Tips for Training for Your First Marathon
So you registered for a fall marathon…now what?
- Join a Marathon Training Group: I trained alone for my first 3 full marathons. I had to figure out a training plan. I had to figure out what equipment I needed. I had to figure out my nutrition. After my first Goofy Challenge, I decided that I was going to join a marathon training group and I’m so glad I did. I gained the support of the group, made some running friends and the miles flew by! Now, I strongly encourage signing up with a training group to all beginners. Don’t know where to start? Start with your local running store or home/host marathon. I belong to my local running club, triathlon club and also the New York Road Runners club. All of these clubs offer beginner training, coaching and mentoring.
- Get the proper equipment: There are really only four (five for the ladies) items you REALLY need for running – sneakers, socks, shirt and shorts (and then for the ladies – a sports bra). That’s it!
Be aware of the following:
Running Clothes: Look for running clothes that are Dri Fit. Avoid cotton like the plague. Running clothing don’t have to be expensive – Target and Wal-Mart offer economical solutions. Look around at the other runners to see what they’re wearing. If you see something you like – ask where they got it!
Sneakers: Our 16 Week Beginner Marathon training plan calls for over 500 miles of running. Invest in good shoes. Plan a trip to your local running store and get fitted. They will assess your gate and have you try on several pairs of shoes. Then they will have you actually run in these shoes to assure a proper fit.
Running socks: Who knew you needed running socks?!! Buy them. You need them. They are expensive and totally worth every penny.
Sports Bra: Your local running store should also be able to provide sport bra fittings. Invest the time and money in getting a good sport bra. No one wants to see the girls flying around. No one.
Items for consideration:
Road ID: God forbid something was to happen this is a quick way to ID you in an emergency.
Hydration Belt: You need one, maybe not the first week of training, but you are going to need a hydration belt. My advice is to go to training and see what everyone else is wearing. There are a lot of belts on the market and it can be overwhelming. I started out with a Camlebak system and then graduated to a belt. I have a few different belts – one for training and a few different options for racing (I own 6 belts).
Sunglasses: To protect your eyes from UV rays. You are going to be outside A LOT!
The Extra’s – for those who want MORE:
Sports Watch: Again, don’t go out and just buy the first one you see. You really don’t need anything fancy for your first marathon. I have the Garmin 910XT and it will track my mileage, time, pace, heart rate, calories burned, cadence, elevation, etc. This is a nice to have, but not a necessity.
- Prep & protect Your Skin: The two items that I always put on before a long run are Glide (anti chafe) and sunblock. Don’t be stingy you can buy more.
- Get Your Rest: Sleep is #1. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild. Get your rest – especially the night prior to your long run. If you have a day off from training – take it. You need the rest to make your body stronger.
- Fuel Up: “You are what you eat.” “Crap in. Crap out.” Nutrition is key to a successful training plan. Use an APP like MyFitnessPal to log your food and WATER. You want to make sure you are eating enough calories and hydrating. And you want to make sure you are NOT eating too many bad calories. Also, remember to eat prior to your run. Use your coach as a resource to suggest fuel for your long runs. During your training is the time to try new gels and electrolyte drinks, not during your race.
- Have fun and stay positive: I’m not going to lie – your first Marathon Training is going to be hard. There will be good days and bad days, but you WILL get through it. Stay positive and remember your goal – to Run a Marathon!