How to Train for Your First Marathon
A journey of a hundred miles starts with a single step, and the journey of 26.22 miles starts the same way. Deciding to train for your first marathon is incredibly exciting, but it can also be intimidating if you’ve never done anything like it before. Many simply give up before ever getting to the starting gate. If you approach your first marathon with a plan, and set periodic milestones, there's no reason you can't achieve your goal. Here are some of our best tips to start the training process and run through the finish line at your first marathon.
Build a Strong Foundation
Before you start training in earnest for your first marathon, you need to know where you currently stand. What's the longest distance you have run in the past? Do you have a pair of running shoes that fit well? Do you regularly run or do cardio as part of your exercise routine? In general, it's best to practice by running 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons before starting a marathon. Just like any other skill, you are much more likely to fail if you don’t set smaller goals along the way. Look at running a marathon as your goal, and the shorter races as your milestones along the way.
It’s also a good idea to have yourself fitted for running shoes and insoles if you have not in the past. The right shoes will support your feet and ensure that you can train vigorously without doing damage to your feet. The wrong shoes can hurt your legs, feet, hips and entire body over time. Making an investment upfront can also help you to stick to your marathon training.
Create a Good Plan
The right marathon training plan will help you to stay motivated and on track without putting your body in danger. Any training plan that is too short (a couple of weeks) or too intense (long runs every day) is not a good fit for most people. In general, you should choose a plan that is 18-20 weeks long that will cover all of the running basics you need to know. If you are a more experienced runner, a moderately-difficult plan could help you prepare through hill repeats, speed workouts and tempo runs. Do you think that you will need a little extra help? Hiring a marathon coach can give you customized support and ensure that you adapt your training to your skill level throughout the process.
Build Up Over Time
One of the key things that most marathon training plans provide runners with is a mileage progression that is realistic. You should never go from running 5 miles to 20 without any practice! Most training schedules will start out with running 15-20 miles every week and building up to 40 or more before decreasing. A good plan will also include multiple types of runs. Longer runs increase your endurance so that you can tackle the full length of a marathon. Shorter runs will make sure that you keep your speed fast enough that you don’t end up at the back of the pack. By varying distance, intensity and speed, you will be able to adapt to the unique demands of running a long distance race.
How Do You Get to Your First Marathon?
As with everything, it begins with the first step. If you're not a seasoned runner, follow the recommendations above and start slowly moving toward your goal. Progressing too quickly can not only increase your odds of giving up, but can also result in actual injury. Get the best footwear you can afford, train for a 5K, and then take the slow but steady steps toward your goal of running a marathon. Stay disciplined and keep your eyes on the prize, and before you know it, you'll be crashing through the finish line.
RX Fitness Equipment Is Here to Help You Make the Best Choices
If you're about to begin your quest to conquer the 26.22 miles that represent a marathon run, and you'd like to discuss your goals with a professional, RX Fitness works with hundreds of professional coaches, personal trainers, and nutritionists. We're happy to refer you to one or several to help you get started. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget. And, for some in-depth advice about equipment and accessories, don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.