So You Want to Run a Marathon?

After completing the NYC Marathon, I have received quite a few messages from individuals feeling the inspiration to run a 26.2 some day. I remember that itch and it hasn’t left me since!

“Not sure I can do it, but I want to someday!”

While I am not a certified run coach, I do have races and years of experiences to pull from to help you prepare, or at least mentally prepare, to take on the 26.2 journey. You CAN do it, but like any big goal, you have to commit and plan ahead.

Run a road race. This sounds silly, but I’ve met a few people who never ran a road race before their first marathon. To me, the experience of a race atmosphere is HUGE. You’ll learn how you need to fuel, what to bring, what you may need sleep wise the night before or what to eat the night before/day of, how your potty habits are…A small race before the marathon is key. You may not have the experience of a marathon yet but this will give you a taste.

Narrow down your “why”. Training for a marathon is no small feat. If you have no actual desire or inner passion, your motivation to get that solo long run in on a Saturday morning is going to be tough. Find what sparks you and use that to get you out the door each day.

• Hire a Certified Run Coach. THIS. I trained SO dumb my first marathon in 2017. I was injured instantly and suffered through the 4 months of training. I learned from that experience and was able to have a few, healthier cycles later, but hiring a run coach was the real game changer. A run coach will create a personalized run schedule for you to follow. It will help you to meet your goals which could range from “I just want to finish” to “I wanna under 5 hours”.

Invest in proper running footwear. Do not train in the old Nike’s you’ve been wearing to Planet Fitness. Visit a running store near you and get fitted for a shoe. They will let you try them on as well as help pick shoes for you based on your stride and support level needed.

Practice running in all kinds of weather. You don’t know what kind of weather it will be come race day, and there’s always a chance you could be running on a pretty crappy day. If it’s raining, run. If it’s cold, run. If it’s hot, run early, but run safely. Always make sure you’re safe and get out there if possible. This will also aid in the experience needed to learn what to wear on bad weather days.

Don’t over commit and over book. If you’re someone like me who works Monday-Friday, recognize that weekends are your time to get sh*t, aka your long runs, done. These can take up to 80-240+ minutes of your time on a single day. Depending on the time of year, you may also be forced to run extra early to beat the heat, or have to swap days if a bad storm comes. Limit your travel. This is also when a Run Coach is helpful so they can help adjust your running schedule if you do choose to travel. A marathon is a commitment and you want to be your healthiest and most prepared on race day.

Have a running support group. I am super fortunate to have Laura, my like-minded, running buddy, down the road from me who also functions on a teacher schedule like me. I’ve also connected with local runners through a Facebook group and have made friends at local races over the years. Recently, my connection to the Instagram running community has grown stronger too. You need your people, your supporters who understand the time and effort you’re putting in with training.

Running a marathon will change your life. Invest in the time and support you will need to complete this large goal. As always, I am a DM away if anyone wants to chat or discuss the journey to a 26.2 or even a 13.1. Heck, even a 5k.

My first Marathon: Philadelphia 2017

Bottom line: you got this.

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