We all make new goals each year; some of these goals are met and some are put off to the side because we do not know just where to begin in training. As a personal trainer, so often I hear, "This year, my goal is to run my first marathon." But not everyone accomplishes this goal because most people just do not know how to begin. As a 19 time marathoner, I am here to help you make your marathon goal a reality with these super steps. If your goal is to run your first marathon here are seven steps to attaining your goal.
1. Find a Marathon
Find a marathon online to train for that is ten to twelve months away. Visit a website that reviews marathons such as marathonguide.org and find a marathon that you would like to run. There are thousands of marathons annually of the full 26.2 miles. Pick a race that interests you most. But beware of high elevation for your first marathon and seek mid level or your hamstrings will be crying post race!
2. List out Your Motivation to Your Marathon Goal
List out the reasons you have decided to run your first marathon. Whether you are running your first marathon for your personal accomplishment, running it for a friend or loved one, or for any other reason, make a list. Display this list in a visible area as your daily "cheerleader," as this will be a continual reminder of your motivation behind running your first marathon.
3. Plan Your Marathon Training Schedule
The most important thing about training for a marathon is to start early. Race day is the culmination of months of training and preparation. However, don’t be scared or overwhelmed by the commitment you are about to make. A marathon is one of the greatest personal accomplishments. I have memories of each of the 19 marathons I have run for this reason! It is life changing!
4. Make Sure You Are Fueling Your Body Properly
Make sure you are eating properly with nutrient-dense food to fuel your training and race day runs. You can look online for nutrition plans to help you to ensure you are eating nutrient-dense marathon training food with complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber. It is also beneficial to meet with a nutritionist. Try to meet with a nutritionist that has worked with athletes and it is even better if they are an athlete themselves!
5. Track Your Progress Daily
In order to understand, attain and also remember your marathon training, it is important to keep track of your progress daily. Make sure to include both on and off-days. The worst thing you can do before race day is to burn yourself out or cause an injury through over-training. When monitoring my clients’ progress, I have found that first time marathoners do best by taking 2 rest days per week. This will allow for more effective running days and help in reducing the likelihood of an injury. Rest days are just as important as running days as your muscle fiber needs time to heal and rebuild. So give yourself a lazy day, you deserve it!
6. Cross Training is Key in Injury Prevention
When people ask what makes your training so different you can simply answer cross training is the key to success. I recomend working out differently than you are used to. Integrate some weighted exercises to build the strength that will help you for your marathon day. A well rounded fitness program will help to build your endurance and core strength which will reduce your risk of an injury. So switch up your workouts to train and beat boredom!
7. Run Your First Marathon with a Smile
Stay positive in your training and on race day and don’t forget to smile! As you are running your body secretes endorphins (produced by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus) which are happy chemicals. This is also known as the "Runner’s High." There are times when you will feel so incredible in a run you just want to smile so don’t fight it, just go for it! Show off your pearly whites!
Think about the joy and fulfillment running your first marathon will bring. By accomplishing this goal you will be stronger in body and mind. And this is certainly a positive and life changing event. Now that I have shared this with you, which of these expert tips have helped you most?