the hills have to slow your race pace to a death march.

Run on effort.
Because of the varying terrain and occasionally varying weather conditions over the course of 26.2 miles, you may want to consider running on effort rather than following an exact mile-per-mile breakdown plan. If you are giving a solid effort each mile, don’t let it mentally mess with you if you see a mile that is slower than you wanted. The marathon is a long way to go, and losing 10 seconds here or there is okay—if you run smart you can make up those seconds in other miles.

Enjoy the day. While every person who shows up to run Boston on Monday won’t have the best race of their life time-wise, there is no reason this can’t be the best race of your life experience wise. Savor the moment and celebrate all the milestones along the way.

Read More:
7 Tips On Qualifying For The Boston Marathon
Coach Tips For First-Time Boston Marathon Runners


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Dorothy Beal is the creator of the #irunthisbody and #IHaveARunnersBody MOVEments and the owner of, a website that sells fun running tees and jewelry! She is a mother of three who started running in college as a way to lose weight literally and figuratively and got hooked in the process. In 2003 she completed her first marathon and has run 31 of them since. Sharing her passion for running is one of the things she most enjoys behind being a mom. You can find her writing about life as a runner on her personal blog at and follow her on Instagram, where she shares her life in photos @mileposts.