You started out wanting to get into jogging, then you tackled a 5K, a 10K, and half-marathon. What’s your next step? A full marathon! This is a big jump as it’s double the distance of what you’ve likely run in the past, but what an amazing challenge! We’ve broken down the necessary steps to ensure your first marathon is a positive experience. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry. This advice will benefit you at any stage of your running journey.*
First, it’s important to remember why you started running in the first place. At mile 20 when you’re thirsty, tired, and have a huge hill looming in front of you, remembering your “why” will make all the difference. We all have unique reasons for lacing up our running shoes. And your objective may have changed over the years, but often it starts as a desire to get in shape. Then, once you achieve the elusive runner’s high, you fall in love with the rush of feeling like you could run forever. Your desire to run might evolve over time. No matter what your reason is for hitting the pavement, remind yourself that you love running!
Invest in quality footwear.
One of the best gifts you can give yourself is a quality pair of running shoes. Shoes that fit well and provide you with the proper support and comfort for your foot are critical when you’re ready to take running seriously . Well-made shoes help prevent injury and enable you to go that extra mile (literally). Everyone’s foot is different, so rather than taking recommendations from others, we encourage you to head to your local shoe shop and try some on for yourself. Remember that your running stride is different from your walking, so find space to jog around a bit before making your purchase.
Proper form goes a long way.
When possible, run alongside an experienced friend or coach, so they can analyze your stride (or try running in front of a long-mirrored wall). In general, you want all your power and energy moving forward. Take note of how your foot lands (straight ahead is best) and what your arms are doing. Stay relaxed as you draw your shoulders down from your ears and check that your hands are unclenched. Try for a shorter, faster cadence (how quickly your feet turnover) rather than an overly long stride. This helps keep you from pounding heavily on the pavement, and stay light as you land, which is better for your joints. For more tips, look here.
Make it an event.
Next up, think about where and when you want to run. There’s a huge variety of courses out there, from the flat roads of Phoenix to the rolling hills of San Francisco and so many more. Use your race as an opportunity to check out a different part of the country or to explore the roads of your neighborhood from a new perspective. Here’s a roundup of the top marathons in the U.S. <https://scenicstates.com/best-marathons-us/>. Most importantly, make sure you’re having fun! We love the Rock N’ Roll™ running series for their easy-going atmosphere and entertaining/distracting music along the way. Wherever you decide to run, register early to secure a spot (these tend to fill up fast) and plan for accommodations in advance.
Whether you finished first, last, or somewhere in the middle—be proud of yourself for setting a goal and giving it your all! Even if you never run another marathon again (though we hope you do) you’ll always have this amazing experience to draw upon.
One important area to pay attention to when training for a marathon is your overall health and wellness. Keep your immune system thriving by following our tips, here.
*The health and fitness information on this website is designed for educational and resource purposes only. This information is not a substitute for, nor a replacement for, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.