Training for your first 26.2 is a daunting task 鈥 but an awesome goal. 鈥Run a marathon鈥 is on many people鈥檚 bucket lists. After your first marathon, you鈥檒l go through a ton of emotions 鈥 pride, relief, pain (inevitable), hunger and, yes, wondering which marathon is up next. To help you prepare, we asked nine聽seasoned marathoners what they wish they knew before they headed to their very first start line.

Cassandra Pisone 鈥 San Francisco,聽CA

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First Marathon: 2015聽Pittsburgh Marathon

Number of Marathons:聽1 (next one will be 2016 LA Marathon)

What I Wish I Knew: 鈥淚 wish I knew that it wasn鈥檛 just me that was hurting toward the end! I had to keep reminding myself that no one felt good after running 20+ miles 鈥 I wouldn鈥檛 have felt so alone!鈥 (Photo聽via聽Almost Getting It Together)

Katie O鈥橤rady聽+ Agatha Kluk 鈥 New York,聽NY

Katie O'Grady Agatha Kluk Marathon

Katie鈥檚 First Marathon:聽2011聽NYC Marathon

Number of Marathons:聽3

What I Wish I Knew: 鈥淚 would highly recommend聽Lynx聽sports bras for my fellow聽double Ds out there! Also everyone should pick up 鈥渢he STICK鈥 for inevitable training and post-race aches and pains (especially for your IT band!!)鈥

Agatha鈥檚 First聽Marathon:聽Ocean Drive Marathon in Cape May, NJ in 2008

Number of Marathons:聽14

What I Wish I Knew: 鈥淒o not underestimate the value of a good anti-chafing product.鈥

Lauren Seserko聽鈥 Baltimore, Maryland

breathedeeplyandsmile

First Marathon:聽2013 Baltimore Marathon

Number of Marathons: 2 (next one will be 2015 Chicago Marathon)

What I Wish I Knew: 鈥淚 wish I knew that it was going to be harder than my training runs and sometimes things just happened, like my quads being super tight despite stretching all week. I also didn鈥檛 know how much of an emotional rollercoaster it would be with smiles, pain and tears all in one race!鈥 (Photo via聽Breathe Deeply and Smile)

Susan Warcholak 鈥 Calgary, Canada

dothingsalways

First Marathon:聽2013 Kauai聽Marathon

Number of Marathons:聽3 (next one will be 2015 Las Vegas Rock n鈥 Roll Marathon)

What I Wish I Knew: 鈥淚 wish I had realized I was only ever going to experience my first marathon once and had taken time to appreciate the incredible journey of 26.2 instead of being worried about every little thing.鈥 (Photo via聽Do Things Always)

Susie Lemmer 鈥 Chicago,聽IL

suzlyfe

First Marathon:聽2013 DC Marine Corps聽Marathon

Number of Marathons:聽3 (with number 4 being Boston 2016)

What I Wish I Knew:聽鈥淓very marathon is a collection of small steps. Rejoice in each one, and think of how happy you鈥檒l be!鈥 (Photo via聽Suzlyfe)

Elisabeth McClellan 鈥 Simi Valley,聽CA

runwiki

First Marathon:聽2010 DC聽National Museum Marathon (Now Rock n鈥 Roll DC Marathon)

Number of Marathons:聽9 (and one ultra-marathon!)

What I Wish I Knew: 鈥淗aving a training, pace and nutrition plan dramatically increases the odds of a good race.鈥 (Photo via @RunWiki)

Courtney聽Shrum 鈥 Seattle,聽WA

rainsoakedrun

First Marathon:聽2014 Chuckanut Mountain Marathon

Number of Marathons: 2

What I Wish I Knew: 鈥淵our mental game is so much more than your physical game. Don鈥檛 get me wrong 鈥 the physical plays a big role 鈥 but the mental keeps you going!鈥 (Photo via聽Rain Soaked Run)

Nona 鈥 Flagstaff,聽AZ

nona_runs

First Marathon:聽2012 Phoenix Rock n鈥 Roll Marathon

Number of Marathons: 4, including a Boston 2016 Qualifier

What I Wish I Knew: 鈥淚 wish I had known just how much of a mental battle it is! The last six miles are the worst, and it will be much more mental than physical. It hurts 鈥 more than I was prepared for 鈥 and that took a huge toll on my mental strength! Your body is capable of the distance; that鈥檚 what training is for. The biggest battle towards the end will be silencing the little voice that wants to quit. Just remember, you can do hard things!鈥 (Photo via @nona_runs)

Have you ever run a marathon? What would you like to tell yourself before your first race?