Debut Marathoner Series: Hitting the Ground Running

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Congratulations! You have been selected to run in a Marathon. Now what? Whether you signed up for fun or in hopes to set a personal best, you have now committed yourself to 26.2 miles of fun!

Use these tips to begin your journey:

  • Select a training program. There are several training programs specific to marathon training on the Internet. Select a program based on your current running abilities. For example, you currently run recreationally or you have never run a step in your life. Pick a training program based on your past running experience. Training programs are typically 13-20 weeks with the average program being approximately 18 weeks. It is important to have at least one day dedicated to a “long” run. This run will be longer than your other runs in that given training week. You will progressively work your way up to a long run of approximately 20 miles. This 20-mile run will typically occur about a month out from a Marathon. Following this run of 20 miles, you will then begin to taper (slowly lowering your mileage in preparation to race day).
  • Better yet, join a running group. There might be groups in your area that specifically train for Marathons. This is a great way to be accountable throughout this potential 20 week period as well as get some guidance on a training program and build your own support network.
  • Get fitted for a pair of running shoes. It is important to get fitted for a pair of running shoes that fit your feet properly. Whether you are flatfooted or have a high arch, there is a good pair of running shoes for you. Do not – I repeat do not – select a pair of shoes based on the color or the popularity of the shoe. If the shoe does not fit your foot properly this may lead to injury. Also, consider a new pair of running shoes after 350 training miles and consider getting a half size larger due to swelling of the feet when running a marathon. Visit your local running store for a complete fitting.
  • Hydration and fuel. Hydration is one of the most important things when training for a marathon, especially in the summer, and early fall months. In order to hydrate during runs, make sure you are running on a route that has hydration available to you. The lakefront path has water fountains available, as well as hydration stations, on Saturday morning runs. If you do not have hydration available to you on your route be sure to invest in a hydration belt. These lightweight belts can have up to four small water bottles on them and sit like a belt just above your hips.  Also, during your long runs (anything over 10 miles), be sure to consider some type of fuel. Every runner’s body adapts to fuel differently so this may be a trial and error as you go through your training runs. Popular fuel for runners are shot blocks, jelly beans, and energy gel (just to name a few).

Remember, 26.2 miles is a long distance but it is not impossible. It will take time, determination, and perseverance to achieve this goal. You can do it!  If you run into any aches or pains along the way, we would be happy to see you for a complimentary injury screening at any of our locations.  You can also get advice from our endurance experts (licensed physical therapist and certified athletic trainers) on what your next step should be.

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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