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Nearly 40,000 people took to the streets of the capital to run in the annual London Marathon on Sunday (April 24).

Thousands of locals and volunteers came out to cheer on the participants and hand out water and sweets... and thankfully there was no snow during the long day.

Runners jogged the 26.2-mile route from Greenwich, through east London and into the centre, finishing on the iconic The Mall right by Buckingham Palace.

And included in the mass of runners was me, getwestlondon's What's On writer.

READ MORE: Take a look at the most weird and wonderful costumes on Marathon day

The London Marathon was my first ever marathon and, as well as learning that my legs can feel pain that I never imagined before, I did learn some important lessons from the experience.

So here are the 26 things I learnt along the way (one lesson for each mile!)

Everyone will look far more professional than you on your first marathon

Don't let people wearing fancy gear and brand new trainers put you off, you've got this.

It will take a good half an hour to actually reach the start line

The nerves really start to build at this point - it takes a long time to actually start!

With so many people running it takes a while to get started

You'll always feel like you haven't trained enough

Even if you genuinely haven't trained enough, but have faith in yourself. You can always walk it, and regretting your training plan will get you nowhere on the day.

Take it easy - for the first few miles at least!

You'll really regret it if you speed off way too fast. It's always a good idea to go slower at first, then you can speed up once you've found your rhythm.

Whoever said 'the first mile is the hardest' was totally wrong

The first mile is a doddle... The 23rd mile is DEFINITELY the hardest!

Keep running!

The people of London are genuinely so supportive (always write your name on your vest!)

Hearing complete strangers cheer your name is strange but lovely - wear your name on your vest so people know to cheer you on.

Some people are running the marathon for the most inspirational reasons

You'll want to run extra hard when you see a runner competing in memory of someone they love - the best thing about the London Marathon is all the people running through their pain for a worthy cause.

Even the smallest hill can seem like a mountain

People reassured me there were no hills along the route, but even a speed bump in the road can feel like you're running uphill for hours.

There's no way to really prepare for the weather

Some predicted snow, others rain. I got sunburnt.

Running in rain or shine

A brilliant running playlist is the most powerful tool...

When you're majorly flagging at mile 16, having one of your favourite upbeat songs come on can be such a good moment.

I went old school with My Chemical Romance and Paramore - loud guitars and angsty lyrics can give you a lot of energy when you're feeling exhausted!

... second only to seeing your friends and family cheering in the crowd

Having people I know pop up every few miles and cheer was such a good boost - especially if they're holding out water and sweets. If you're running next year be sure to recruit some buddies to help get you through race day.

DON'T drink water at every stop you see

It can be pretty dangerous to over-hydrate - better to be a little thirsty than to overdo it and get yourself in trouble.

Energy gel is the worst tasting thing on this planet

Seriously. A berry flavouring cannot mask that weird texture.

Yuk! Energy Gel

Finding the perfect 'running buddy' is a really good moment

Sometimes you'll find yourself running alongside someone who's at your perfect pace; if they don't stop, you can't stop.

Equally, you must know when the time comes to abandon your 'running buddy'

Always stick to your own pace; if someone's trying to outrun you, know when it's time to slow down.

It's actually way more fun than you ever anticipated

I was pumping myself up for a really tough day, but, although it was hard, the atmosphere was great, and I shouldn't have taken the event so seriously... It's really fun!

Getting overtaken by a giant rhino is a demoralising moment

Having someone dressed as a giant rhino, or worse, a giant Minion overtake you is a little upsetting.

That awkward moment when a giant rhino overtakes you

'Hitting the Wall' is a real thing, but it's mostly mental

I hit the wall big time at mile 21 and had to stop and walk for a few minutes. My legs felt like jelly, but it was mostly in my mind - the fact that I still had over FIVE miles to go was overwhelming at that point!

Don't beat yourself up if you have to stop

If you need to use the toilet, or stretch, or just need to walk for a bit, don't beat yourself up. The important thing is just to keep moving (unless you're injured, in which case you should probably stop).

Trying to get your water out of your pocket while jogging is an art

Must. Not. Drop. Everything.

The number one rule for getting through a marathon: pace yourself

I once heard that running a marathon is the ultimate task of self-restraint... With all that adrenaline and great support it's easy to get carried away and run faster than you think you're going. Number one rule: you should always feel as if you could run faster.

Nearly there...

Towards the end, one mile will feel like the longest you've ever run in your life

Seriously?! TWO WHOLE MILES left?!

A lot of people will probably see you cry

It's an emotional day, okay? I got weepy at three separate points: Seeing my friends just as I felt like I could go no further, seeing Tower Bridge and knowing I was nearly half way, and the last 100m before I finished.

However far you've come, you'll always have enough energy to sprint through the finish line!

What an amazing feeling to sprint to the spot where you can finally have a rest!

Any pictures you take at the end of the race won't be the most flattering ever... But you'll seriously treasure them

I may look very moody and sweaty, but it's the first photo taken with that medal around my neck!

Exhausted but exhilarated - honest

The next day will involve a lot of pain and a lot of avoiding stairs

Seriously, Deep Heat spray is your best friend.

And as the race was 26.2 miles, not just 26, my final piece of advice is that you should sign up! Here are all the details you need to join the 2017 race.

Have a look at our great photos of last year's London Marathon and the people who took part!