Marathon Training: Advice for a Newbie

It’s hard to believe we are almost halfway through another month.  September is simply flying!  Ever since making the decision to marathon next spring I have been giddy? nervous? excited? freaking out!! about marathon training.  I have been running for years and when all is said and done will have half a dozen half marathons under my belt when training starts.  But that hasn’t tempered the fact that I will be running a freaking MARATHON!



I’m a naturally inquisitive person so have spent some time quizzing my marathon running pals and seeking advice where I can get it.  If there is one pearl of wisdom that has been consistent in my inquiry it is:

Relax, Stay Calm, and Have Fun

After a few deep breaths I realized that I’ve got this.  I need to trust the training and myself and know that if I put my mind to it, my body will respond.  Running is a mental sport!  All that said though I did get a few nuggets of information that will carry me towards my approach to all of this and that is what I will share (I can’t let all this data I collected go to waste, right?).  Some of these things I’ve done already as a half marathoner but… 26.2 > 13.1!!  blogger_peanutsFueling.  The biggest piece of advice here is to not do anything on marathon day you haven’t done during training.  And one tip is to find out which products the marathon will have on course and try them out.  I have tried GU and am NOT a fan.  I’ve used gummy bears in my last few half marathon races and it’s worked like a charm.  I was told to stick with what works as long as it doesn’t upset my stomach and will likely try out some other fueling options like honey stingers and EnergyBits (for which I have a product review and giveaway coming up sooooon!!)

Hydration.  I don’t generally carry anything for hydration with me during my half training runs and manage to use strategically placed water fountains during my long runs but KNOW this is not sustainable for marathon training.  The race is a different story with water aid stations throughout but I will begin to carry some type of hydration on my long training runs whether it be a Camel Bak or handheld bottle.  And as luck would have it I received this as a premium from the XTERRA Adventure Series half this summer:


Got your Bak?

Shoes, shoes, shoes… I have 5 more races in 2013, including 2 half marathons.  I just retired a pair of shoes I’ve been working off of for about 6 months and 300 miles.  I recently purchased a pair of shoes I’ll use for my upcoming long runs and start marathon training with them.  It was recommended that I get a new pair about halfway through that I’d wear for the marathon and that I should get at least one long run in them.  So that is what I’ll do.  The only thing I have to figure out now is which ones πŸ˜‰

GPS.  To Garmin or not to Garmin, that is the question.  I have teeny tiny, itty bitty little wrists.  I haven’t worn a watch since my Swatch days (don’t act like you don’t remember those with the plastic interchangeable bands!!) and am not used to it.  So many have suggested that I get a Garmin.  I typically use the Map My Run app on my phone and recently experimented (unsuccessfully) with the iPod Nano that has the Nike+ app on it.  Let’s just say question answered:


Give it up for the Garmin!

Goals.  The final piece of advice which I’ve taken to heart is to train for distance, not speed.  I have NO time goals for this 26.2.  I just want to finish, healthy and upright.  Any time is a PR for me at this point, right?

Training Plan.  I will leave you with my training plan.  I chose a 16 week plan and will start at the end of November.  I still need to work out with my trainer what to accomplish on the strength training days and while I intend to follow the plan closely, I’ll listen to my body and adjust as the need arises.  I know that it’s ok to skip/miss a run – just as long as you don’t miss your long run!!  training planI’ll be documenting my training and I’m sure will be making adjustments and getting more advice along the way.  What do you have to say? Any advice to add to this?  Who else is training for their first marathon?

Woah… this. is. really. happening. πŸ™‚


31 thoughts on “Marathon Training: Advice for a Newbie

  1. Great post! I’ve only done a few marathons and my bet advice is to do your long runs at a very slow pace. Like about 1-2 mins slower than you would normally do a slow run. Those training runs get long and the worst thin would be to get hurt so if you go nice and slow you’ll build your endurance and stay good for race day. Good luck!

  2. I’m so excited for you, this is huge!! Alas I have no ambitions to run a marathon, but I do plan on running at least one other half and find your blog a constant place for inspiration no matter the distance I run. Good luck!!

  3. OMG! My swatch watch! I haven’t thought about it for years and I loved it so much. I need to have another one. On a separate note I echo the advice you’ve been given for the marathon: just relax and enjoy it. Don’t start off too fast or it will come back to haunt you at around mile 18 πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks!! I’ve done so many half mary’s that at this point it seems to make sense, as crazy as it is!!

  4. Big congrats on signing up! That is a big first step.
    And I agree with most of the advice that you received.
    I would definitely recommend a Garmin. It just makes seeing your progress
    so much easier.
    I would also say to do your best to ignore the really bad tough runs… we
    all have them once in a while during a training cycle and only concern
    yourself if they become a pattern.
    I made Epsom Salt baths a daily recovery aid and they make a big
    difference in helping me recover and stay injury free. Highly recommend

    Oh and also make nutrition a bigger part of your training. Marathon
    training is very demanding on your body and it is only with getting in
    enough carbs, protein and good fats that you are able to effectively

    Best of luck and I am confident that you will finish… and you will be
    renewed when you do!


    1. Thansk, Chris!! I like the Epsom salt bath idea – will have to try that out. And yeah I am a little worried about nutrition as I’m slim pickings kind of eater but I’ll just need to pay more attention to that than usual! Appreciate the tips!

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