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How to Train Yourself for Your First Marathon

So you think you’d like to run a marathon. There is a lot of prep work required before you hit the marathon trail. Plan on running one a year ahead so you can take steps to be ready!

Runners don’t just run to get ready for a marathon. They also exercise muscles, do stretches and aerobics for cardiovascular exercise.

Runners also run various distances and at different paces so their bodies don’t get into the rut of only running at only one pace.

A typical weekly routine for a marathon runner will include:

  • 10 miles of underwater treadmill  exercise
  • 15 miles on a treadmill
  • 3 gym workouts
  • daily stretching
  • 1 physical therapy
  • 2 massages

Running is not for the uncommitted or faint of heart.

Before you get started, there are some first steps:

Visit your doctor

Visit your doctor is make sure you are in good physical condition. Share with him/her the fact that you will be training to run a marathon and make sure you have medical permission to do this. Training is hard, and tiring. If you are not in good physical condition, or if you have any physical injuries, this may preclude your running a marathon.

Prepare your body

Marathon runners do stretches for up to an hour a week. Long distance runners must have a strong back and hamstrings of steel. Their stomach muscles need to be firm and strong. A marathon runner must have a strong body.

Get into the eight hours of uninterrupted sleep habit. During training, you may need even more sleep.

What should you eat before Marathon?

Eat a balanced diet full of fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Good Nutrition is vital to marathon trainers. Carbohydrates will provide glycogen and protein to repair muscles. While training, eat 2000-2500 calories each day. Over half of this should be complex carbohydrates. 1/10 of those calories should be protein. ¼ should be unsaturated fats. Runners are advised to add vitamins, minerals, calcium, and iron supplements.

Make sure you are properly hydrated. We all need 64 ounces of water a day. Marathon runners need even more!

Dress for the task

Choose the right clothes. Avoid cotton running clothing.  Choose clothes made of materials like polypropylene. It keeps your body dry. A performance fabric like CoolMax transporting the moisture to the outside.

Check with your local running store about the best shoes and running gear.

Get started

If you get medical clearance, set your sites on a marathon a year ahead. In the interval get comfortable running lesser distances like: 3 and 6 miles and a half-marathon. Train at least three days a week by running a total of at least fifteen miles a week. Increase distances slowly. That builds strength and stamina. Pace yourself. Rome was not built in a day. Try to stay relaxed. Run for fun, leaving you a lot of reserves. You will be training for many weeks until the marathon. Keep your energy levels high. Increase your mileage slowly. Take your time!

Find the right schedule

Create a schedule for yourself. If this sounds a lot like preparing for military maneuvers it is! Save week-ends for longer runs. Remember to vary the pace. Walk for part of it. Use week-days for shorter runs, stretches, skipping, treadmill, and water exercises.

Do not ignore what your body is telling you. If you do not feel well, suspend your run or don’t run that day. “Running through the pain” can result in serious injuries that can become chronic.

Mental preparation

Mental training is as important as developing running skills and a strong body.  You are in this for the long haul! Stay relaxed and focused! By remaining stress-free, you conserve mental energy. You’re going to need this for training prior to your event.

Enjoy your training

Enjoy the experience. Marathons are run over some remarkably lovely terrain, smell the roses as you run by.

Every marathon is a new adventure! Actually finishing a traditional 26.2 mile marathon is a goal worthy of celebrating. Even training and entering a marathon is a tremendous achievement. Celebrate this accomplishment. Remember: with a marathon actually finishing—even if you are last—is a big deal. Pace yourself.  This is not a sprint. It’s a very long distance run.

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