Go Bold with these Marathon Tips for First Timers

people using marathon tips for first timers

Sixty million Americans participate in yearly running, jogging, and trail-running events like marathons, but only 0.05% could complete the event. The number of successful marathoners is considerably low, especially with at least 1,000 marathon races hosted in the country every year. Are you among that group of almost-finishers? If so, don’t sweat it. Finish your first marathon safely and successfully with this bold guide to marathon prep and recovery.

(2023 was a good year for self-help books–here’s a list of a few to read, courtesy of Project Bold Life.)

Know Your Limits

One of the first things you should consider when running a marathon is understanding your body’s limits. The longer the marathon is, the more risks it presents to your physical and mental well-being. Awareness of these boundaries can minimize injuries and give you higher chances to finish the race.

In addition, scheduling long runs and gradually building your weekly mileage would help you learn how much you can still push and where to cut down. Prepping months before will help you cover all bases and strengthen your stamina for the big day.

Build Your Running Foundation

two dudes using marathon tips for first timers
Success is waiting for you at the finish line… if you use these marathon tips for first timers.

Different marathons have different running courses. They can vary by distance, theme, and location. These are essential considerations when building your running foundation and overall training plan. Long and daily runs are great and all, but there’s a notable difference when running on flat surfaces and miles of uneven terrain.

Designing a decent training plan befitting the marathon you’re joining will help your body acclimate to the factors that could prevent you from finishing the race. In addition, it’s easier to schedule and increase your weekly mileage in manageable increments. You must start with six to 12 weeks of base training to get your lungs and legs ready. But the earlier you start building your running foundation, the more comfortable you’ll be throughout the marathon.

Set a goal by running three to five times a week, including weekends. Gradually add one to two miles after your base training until you’re comfortable finishing five to six miles every run. By the end of your plan, you should be able to tackle a 19 to 21-mile run with ease.

Learn to Pace Your Race

Stress and exhaustion are reasons why most people can’t finish a marathon. In a marathon, runners should already know how to pace their running when the gun goes off. Controlling yourself should be part of your training plan. Unlike other running events, paces are critical for your survival in a marathon. In addition, adding marathon-pace sections during your daily run helps your mental and physical prep.

An ideal marathon pace should include four sets of 20-minute runs at a goal marathon speed with five-minute recoveries. It’s best to incorporate speed work when you train, as it allows your body to warm up and cool down during the race. Another helpful method is the run-walk-run method to help you set the pace that works.

You can also estimate your marathon time to create a better pace during the race. Multiply your 10K PB by five, then subtract 10 minutes. You can also double your half-marathon time and add 10 to 20 minutes.

Tapering

Tapering is crucial when training for a marathon and is a must once you reach the final two to three weeks before the race. Adding this period to your training plan lowers the distances and intensity of your runs to help your body re-energize. In addition, it keeps your muscles’ carbohydrate storage full, which is essential to keep them strong and ready for the big day. In addition, it helps avoid fatigue and lessens the risk of injury during the marathon.

Although tapering is different for everyone, their effects are similar. They keep your body strong, energized, and healthy. Forgetting or ignoring this period will not only cost you that successful marathon finish but also put you at more risk for injury and other medical emergencies.

some people running for their lives
Running is hard. Finishing a marathon is even harder. Follow these tips to make it all easier.

The R’s of Finishing and Training for a Marathon

A successful marathon experience should cover three important R’s: the right gear, rest, and recovery. The things you have and wear during the marathon are as crucial as the training plan you followed before it started. In addition, knowing how to recover after the event with the least amount of injuries should also count for a marathon finisher’s success.

The Right Gear

Marathons are an investment of time and money. Marathoners aren’t only putting their time and effort into training, but they also pay a considerable amount for the clothes, shoes, and other related gear to keep them comfortable and safe. Buying an excellent pair of running shoes is one thing, but the following are other things you should consider having.

  • Hydration vests
  • Carbohydrate-rich fuels like gels and chews
  • Running socks
  • Anti-chafing balm
  • Personal safety device

Buying self-massage tools to roll out your muscles after the race is also a good plus.

Rest and Recovery

Many marathon finishers often have injuries after the race because they keep pushing themselves to do strenuous activities without proper rest. Rest days are essential as your body is more injury-prone after pushing your muscles to their limits in a marathon.

When you forego rest, you’re also preventing your muscles from recovering. In addition, you’re also overworking your lungs and heart, and doing this could lead to numerous complications with varying severity.

Be A Bold Marathon Finisher

Running a marathon and successfully finishing it is an achievement unlike any other. Although many people find the same satisfaction whenever they finish other events, a successful marathon run is a testament to one’s physical and mental endurance, determination, and dedication to training plans. But understanding how to train for a marathon and finishing the race without injuries is the best win of all.

 

Don’t forget the book that lays out the principles of goal-achievement and attaining a Bold Life!

About the Author

Through timely and thoughtful articles, the book Project Bold Life: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success, and other media, we deliver engaging content that educates, motivates and inspires you to live a Bold Life.
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