When I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2010, I was SO nervous the weeks leading up to it. First and foremost, I was absolutely intimidated because this was THE race and I wasn’t sure if I even deserved to be there! I had only qualified by 12 seconds so talk about squeaking in.
Anyways, since it was such a big race, I knew it was going to be a lot different than any other marathon I had ever run before. I tried to find all the information that I could in order to be prepared for it… and the Runner’s World community boards were a great place to start.
This year, I’ll be back to run my fourth Boston Marathon and am so pumped to return! Here are some things that I’ve learned over the past few times I’ve been at Boston:
>>> There are two different ways that people approach this race.
Some runners will run it as any other marathon, put in the work and go out there hard for a PR. For other runners, this is their victory lap. They are in Boston to have a great time and enjoy the atmosphere. I never even thought about this for a race before! So, don’t be surprised if you hear about runners out partying the night before… it happens.
>>> You must get a poster at the expo.
The expo is unlike any other expo that I’ve ever been to before. Of course, it’s huge and amazing, but you see so many magnificent athletes walking around the expo floor. People will wear finisher shirts from 20 years ago; others will have a finisher jacket embroidered with all the years that they raced Boston (and there will be like 12 years listed!).
First and foremost, you must get a poster at the expo. They print every registrant’s name on this poster in small tiny font as a way to make up the larger design. So very cool.
>>> Speaking of the expo… splurge.
Companies go ALL OUT for the Boston Marathon expo. You will find so much cool gear and different stuff that you need in your life. And, splurge. It’s Boston after all!
I highly recommend getting a finisher jacket. They are kinda pricey ($110), but they are the trademark piece of gear that everyone wears after the race with their medal. I also recommend buying the finisher jacket online before you go just in case they happen to run out of your size. Don’t give yourself that stress on the day before the race.
P.S. In my opinion, it is a total faux pas to wear that year’s finisher jacket before you finish the race… in the picture above, I was wearing the one from a prior year. #justsaying
>>> Make dinner reservations the night before the race.
Thousands upon thousands of people come into the city of Boston for the race so as you can expect, restaurants are busy. Make sure you have dinner reservations the night before the race, especially if you eat the sterotypical runner dinner of pasta. You’re welcome.
If you eat at Chipotle like me? Don’t worry about it. 🙂
>>> Enjoy the bus ride.
Organizers of the race do a great job with getting all of the runners to the start. This process is down pat… no reason to stress or worry about it! I usually show up to Boston Common closer to 6 a.m. and they move the lines along rather quickly.
Since it’s a holiday in Boston, they can use the school buses from the area districts. There’s nothing like bumping along in a school bus on your way to Hopkinton with a bunch of other amped up runners… just another one to add to the memory vaults for Boston. 🙂
>>> Bring warm clothes for the Athlete’s Village.
Even if the temperature is on the warmer side (which hopefully it won’t be!), make sure you have several layers of clothing to keep you warm before the race. This was the number one tip that I learned before my race and it was so helpful. Find some clothes that your family members are getting rid of, or buy some from a local Goodwill. I usually bring a heat blanket from a prior race to sit on, and other runners will have books and magazines to keep them occupied before the race.
>>> Know that you will probably get a little choked up during the race.
The first time I ran Boston, I couldn’t help but get choked up as we ran along the first few miles of the course. Just thinking about the history of the race, the unbelievable races that went down on the course… it’s humbling. Not to mention all the hours of work, blood, sweat and tears that you yourself dedicated to the day? Yeah, you can’t help but get a little choked up.
And now of course, there is the whole element of what happened in 2013 with the bombings. I am still not sure how that last stretch will feel along the way as I haven’t run that since the bombings occurred.
>>> Enjoy every minute.
The Boston Marathon is a very special race, one that many people only dream of ever running. Enjoy every single minute of the race and step along the way. It is an incredible experience, one that you will remember for a lifetime.
Who else is running the Boston Marathon this year?
Any other tips?
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