If you’re training for your first marathon there are some tips and strategies that you should use to not only complete the race, but make it an enjoyable event as well. There are three areas to focus on for marathon training:
If you train smart and plan right, marathon day will be the experience of a lifetime – and the race itself will just be a small part of the memories.
Your Training Plan
Running your first marathon may seem like a colossal task, but it’s really the culmination of months of training. Your training runs should push you and challenge you enough that the race itself won’t be as hard as it might seem now. This training is focused on getting your body to adapt to and handle the longer miles…26.2 of them to be exact. A successful training plan will:
Make sure the race is far enough away so that you can train properly for it. Training for your first marathon can be miserable if you try to do too much too fast. Give your body time to introduce small incremental challenges, followed by periods of rest. There is no ‘cramming’ for a marathon.
If you’ve recently started running and are now up to a maximum distance of 3 miles, the 20-week marathon training plan below will pick-up where you are and take you to race day (26.2!). See ‘Start Running’ for a 10-week plan to help get you there, if your mileage is still not quite up to 3. If your maximum distance run in the last few weeks exceeds 3 miles, than pick up the plan below at the week that matches your maximum single-day mileage.
|Week||Mon||Tue||Wed||Thu||Fri||Sat||Sun||Total||1||2||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||2||Rest||4||11||2||2||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||2||Rest||5||12||3||2||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||6||14||4||2||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||7||15||5||2||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||8||16||6||2||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||9||17||7||2||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||10||18||8||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||11||20||9||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||12||21||10||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||7||16||11||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest / XT||3||Rest||14||23||12||3||Rest / XT||4||Rest / XT||3||Rest||8||18||13||3||Rest / XT||4||Rest / XT||3||Rest||16||26||14||3||Rest / XT||4||Rest / XT||3||Rest||9||19||15||3||Rest / XT||4||Rest / XT||3||Rest||18||28||16||3||Rest / XT||4||Rest / XT||3||Rest||10||20||17||3||Rest / XT||4||Rest / XT||3||Rest||20||30||18||3||Rest / XT||4||Rest / XT||3||Rest||11||21||19||3||Rest / XT||4||Rest / XT||3||Rest||12||24||20||2||Rest||3||Rest||2||Rest||26.2||33.2|
XT = Cross-Train: Swim, Bike, Elliptical...no running
It’s finally here – the BIG day! This is the day that you’ve spent months preparing for. No need to be nervous, although most of us will be. Given all of the time and effort you put into getting to this day, don’t let a small obstacle like parking or breakfast keep you from meeting your goal. Here are some race-day pointers for your first marathon:
Congratulations - you ran your first marathon!! Chances are your legs will be plenty sore the next day. You’ll likely see stairs and curbs as obstacles while you hobble from place to place. For the next 2-3 days, you should try to go for a short walk 15-30 minutes once or twice a day to get the blood flowing back in your legs. If it’s painful, stop. Your body has been through a lot and now isn’t the time to stress it – it needs rest – but the walking will help process a lot of the waste that is probably still in the muscles and help get oxygen to the sore areas. Over the next week or two, start back to your running schedule, but avoid hills and speedwork. I recently followed a marathon with an aggressive training plan that started just 2 weeks later and got some unwanted downtime thanks to a sore Achilles tendon. Give yourself ample time to recover before you start stressing your muscles again. It’s much better in the long-run.
Let me know how you make out in your first marathon. It’s a great experience and one that you’ll be glad you did. Have a great time!