Whether new to running or an experienced marathoner, we all look for marathon training tips to help us get better and achieve our goals.
Following are a few marathon training tips for the first time marathon runner:
Find the right marathon training program for you. Do not just find a program and go with it or, even worse, find one and think it’s just too tough and maybe you should shoot for a lesser goal. There are tons of programs available in books or free on the internet. Just be thorough and find a program you feel comfortable with, believe you can complete, and that you can work into your busy weekly schedule.
Select the right marathon for you. There are flat or hilly ones, some with hundreds of runners, some with tens of thousands of runners. Find the best race course for you.
Set realistic goals. If this is your first marathon, you do not know what you are in store for when you hit mile-20, 22, 24, and higher on your big day. Crossing the finish line might be the most realistic goal. Maybe think “it would be nice to finish in under ___ hours, but my goal is to finish.”
Have a base before starting a training schedule. Allow ample time to put in mileage before starting your actual training program. Most programs recommend you be able to run a minimum of 30-minutes without stopping before getting into training. Allow 8-10 weeks, for example, to run 4-5 days per week, gradually increasing your total mileage each week. In addition to building your base, this will also help you to get some of the aches and pains over with before you begin training. You will still have many aches and pains, you will minimize pain though in the early stages of your training.
Get a good pair of running shoes. They will be the most important piece of your running gear. Try on many pair to find the best cushion and comfort for your feet. Once you run in them and like them, consider investing in another pair or two to rotate during your training period.
Keep a training journal. Whether you use a notebook, spreadsheet, or something fancy, keeping a training journal is a fun way to document your training, monitor your progress, and provided added motivation & confidence as you start racking up the mileage.
Stay hydrated every day. Replace those daily glasses of tea or soda with water and drink more of them. Weigh yourself before each run and then after the run. Consume enough water in the first 30-minutes following the run to get your body weight back to within a half pound or equal to what it was before the run. This has to be one of the most valuable marathon training tips.
Enjoy complex carbs. They provide your fuel and should account for 65% of your total calorie consumption during training and even more the week of and night before the marathon.
When missing runs, just move on. During the course of training, many runners find a day(s) when they are simply unable to make their scheduled run due to illness, working late, or other reasons. If you miss a run, simply move on as if you completed it. Do not try to squeeze in the run by running more consecutive days as it will cut into your recovery time.
Stay motivated! There must be a gazillion ways to keep yourself motivated. Use a few of them whether you need them now or not to ensure you stay motivated.