Maria Andrade, of Macon, Ga., (11348) celebrates finishing her Publix Georgia Half Marathon Sunday, March 22, 2015, in Atlanta. David Tulis / AJC Special
Photo: David Tulis
Photo: David Tulis

Running a marathon? You'll need to know these five things first

The roads have reopened, the winners have been recognized and the post-race meals have been devoured. The Southeastern tradition that is the 2016 Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon was yet again a success.

While some runners checked a 26.2-miler off their bucket list and vowed to never look back, others are already registering for another race later this year. Nonetheless, there are several uncommon tips that any runner who dominated the course this past Sunday might like to share with a friend gearing up for his or her very first long distance race.

Bring your own Ibuprofen.

You're probably going to experience aches and pains in your race, but who says your joints are going to coincide with when race directors assume you may need ibuprofen? The Publix Georgia Marathon offered Advil around mile 18. Let it be your call if you may need a little anti-inflammatory action sooner or later in your race. It could potentially be the key in making your race a much greater success.

Keep your sense of humor.

Unless you are an extremely seasoned marathoner looking to finish in a desired position or hit a very specific finishing time, enjoy the many ways along the course to let a sense of well-being overcome you. You're going to need the extra boost of confidence.

Think happy thoughts. If there are Chick-Fil-A cows lined up offering high fives, slap those furry hands. If there's a kid waving his or her little arms in excitement for you to make it up a hill, smile and show them the power you've got left in your legs. If someone offers you a fist bump, don't leave them hangin'. Bump those knuckles and offer a few yourself to struggling strangers along the course.

Get there early. Really early.

Parking is tricky anywhere, especially in downtown Atlanta. Try to get into the race area an hour to an hour and half prior to the official start time. This gives you time to find a space for parking, time to get stretched out and time to make a couple visits to the restroom.

Don't be afraid to eat during the race.

While in other marathons, you may have had to bring your own simple sugars, the Publix Georgia Marathon offered a variety of treats from jelly beans to energy gel packets. After around mile 7, food was offered every 3-4 miles.

Take the opportunity to replenish your fuel every chance you get.

Your body will thank you for it later in the race. The only thing more uncomfortable than hurting joints and muscles is the feeling of "hitting the wall," or the feeling that results from depleted glycogen stores to fuel your muscles.

Say cheese.

You're going to look pretty scary in race pictures no matter what. At least make it look like you were having a good time. Completing a marathon is an enormous achievement, so give yourself a reason to smile when you look back on your race day.

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