8 Things to Know Before your First Marathon Race

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

So, you’re thinking about taking on the exhilarating challenge of running a marathon?

Well, buckle up, because you’re in for a wild and rewarding ride! Let’s chat about what it really means to dive headfirst into the world of marathons.

Spoiler alert: it’s not just a walk in the park – it’s a transformative journey that’ll have you breaking a sweat, pushing your limits, and crossing the finish line with a triumphant roar.

But hold on a second – before you lace up those running shoes and hit the pavement, there are some crucial things you’ve got to wrap your head around.

I’m talking about the nitty-gritty details, the heart-pounding challenges, and the undeniable thrill that comes with the territory.

So, whether you’re a running newbie or a seasoned jogger looking to level up, let’s dive into the marathon world and uncover the secrets to conquering those 26.2 miles.

Setting A Goal

First things first, before you lace up those sneakers, it’s time to figure out what you’re aiming for. Is conquering 26.2 miles like a champ your game plan?

For first-timers, let’s keep it simple – focus on completing the marathon rather than racing against the clock. While time goals are great, they’re just one ingredient in your marathon recipe. So, let’s set a goal that’ll make every step of your journey exciting.

Your Eating Habits

Marathon training’s like a hungry beast – it needs the right fuel to keep roaring. Think of your body as a high-performance machine; you wouldn’t put low-quality fuel in a race car, right?

So, fill up with nutritious calories that’ll keep you going strong. Trust me, your stomach will thank you as you power through those training miles.


Marathon training isn’t just about logging miles; it’s about making them a part of your routine. Sure, you’ll be dedicating time to training, but don’t forget about hanging out with friends and spending quality time with family.

That early morning alarm might become your trusty companion, but hey, it’s a small sacrifice for the thrill of the run. Remember, you’re not just a runner; you’re creating a masterpiece through your training journey.

Let’s get real – marathon training takes time and dedication. It might mean rearranging some things in your schedule, like saying goodbye to that Netflix binge. But think of it as a trade-off for the adventure ahead.

Take a moment to assess your commitments, see where running fits in, and make an honest decision. Skipping training and recovery is like trying to drive a car with a flat tire – not a smooth ride.

Plan Ahead

Alright, you’ve got the fitness mojo, the time, and a goal that’s as real as it gets. So, what’s the next step in this marathon adventure? Buckle up, because it’s time to dive into the exciting world of marathon registration!

First of all, sign up for the race– marathon registration is your green light. Once you hit that sign-up button, there’s no turning back. You’re in it for the long haul. And let me tell you, that’s a thrilling commitment to make.

With your registration locked and loaded, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and craft a game plan that’s as epic as the marathon itself. You’ll be sketching out the blueprint for your training journey, shaping your weeks around those crucial miles.

Strength Train

Strength training isn’t just a sidekick to running – it’s like the Robin to your Batman.

It’s got a treasure trove of benefits waiting for you. I’m talking about building up your strength (obviously), boosting your endurance, and unlocking a new level of mobility that might just make your running buddies jealous. But hold up, that’s not all. This stuff is like armor against injuries, a shield that helps you keep going strong.

And hey, I’m not here to just drop facts and run. Nope, I’ve got the good stuff to back it up. Research, my friend, says that throwing some resistance training into your running game can make your endurance soar like a superhero taking flight.

So here’s the game plan: you, the weight room, and a date set two to three times a week. It’s like your secret rendezvous with strength, and it’s going to pay off big time. But here’s the deal – don’t just wander in there and pick up any old dumbbell.

Nah, focus on those power-packed, multi-joint moves that light up your whole body like a firework show.

Your Injury History

Running’s amazing, but it can also throw a little curveball at your joints, especially those trusty sidekicks like your ankles, knees, and hips.

Now, hold up a second. I’m not here to rain on your running parade, but let’s talk about a little something called your injury history. Yeah, we’ve all had those battle scars – maybe a bum knee or a cranky back. But guess what? Your marathon dreams don’t have to hit a dead end just because you’ve got a past with injuries.

Here’s the deal: if you’ve got that knee giving you a hard time or your back’s doing its best impression of a grumpy old man, listen up. Those issues might just throw a bigger tantrum when you start clocking those marathon miles. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, remember us? We’re still here, and we’re not too happy.”

So, picture this: you, all pumped up and ready to conquer that marathon challenge, but your body’s over here having a bit of a rebellion. It’s like trying to have a dance-off with two left feet – not a good combo.

Now, before you go all in and lace up those running shoes, let’s talk strategy. If you’re currently playing nurse to a pesky injury or dealing with a condition that’s giving your running dreams a hard time, listen to your body’s whispers of caution. Piling on more miles might just be like poking the bear, and nobody wants a grumpy bear on the marathon trail.

Your Goals

Having a time goal for your first crack at a marathon can force you to set out of the gate faster and cause you to bonk in the second half of the event—which can put the prospect of a finish at risk.

DNFs are never nice. They may discourage you from toeing the line again. And you don’t want that.

Your Mileage Base

Although you don’t need to be an elite athlete to train for a marathon, having a solid running base first is key. You should have the mileage foundation for completing 26.2 miles without much suffering.

That’s why if you’re a complete beginner or new long-distance running, aim to run regularly for at least six to nine months before registering for your first 26.2 miles. Building that base might take less time if you’re already in good shape.

At the very least, you should be already running regularly, at least three to four days a week, for around 30 to 45 minutes away, before taking on marathon training.

You should already be comfortable running at least five miles at a time and have been logging the miles for more than six months.

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