Have you decided to go the distance and run your first marathon? Before you register, read these 3 tips to ensure that you embark on a successful training program. Follow these steps, and enjoy the journey towards having an awesome race day experience.
I have been running and competing in triathlon for over 10 years. I began my journey into endurance sports with my end goal in mind: to ultimately compete in an Ironman distance triathlon (140.6 miles total). I knew I had to start somewhere, so I set out to run my first marathon, and had a fantastic race, finishing in just over 4 hours. Not bad for a first-timer.
Many years ago, I worked as a personal trainer. I had several clients who were inspired by my success at distance running and asked me to train them to run a marathon. Here are the keys for success that I shared with them:
1. Give yourself enough time. Assuming you have a solid base and can comfortably run at least 6 miles, you will need a full 12 weeks to train for a marathon. I had virtually no running experience when I embarked on my journey. I started with a 5k (3.1 miles) and built gradually. With adequate time to prepare, you will not onlyavoid injury, but can alleviate the pressure and anxiety that arises when you haven’t trained well enough to finish the race.
2. Run for a charity. I always encourage marathon newbies to select a charity to run for. The benefits of doing this are many. You will meet other like-minded athletes and likely be welcomed into a thriving running community. You will benefit from training with a group, because the organization provides free coaching in exchange for your participation. You will rally the support of your friends and family because you will be asking them to make a donation on your behalf. You will feel positive for participating in a good cause that reflects your personal values and passions. Running with a group also promotes accountability and consistency. No one wants to look like a slacker for not showing up.
3. Adhere to the schedule. Don’t use your first marathon as an opportunity to freestyle your training. It is a challenging event, and if you are not a running coach, you should rely on the experts to map out a safe training schedule. Too often first-timers either skip too many runs, or overdo it. Either of these mistakes can ultimately result in injury.
By following these tips, you will have a great experience as you becoming a member of the 26.2 family! I wish you the best of luck.