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In the last couple of years she has gotten more serious about distance running and set the goal of running a marathon.
I wanted her to have the knowledge to avoid making the mistakes I did and have a great marathon training experience.
So I decided to write about the things I wish I knew before doing my first marathon.
If you haven’t read the book yet . . . here are some official tips to help you run your first marathon.
Official Tip #1
Get a Complete Education Before You Begin
When I first started, my knowledge about marathon training had come entirely from what I gleaned from magazines and free information on the internet. This left my training education full of holes.
For example, I’d have a horrible long run where I didn’t have any energy and think, “I wonder why that run went so poorly?” So I’d search online for about an hour and discover that I should be using a sports drink and fueling properly during my long runs. Duh!
Official Tip #2
Running a Marathon is 50% Mental
I don’t think it is possible to overemphasize the power of the mind. Your body will follow the directions your mind gives it. It is vital that you have the confidence that you can take on this challenge.
“Mind is everything: muscle – pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” Paavo Nurmi, a Finnish runner who won 12 Olympic medals in the 1920’s.
In the book I talk about finding the right motivation, getting rid of negative self talk, and finding the support you need. The reason we talk so much about setting and achieving goals and mental mindset, is because if you get your head/mind in the right place, your body will follow.
If you can get your head on straight so to speak as a new runner, you’re going to be so far ahead of many people who spend too much time in self-doubt.
Official Tip #3
Be Intentional. It Will Pay Off!
Many listeners have told me that time is their biggest challenge to training for a marathon. Admittedly, training does take time. But I truly believe that sometimes the hardest things are the most rewarding.
Personally, I know that when there’s a will there’s a way. I recently heard from a runner on our Facebook page who couldn’t get outside to run because of the amount of snow and couldn’t get to the gym because she had a sick child. So, she ran up and down the stairs in her house for 40 minutes! Now that’s being intentional!
Official Tip #4
The Most Common Causes of Running Injury Are . . .
In all the sources I’ve studied, including The Lore of Running by Dr. Tim Noakes, the consensus shows that these three factors are the culprits behind most running injury.
- Over-training (Overtraining occurs when the runner tries to do too much too soon while not having a solid running base)
- Running with Sloppy Form
- Running with Worn Out Shoes
Official Tip #5
The Runner’s Diet Looks Like This . . .
- Generally, you should consume approximately 60-65% of your calories as carbohydrates. Our bodies operate more efficiently on carbohydrates then it does on proteins and fats. Carbs are easier to convert into glucose which is what the brain and muscles utilize for energy.
- You should consume 0.5-0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Protein is used for energy and rebuilding damaged muscle tissue. Low-fat and low cholesterol protein sources are best.
- Fat should make up 20-25% of your diet and should be consumed in forms that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Good sources of healthy fats include nuts, oils, and cold-water fish which contain Omega-3 fatty acids.
I don’t promote any type of special diet. We all know that there are hundreds of them out there. Instead, I encourage people to eat real foods. Focus on eating fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, healthy fats, and lean meats.
Official Tip #6
Don’t Begin Your Marathon Training Program Until You Do the Following . . .
- Make sure you have a solid running base built up. If you don’t have a solid foundation of running you’ll probably just set yourself up for injury and disappointment. See the “Beginner” page for help building up your base.
- Decide why you want to run a marathon right now and write out your goal. It will be important to look back on this later on when you hit a rough spot in your training.
- Enlist a support system. Find someone who will be there to support you: a family member, friend, gym buddy, or the MTA community.
- Choose your race and pay for it. This will determine when you need to start training and will give you a solid goal to work towards.
The process of training for and running your first marathon will change your life. The most important advice I can give you is to think positively. Learn to block negative thoughts and believe in yourself.
Your training won’t always go perfectly, but you can adjust and make the best of it. Listen to your body and follow your training plan. You’d be surprised at how many people try to cram in more miles or running days out of a lack of confidence. Especially stick to the tapering period.
I hope these tips help.
Marathoner, RN, Podcaster