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Training for your first marathon isn’t about being fast or slow. It’s about completing the race and finishing in an upright position with a smile plastered across your face. You don’t need a fancy training plan with tempo runs, track workouts, hills, and strides. You just need to build your endurance and enjoy the transformation from runner to endurance athlete.

Find a training plan developed by an experienced coach that is made for a beginner like you. Then, trust the plan. If you follow the plan, you’ll finish the race. Really. Your running body is an incredibly adaptive machine. You can transform from a 6 mile runner to a 26 mile runner in just 4 months.


Here are some training plans to consider:


Training is hard. You’ll have days where you just can’t muster the energy or find the time to complete your workout. No problem. If you miss a workout from time to time, you’re human. It’s the quality of the overall approach to training that matters most.

Each week consists of several runs. The long run is the workout that matters most. This is the one you don’t want to skip unless your sick or injured. If it falls on a Sunday and you’re busy, move it to Saturday. As coach Bill Squires says, “The long run is what puts the tiger in the cat.”

If you’re the kind of person who finds energy and motivation by running with others, look for a local running club or running specialty store that hosts group runs. You’ll not only enjoy some friendly conversation, but you’ll learn a lot from the other runners. Be sure to pick a pace group that works for you.

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2014 New York City Marathon

Stretching and mobility work will help keep your body limber and reduce your chances of injury. I recommend a quick routine of dynamic stretches before each run, some static stretching after a run, and mobility work before bedtime. If you treat your body well, it will return the favor on race day.

Strength training can help improve your running form and ward off injury, but approach this area carefully. If you’re working hard to complete a tough training schedule, introducing additional strength training can sometimes hurt more than it helps. If you’re tired and sore, sleep and good nutrition are what matters most.

Next Steps:

  1. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RUNNING YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  2. TRAINING FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  3. NUTRITION WHILE TRAINING FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  4. RUNNING SHOES AND GEAR FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  5. MENTAL TRAINING FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  6. RACE DAY TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST MARATHON
  7. RECOVERING FROM YOUR FIRST MARATHON

Thoughts?