Congratulations! You’re planning on completing your first marathon!

Although this accomplishment seems exciting it can also be alarming when you realize you actually have to run 26.2 miles.

Before you get cold feet and decide to beg for a refund take a moment to go through these little tips so you know what to expect!

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Running a marathon takes time and planning

If you’ve run races before you know you have to have a training plan.

With marathon training, depending on where you are in terms of your longest run, it will take time and lots of preparation to get your body ready for the race.

Sit down in front of a calendar and start writing your training schedule.

You can research some training plans online or go check out training groups in your area that you can join, or at least get some pointers from.

Marathon training is like taking up a part time job, so be prepared to make some sacrifices.

You will get to know yourself (and running partners) very well

If you’re doing your training by yourself you’ll have a lot of alone time. You’ll be able to recognize when your mind starts to wander and what makes you feely you want to quit.

It will start to become interesting to learn how certain thoughts may effect your running for that day.

Also, you’re alone with your thoughts for hours, so hopefully you enjoy your own company that much.

When running with a running parter be sure that you enjoy being around this person to begin with. As previously stated you’ll be spending a lot of time with this person so ideally your mindsets will match, along with your pace.

Your new best friend will be carbs

Yay! You can eat carbs and not feel guilty about it! During training, especially towards the end, you need to be consuming enough carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores and your glucose levels.

marathon training for beginners_2Not only will this help fuel your body but studies have shown that proper levels of carbohydrates later in training can decrease the risk of feelings of overtraining, which can include fatigue, irritability, and irregular sleeping patterns.

So examine your meals and makes sure that the carbohydrate intake you are consuming is close to 65% of your diet, mainly after long runs and toward the end of training.

A foam roller will be your second best friend

If you don’t know what a foam roller is or how to use it yet, I recommend going to your closest running store or gym and learning how.

Essentially this tool is used as a self massage, and is extremely important for recovery of sore muscles.

The area’s to pay specific attention to include your calves, quads, IT band, and glutes. You can use the foam roller before and after your training runs to increase elasticity in the muscle by massaging out all the knots.

Warning: the first time you use the foam roller it might hurt, but that just means you need it that much more. Use the device a couple times a day to reduce that initial shock of pain.

Trust me, you’ll be feeling much more flexible and less stiff after some regular time spent with the foam roller.

Hydrate, eat, hydrate

If you have done a distance race before then you probably already have an idea of what hydration and nutrition tools to use. Each runner will need some sort of a hydration device that you can take with you on your long runs.

marathon training for beginners_3No matter what time of the year you are training you will need water and some sort of a sports beverage to replenish your electrolytes.

It is also important to bring some sort of sports nutrition item to help keep your body fueled for the distance you are running. For these products you can go to the nearest sports store. If you are not sure which ones to use, experiment on your smaller runs to see if it works well for your body.

Never leave things up to chance

During this whole process you should be learning about the tools that work for you, the nutrition that you need, and the water devices that feel comfortable with you, and the clothing that works the best.

The most common mistake is that people will use whatever nutrition the race sponsor will have, will wear clothing that has not been worn during training. The main reason why these are not the best idea is because it just might not work for your body.

A runners worst night mare is to have a stomach ache half way through, having your shirt ride up, or your pants ride down, or worse, have chaffing in areas that aren’t so comfortable. So prepare in advance and work nutrition, hydration, and clothing into your training plan.

Running 26.2 miles is something that many people won’t even think about doing during their life times!

Half the battle is getting the courage to sign up in the first place and if you’ve come this far then make sure to have a plan, train hard, and remember to breathe and give your body the attention it needs. Good luck!

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