Training for Your First Marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a moment after you reg­is­ter for your first marathon when it sud­den­ly becomes clear that you’ve com­mit­ted to run­ning much far­ther than 26.2 miles. It sinks in that your train­ing will require eas­i­ly over 100 miles of run­ning. And, if you’re a sane per­son, that’s the moment it gets a lit­tle scary and you real­ize: this thing you’ve decid­ed to do is real­ly going to hurt.

But don’t fret—here are some tips to make the train­ing process a lit­tle bit smoother (except the run­ning part, of course, that’s real­ly all up to you):

Make time
One of the biggest things you’ll have to do is rearrange your sched­ule a lit­tle bit to make time for your runs. When you have a 26.2‑mile race loom­ing, the last thing you want to do is skimp on train­ing because you just don’t have enough time. If you real­ly don’t have enough time, you have no busi­ness run­ning a marathon. It’s as easy as that. So make sure you can fit in runs at least 4 or 5 days of the week.

fdFind a sched­ule that works for you
All it takes is a quick Google search and you’ll find a vari­ety of marathon-train­ing sched­ules. One is bound to work for you. Be sure to tweak it as much as nec­es­sary and add the runs to your phone cal­en­dar so you’ll have it with you at all times.

Don’t pro­cras­ti­nate
You will feel every day of pro­cras­ti­na­tion in your marathon. Seri­ous­ly. Get out there and go run today. Don’t push off your train­ing runs or you won’t be get­ting the dis­tance or speed you want in your longer runs.

Slow and steady
Don’t plan on start­ing with 7‑mile runs if you haven’t even been run­ning five. Increase your week­ly mileage by no more than 10 per­cent, because the last thing you want is an injury. And don’t wor­ry too much about your pace to start with. It’s your first marathon; your pri­ma­ry goal should be just to finish.

restdaysUse your rest days
Use your rest days; you’ll need them. Overuse is easy when you’re train­ing for a long run and it can cause huge prob­lems. So be sure to relax. You won’t get stronger if you’re con­stant­ly try­ing to go at 100 percent.

Eat well
Besides choos­ing health­i­er options, you’ll also prob­a­bly want to eat more than usu­al since you’ll be burn­ing a lot of calo­ries on those runs—and you’ll real­ly need the fuel. And don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly wor­ry about “car­bo load­ing.” Use your food sched­ule dur­ing your train­ing as a gauge of what to eat before, dur­ing and after your marathon. Don’t do any­thing dif­fer­ent just for the race; keep it consistent.

Hydrate
The longer you run, the more water you’ll need. Don’t get dehy­drat­ed. Not only will it cost you in your runs, result­ing in a slow­er pace you might not even be able to sus­tain for as far as you need to, it can also result in seri­ous health issues.

Get some sleep
You won’t be able to run at 100 per­cent if you haven’t been sleep­ing at 100 per­cent. And you might even need to sleep a lit­tle more than usu­al, because a 17-mile run can real­ly tuck­er you out.

cross-trainingDo some cross-training
Cross-train­ing is a great way to mix it up and avoid overuse of cer­tain mus­cles. Do some yoga for stretch­ing and strength, or head out for a bike ride to work on your endurance and use your legs in a dif­fer­ent way. Do what works for you and fits in your train­ing schedule.

Try to have fun
A lot of run­ning mag­a­zines will tell you that marathons are fun, but in actu­al­i­ty: they’re not real­ly. The fun part is the feel­ing you get when you’re done and being able to say you did it. The actu­al run­ning part is hard and it hurts, but forc­ing a smile until it becomes real can def­i­nite­ly help make it more enjoy­able. Fake it till you make it.