Going From Zero to Marathon

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If you’ve recently started listening to the podcast we’d like to give you a big welcome and let you know that you have come to the right place, even if a marathon seems like a long way off.

Trevor and I didn’t start off in marathon shape and it’s been a process through the years to get to the place where we can run a last minute marathon.

You may be looking to train for your first half or full marathon or you’re just returning to that level of fitness after some time off. That’s what “From Zero to Marathon” is all about.

How to get started in your marathon training

I’ve run shorter distances off and on since my teenage years but didn’t get serious about long distance running until 2007. We had just moved across the country and I was at a low point in my fitness and mental health. On a whim I ran a local 5k and loved it. That spurred my return to running and I decided to take on a big challenge and run a marathon even though I didn’t have any friends who were runners or know anyone who’d ever run a marathon.

I made a lot of mistakes while training but also felt like I had a secret superpower after conquering those first painful 16, 18 and 20 mile long runs. Despite an IT band injury I crossed that first marathon finish line in April 2008 and never looked back. MTA was born out of my desire to help others take on the marathon more confidently and do it injury free.

Motivation and Discipline

When you’re looking to tackle a big goal it comes down to your mindset. Start by writing down your goals and mapping out the small steps you’ll need to take to get there. Remember, the more specific your goals are the more likely that they’ll get accomplished. Another important thing to remember when it comes to mindset is to know that the motivation may not always be there. I like this quote,

“Motivation is what gets you started, discipline (or habit) is what keeps you going.” -Jim Rohn

There are many days when I get up and don’t feel motivated to exercise. But I’ve developed the habit of exercise and I don’t have to feel like it. It’s simply something that gets done.

Accountability and Support

Accountability is another huge aspect of achieving your goals. Even though I basically trained for my first marathon solo I still made my goal known, signed up for the race, and committed to a training plan. Your accountability may be a friend, partner, running group or online community like MTA. Having encouragement and support is huge for getting through those tough times in your training.

Running Shoes

There’s a ton of fancy running clothes and gadgets out there. But one non-negotiable is having a good pair of running shoes. Even though you may have an old pair of running shoes stashed in your closet, we encourage you to go to a specialty running store and get fitted for running shoes appropriate to your gait and foot type. That will go a long way in making your journey more comfortable and helping to prevent injury.

Training Plan

Choose a training plan appropriate for your level. If you’re training for your first half or full marathon (or the first in many years) this is not the time to pick a time goal. Running too many days per week or doing too much speed work can be a recipe for injury. Gradually build up a running base, train wisely, take rest days and listen to your body. That will help you get to the start line healthy and help you have a good race experience.


While most of us end up preferring running to all other forms of exercise it’s important to work on balancing and strengthening the body. This can be accomplished by doing low impact cross-training like core work, strength training, yoga, cycling, swimming, rowing, Pilates, etc. I know from personal experience that doing core work and yoga a couple of times each week has helped keep me injury free.


Adding the element of eating healthfully will help you get the most out of your training routine. When you expect a lot out of your body it’s important to fuel it well. Eliminating added sugars and processed foods will go a long way to helping you get in the best shape of your life. During your training will also be the time to find a fueling strategy that works well for you.

This is from my first marathon.  My finish time was 4:10:15.

This is from my first marathon. My finish time was 4:10:15.

Also Mentioned in This Episode . . .

Our Itenerary

Check our schedule of races to see where we will be. We try to keep this page current.

Episode Sponsors

Kiera KoffeeKimera Koffee – high altitude premium coffee from the Dominican Republic infused with Nootropics (brain enhancers). Use the promo code “MTA” for 10% off.

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Top running songs

Picks from Academy members. What they groove to:

  • Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden
  • Hurts Like Heaven by Coldplay
  • Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Runners
  • “Burning Heart” by Survivor from Rocky IV.
  • I Lived by One Republic
  • I’m Running by Misstress Barbara
  • 311 by Down
  • Ready Aim Fire by Imagine Dragons
  • This is My Fight Song by Maria Rodrigus
  • Lead to Light by Nico Vega
  • Thunderstruck by ACDC
  • Greater by Mercy Me
  • Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson
  • 300 Violin Orchestra by Jorge Quintero
  • Pitfall – Give Me Everything
  • WAKE ME UP by Aloe Blacc
  • Marathon by Rush
  • Rock What You Got by Superchick
  • The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  • Mozart’s Summer Overture
  • Gonna Fly Now! -Rocky Soundtrack
  • Dookie by Green Day
  • Strength of Mind by Killswitch Engage
  • Hall of Fame by The Script featuring will.i.a
  • Lose Yourself by Eminem

“I got FIRST in my Age Group for the FULL and SECOND in my Age Group for the 5k!! So excited! Bet that won’t happen tomorrow, I’m beat! (the next day…) I’m done with the New Year’s Double Double. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done! Results from day 2: FIRST in Age Group for the 5k and FIRST in age group for the full! My goal was to finish and to beat 5 hours for this one. Goal met! Thanks to my awesome trainer!! Happy 2016 to everyone. I’m going to take a nap now!” -Academy member Debbie from Texas

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