Tips for First Time Boston Marathoners

You woke up numerous times to complete those tempo runs while the rest of the world slept. You trialed numerous versions of the adult version of baby food that no normal, sane person would consider trying (hello ooey gooey gel). You made sacrifices to get you to that starting line with the ultimate goal on the horizon. Two words. Boston Marathon.

As you were running your race you start to click off one mile after another. Before you know it you start calculating the final mile paces you need to get that goal. When your legs felt as though they had been set on fire another fire was burning within in (okay, I know that sounds sappy, but bare with me). The one which told you your goal was achievable and by golly, you were going to get there if you had to crawl over the finish line. As the line approaches you give everything you have left and cross that line with a feeling I think only those who have finished a marathon can explain. Feelings of, oh my gosh, my legs are locked up. My body feels like death. I want to sit, but fear I won’t be able to get up, and oh…. I just finished a stinken marathon and I am GOING TO BOSTON BABY!

Once you come out of “la la la I am going to Boston” land the planning starts. Tickets. Lodging. Race strategies. Below are a few tips I hope can help make your Boston Marathon experience the ultimate experience!

1. If you haven’t booked a room yet, and have your tribe coming I would highly recommend looking into Airbnb or Vrbo type of lodging. We found an awesome apartment in Cambridge in walking distance to the MBTA (T route) which took me right to Bus area.

2. If you are afraid of getting lost in the subway system do not worry. There are runners EVERYWHERE who will help lead the way. Coming from back west where subways do not exist, even I didn’t get lost. Runners also get to ride for free on race day! I found this out after I paid of course.

3. Now is the time to really consider if you want to race, race/enjoy or simply enjoy the race. I made the decision to fully take in the experience, cheer and slap hands vs. try to run a PR type of race. I had zero regrets on this decision. By all means though – enjoy it regardless of how you decide to run that day!

4. My biggest recommendation is to purchase meclizine or another OTC anti-nausea pill if you get sick on bus rides. The ride to the start is LONG and not smooth. I ended up puking on the bus! Don’t worry, I was super discreet and no one knew except the kind runner (who happened to be a nurse) sitting next to me. She even gave me her extra plastic bag to use. Super embarrassing, but a lesson well learned.

5. Things are busy and hopping in Boston. Its Marathon week! If you want to do a nice dinner the night before either consider the dinner they have available or make a reservation. We kept it low-key and had some pizza in the comfort of our apartment.

6. Before the race if it is warm consider taking some throw away pants. You may end up spending a lot of time in the running tent and those pants will convert to a nice make-shift seat on the grass for you.

7. If you have family with you make sure to know what side they will be cheering for you on! I completely missed my family because I was on the far right, and they were on the left. The crowds are so awesome and loud that trust me, you won’t hear them screaming for you if you are on the other side.

8. Finally, have fun! Smile and wave like a rock star for those cameras. If this is a time to buy pictures, do it! This is a memory you deserve to celebrate and remember!


Congratulations! You put in the work and you made it. Now go out there and get your new title.. Boston Marathoner