On April 9, thousands of runners will take over the streets of Los Angeles for the 2014 LA Marathon. They'll join the hundreds of thousands of runners in the United States who will complete a marathon this year.
If you've signed up for your first marathon this year, before starting your 26.2 mile journey, congratulations! To help you with your big run, Paul Smedley, an outdoor sports expert and senior buyer at Sport Chalet, provided some tips to help you have a successful run.
Smedley has spent his entire life participating in outdoor activities - from hiking and camping, climbing and mountaineering, to road biking and mountain biking. He has been an avid skier for over 35 years and a competitive trail runner.
From gear to hydration, read on for Smedley's tips for marathon runners.
With any kind of running, staying hydrated is of utmost importance.
Traditional hydration packs can be bulky and add unnecessary weight. Invest in a lightweight pack like a hydration belt, which also includes a pocket to carry energy gels, cash and more.
Twenty-six miles of constant motion can cause friction that irritates the skin.
Use a body balm (like Body Glide) to create a barrier between the skin and clothing to prevent any discomfort during a marathon. Body balms can also be used on the feet to help prevent blistering.
For marathoners looking to track their pace, distance or heart rate, a running watch can be a great tracking tool throughout training and on race day.
Runners should consider wearing compression apparel to help decrease the muscle vibration caused by running, which in turn will help reduce fatigue over a long distance.
In addition, compression apparel also increases blood flow, offers core support and provides muscle warmth that can support performance and aid in post-run recovery.
Shoes that really fit you
Another important factor to consider for a marathon is finding a running shoe that complements the unique gait of the runner.
Many stores, including Sport Chalet, offer free gait analysis and shoe fitting to help runners select the perfect shoe for marathon day.
Trust your training
Above all else, runners should always default to their training. The excitement of marathon day should not deviate from an established routine.
Even changes in the diet can often negatively affect marathon performance. Be sure to stick to a race-day schedule that has proven to be successful in training.