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Running Your First Marathon

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Running a marathon is a challenging but rewarding experience. It's estimated that less than 1% of the global population has run a marathon. If you are thinking of joining that exclusive club here are some things to think about.

Start Early: Give yourself enough time to properly train for the marathon. Most training plans last for around 16-20 weeks, so make sure to start preparing in advance. The most important aspect of finishing a marathon is getting to the starting line. Once you are there over 85% of the work should be done if you are properly trained. One of the most common ways to derail your training is by trying to build volume too quickly and causing an overuse injury or fatigue. Follow a Training Plan: A structured training plan will help you gradually increase your mileage and build up your endurance. As a first time marathon runner the most valuable part of training will be your base and long runs. You probably don’t want to worry too much about speed work and instead focus on safely building your body up to be able to run the distance. Reach out and get setup with a Full Speed plan or coaching program that will guide you safely and effectively all the way to the finish line. Listen to Your Body: Don't push yourself too hard, too fast. Pay attention to any pain or discomfort and make adjustments as needed. Warming up before runs. taking rest days, and stretching regularly after runs can also help prevent injury. Fuel and Hydrate: As with any sport, and life in general, eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated is key to performing your best on race day.

Running a marathon requires a significant amount of energy, so you will also need to consider fueling during the race. The best race nutrition plan for a marathon will vary from person to person, but here are some general guidelines to consider:

1. Hydration is critical during a marathon, so make sure to drink enough water and electrolyte-replacement drinks before, during, and after the race. A good rule of thumb is to drink about 12-20 oz of fluid 2-3 hours before the race, and 5-10 oz of fluid every 10-20 minutes during the race. 2. Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for marathon running, so it's important to consume enough of them before and during the race. A good pre-race meal should include complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. During the race, consider taking in carbohydrates in the form of sports drinks, gels, or energy chews. 3. While carbohydrates are the main fuel source, protein and fat can also provide energy during a marathon. However, they should be consumed in moderation, as they are slower to digest and can cause stomach discomfort during a race. 4. It's important to practice your race nutrition plan during training so that you know what works best for you. Experiment with different types of fuel and hydration strategies during long training runs to see what you can tolerate and what helps you perform your best.

Mentally Prepare Running a marathon can be mentally challenging, so make sure to focus on positive self-talk and visualization techniques. Make a plan for how you will handle tough moments during the marathon. This could include mantras to repeat, distracting techniques, or focusing on your breathing.

Surrounding yourself with a supporting community of friends, family, or running partners can also be a huge help. Almost every town will have at least a running group or two that you can join. A running group can help keep you accountable and motivate you when you need an extra push. The running community is amazing and we are always willing to help our fellow runners. There is a good chance you might even make a new friend or two.

Pace Yourself: You are going to be excited when you line up at the start line. Be prepared for this and don’t let it throw you off. Use that excitement as energy to focus on the race and fuel you for the start. During the marathon, it's important to maintain a steady pace and not start out too fast. This will help you conserve energy and avoid hitting the "wall" later in the race. Have Fun: Remember that running a marathon is a personal accomplishment, so try to enjoy the experience and take it all in. Celebrate your hard work and dedication, and be proud of what you've achieved.

In conclusion, running a marathon requires preparation, hard work, and determination, but the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a marathon is priceless. Whether you're a seasoned runner or a first-time marathoner, the key is to have a positive attitude, stay focused, and enjoy the journey.

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