How to Train for Your 1st Marathon

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Training for your first marathon should take about six months as you build up to longer and longer distances, and it requires sticking to a strict schedule and routine. Start training for a marathon early to prevent the chances of injury with advice from a competitive runner in this free video on running marathons.

Part of the Video Series: Marathon Training
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Beth Kaufman, and I'm going to talk to you about how to train for your first marathon. Well, congratulations first off for wanting to run a marathon. It's a huge accomplishment and it's definitely a doable goal, so you will have no problem doing it as long as you do it carefully, you do it safely, and you follow a plan. The first thing you'll want to do, is you want to talk to your doctor and make sure that it is okay to go into a, kind of, a structured, tough training schedule. And you'll want to make sure that you have a least six months to be able to train for the marathon. And, if this is your first time running, you'll want to be able to even have more time to allow yourself to even be able to build up base to run a mile or two. So, as long as your doctor has given you the okay and you feel good to go, then you can start off training. I recommend reading, reading, reading. Going online, getting magazines, getting books 'cause there's a lot of stuff out there. The key to marathon running is to get in the long runs, and if you're running a marathon for the first time, it's going to take you about six months to get up to that twenty mile run. So you've probably heard that talked about before, but you'll want to eventually get to twenty miles before you'll be able to run that marathon. So that first few weeks will be based on just some easy running, some short miles, two to three times a week of running. And then, every month or so you're going to increase the amount of times during the week that you run, and you're going to increase the length of the run. To actually find a plan that works for you and your schedule. And you'd want to make sure the training program that you do decide to stick with is focused on getting in long runs and also provides enough recovery. For your first marathon, you'll also want to make sure to incorporate stretching on a daily basis, and if possible you'll want to do some sort of strength training two to three times per week. Another great suggestion is that I recommend finding someone to train with you. So you'll want to find a friend, whether that be a coworker, or a girlfriend or a guy friend or significant other that can train with you, even if it is just one or two times per week. It is a lot of running, and we want to reduce any type of risk of overuse injuries. So, I strongly, strongly recommend introducing cross-training into your exercise routine, whether that be using the elliptical trainer, doing some cycling, or a great alternative is to do pool running. So if you can find a local pool where you are able to do some swimming or some aqua jogging, that would be fantastic. Make sure that you are hydrated. You want to make sure that you're drinking plenty of water, both during the run, before the run and after the run. And you must consume some type of food during the race, because your body does deplete of glycogen, or deplete of energy, basic sugar. So if you are not consuming, whether it be a power bar or a Clif bar or power gel shots, orange juice, pieces of fruit, those must be consumed during the marathon for you to be able to finish the marathon successfully. But to be able to use them during the marathon you have to train with them. So once you get up to those longer runs, anywhere where you're going to be running for more than an hour and a half, you will need to incorporate some type of food, either in liquid form or solid form. If you do start to notice any pains or injuries, you'll want to make sure to consult with a doctor as soon as possible. Running...running through an injury is not a smart idea as it will lead to you not being able to run at all. So make sure that you listen to your body. If it tells you to take a break, take a break. You want to make sure that you're not increasing the amount of mileage that you do each week by more than ten percent. So if you only run ten miles one week, the next week you want to only add one more mile, so don't run more than eleven miles that next week. So you have to...have to have a slow progression, otherwise you will get injured. And, last but not least is to enjoy the training program. There'll be times when it's frustrating and you're going to want to give up, but don't, because when you cross that finish line after 26.2 miles, you're going to feel so fantastic! It is one of the best feelings in the world, and you've just accomplished a major goal, a memory you'll be able to cherish forever, and a pretty cool medal. And a T-shirt. So have fun and be safe.


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