So you think you want to do a marathon? Completing a marathon is a daunting task, but it is doable with the right mindset (and some training.) If you’re looking for first marathon advice, you’ve come to the right place!
Everything you need to know can be found in the following sections:
- Deciding if a Marathon is Right for You
- Marathon Training
- Nutrition for Your Marathon
- Running Technique, Pacing, and Logistics
- Clothing, Accessories, and Getting Outfitted
- What I Wish I Knew Before I Ran
- First-Hand Accounts of Marathon Experience
Deciding if a Marathon is Right for You
First thing’s first – figure out if you really want to run a marathon.
Deborah Dunham, veteran of 13 marathons, explains why you should run a marathon. It’s an enlightening article that everyone should read, even if you aren’t (yet) thinking of running a marathon.
Running a marathon (fast) ranks at no. 7 on USA TODAY’s 10 hardest things to do in sports. If you think a marathon will be easy, this article will bring you back down to earth!
I’m not sure how many reasons there are not to run a marathon, but this page lists 20 good ones! Just glance through this article (it’s easy to read) because it illustrates something you need to know before tackling a marathon.
Taking goals, age, and experience into consideration, this article helps you answer the question, “am I ready to run a marathon right now?” This is a thought-provoking article that will have you thinking about what your marathon goals really are.
If you are going to run, you have to train. These articles cover the basic principles of training and give you some example training plans.
A great article covering training plan design and giving you a sample plan.
Why you should do some resistance training (i.e. weight lifting) to benefit your running.
Introduces you to a variety of training methods, such as long steady distance, tempo, and interval training.
Widely regarded as the best beginner’s marathon training book, it’s just $11.41 at Amazon.com – a small price to pay for quality advice.
Nutrition for Your Marathon
When it comes to serious training, you need a good general diet every day, proper fueling during the marathon, pre-run food, and post-run recovery food to perform your best.
This article will break down how to plan out your race nutrition plan (i.e. how to fuel your body while running.) The goal is to help you create a simple, repeatable solution that makes fueling so easy that you forget about it.
Who knew breakfast could be so complicated? This is a detailed guide on what to eat before your workout.
“Carbo-loading” means storing up extra energy in your body, which will kick in by giving you an energy boost when your body would normally begin to hit a lull. Believe me, your body would normally hit a lull during a marathon!
Practice makes perfect – how to choose specific foods that work with you, decide on a fueling strategy for race day, and practice it in advance to make sure it’s going to work.
You’ve probably read Born to Run and learned of the Tarahumara people. Well, here’s a quick guide to making their old-fashioned food that manages to fuel them through days which resemble ultra-marathons!
Here are 10 awesome foods you’re probably not eating (ever hear of dinosaur kale?) but should be.
Recovery nutrition has evolved into a science that combines carbohydrates, proteins, fluids, and electrolytes to ensure the body is refueled, re-hydrated, and has everything necessary to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. This comprehensive article explains what you need to know to recover from your workouts.
Not ready to go extreme with your post-run recovery? Then check out this article for practical tips on what to eat after a workout – you don’t have to be a scientist to make sense of it.
Precision Nutrition is arguably the best-ever nutrition guide for athletes, and it’s much cheaper than hiring your own dietician.
Running Technique, Pacing, and Logistics
A lot of new runners think running is as simple as “going running.” But there is a lot of technique and strategy involved. These articles reveal the finer details of running.
Even if you have no interest in the whole “run barefoot” idea, this article presents important running technique advice you must know in order to run better and lessen your chance of injury.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you pace yourself properly during a marathon.
This is a neat tool – just enter your race distance and finish time, and it will show you your pace (which could be the pace you ran or the pace at which you need to run in order to meet your time goal.)
This article explains the difference between “average pace” and “even pacing” (and which one is more important.)
This one covers the process of a marathon, as in, the days leading up to the marathon and what you’ll do on race day. It’s written by Olympian Jeff Galloway who knows a thing or two about proper preparation!
It takes serious motivation to train for and complete a marathon. Here is how to get (and stay) motivated!
Really, they cover 101 reasons – at least one of them is sure to get you motivated!
You’re bound to get bored of running at some point. This will keep you going.
This is a great inspirational movie that may seem a little far-fetched, but it makes you believe anything is possible.
There’s just something special about being part of a group (especially when it’s for greater good than just yourself) that forces you to get out and train.
If you’re running as much as you should be, there’s a good chance you could get burnt out and want to quit running. That’s not going to help you reach your goal, so the better thing to do is make your running more fun and exciting – then hopefully you won’t want to quit!
Clothing, Accessories, and Getting Outfitted
Shoe selection and proper clothing choice are vital when you’re going to be spending 3-6 intense hours in one outfit! (Not to mention the countless hours of training.)
There’s a lot to consider when first shopping for a running shoe.
Advice for choosing running shorts, socks, tops, and other accessories.
For the women here – how to choose the right sports bra for running.
Here’s a guide on how to carry energy gels with you, even if you’re wearing nothing but skimpy running shorts and a singlet.
This guide shows you how to carry food and water with you on long runs.
What I Wish I Knew Before I Ran
This section is arguably the most important for you to read. It’s a collection of the tid-bits of advice I never found until after I ran a marathon.
A totally awesome guide to surviving the marathon, the rain, the large crowds, and the porta-potties.
Chafed nipples really suck… unless you know how to prevent nipple chafing.
It takes a little while for life to get back to normal after you finish your marathon. This article sheds some light on creating a post-race plan.
First-Hand Accounts of Marathon Experience
Learn from other runners’ experiences so you don’t make the same mistakes they did!
Derek ran the Rochester marathon and has six lessons to share with you.
Russell, an Ohio resident, decided it would be fun to run his first marathon in Las Vegas. This is what he learned.
This is an epic story from Patti Catalano Dillon about her first marathon back in 1976.
Tina has only run two marathons, but there is a lot you could learn from her advice!
By the time you’ve gone through this list, you should be ready and raring to go! (But if you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments below!)