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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

8 Tips for First Time Marathon Runners- Guest Post from Sara at Loving On The Run!

Hey guys!!! It has been a crazy weekend and I can't wait to share it with you!  While I play catch up with real life, I have been freaking out a little bit with "running life".  My first marathon is 39 days away and I am running a 30k (can't believe I am even typing that) this weekend, 18.6 miles, my longest distance to date--- gulp....

I spend a lot of time reading other blogs, seeking advice, viewing training and eating plans, and trying to calm the marathon jitters.   I was jumping for joy when one of my favorite bloggers agreed to guest post today with a post on tips for new marathoners.  YES PLEASE!   Meet blogger and marathoner Sara! 

Hi! My name is Sara and I write over at my blog – Loving On The Run  where I talk about all things running, life, marriage, nutrition, fitness, blogging, and random ramblings. I would love it if you followed me along my journey over at my blog!

8 Tips for First Time Marathon Runners

So you have decided to take the plunge and run your first marathon? Congratulations! I remember it took me almost 3-4 years of watching my husband run them before I got up the courage to sign up for one.  The first time you begin training can be overwhelming. You don't know where to start or even what to do. There are so many opinions out there you don't know who's is right. Everyone trains differently. Some run lots and lots of miles while others can run 3 days a week and be ready by marathon day. At first, you won't know what is best for your body but you will quickly begin to learn.  Here are a few simple tips that can help you when you decide to take the plunge and sign up for your first marathon!

1.  Start Out Slow
The one mistake I see so many first time marathoners make is jumping right into full blown training.  When you are looking for a good plan make sure you are picking a beginner plan. It is important that you allow your body the time to slowly ease into the training.  We all start at different levels. If you haven't been running for very long, start off slow and work your way up to the plan. The risk of injury is too high when jumping in too quickly.

2.  Find a Training Partner
This is probably one of the best things that I wish I could have done. My husband is always training for a marathon, but greatly exceeds my level.  I wish when I first started training that I had a training partner to help me. Not only is it a great source of motivation, but it also helps beat the boredom.
Yes, running is fun but sometimes when you are out on your weekly long run it makes all the difference to have someone there with you.

3.  Don't Skip Strength Training
As you begin training you will find out that sometimes marathon training takes up a lot of time.
The first thing to go is spending at least 2-3 days a week strength training. It is easy to skip, but I promise you it is worth it to keep you strong and healthy.  Running injuries are no fun and can be defeating when they keep you from running a race you've been training for. Keep up your strength training even if only for 15-20 minutes, 2-3 days a week.
It is worth it, I promise!

4.  Nutrition is Key 
Marathon training is very hard and you will find some days you are always hungry. While it is good to treat yourself on some days, remember that proper nutrition is key.  You have to give your body the right things to make it perform at it's best. Don't skip meals and eat the right things. Carbs are your friend during marathon training, just be mindful in choosing the right ones.  Oh, and a little pizza every now and then never hurt anyone!

5.  Focus on Form
Form is so important when running. It can make you a better runner and keep you from those pesky running injuries.  Make sure you are landing mid-foot (not heal striking or landing on your toes), keeping your shoulders relaxed, and your arms aren't stiff.  There are just a few simple things to focus on when you are running. Another benefit of focusing on form is it keeps your mind off how many miles you have left to go!

6.  Shoes Aren't THAT Important 
I know some people will be shocked to read this, but at the end of the day shoes aren't as important as proper running form. You want to make sure you find a running shoe that you like and that fits well with your foot, but once you find it you don't need to keep trying others. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what type of shoe you are running in if you aren't using proper form.

7.  Core Work Is Important
Just like with strength training core work is vital to keep you strong and healthy. Your core does a lot more work than you think when you are running and if your core isn't strong enough, it can cause unnecessary stress on other parts of your body. Focus on adding core work into your routine at least 4 times per week. It doesn't have to be for a long amount of time, just enough to keep it engaged.

8.  Pick a Training Method and Stick With It

Just like I said in the beginning, there are so many training methods out there. Everyone will have an opinion on what is best and you will hear way too many opinions. When you are first starting to train for the marathon, pick a plan and stick with it. If you keep switching it around, it can hurt your training, plus it makes it easier to stay motivated when you have a plan in place.

You've already done the scariest thing by taking the leap of faith and signing up for the marathon. Remember, believe in yourself and the rest will follow!


  1. I've had a training partner in the past, and it really does work to stay motivated! This is such a perfect list of tips to train for a running marathon. I want to be able to win races after a year of training. I'm really going to change my diet and lifestyle to reach my goal!
    Celine |

    1. Celine, training partner is by far the best motivator for me! Especially for morning workouts! Good luck with your races and your goals !


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