Prepping for Your First Marathon
Running your first marathon is something to be celebrated… after you finish training. One step at a time will get you across the finish line.
While training, you should have the right clothing, shoes, fuel and music. Trial and error is the best way to see what works best for you. To be safe, allow yourself at least 6 months when training for your first marathon. It may be slow building up the mileage at first, but as time goes on and your body gets used to the movement and structure, it will become easier. For instance, running 2 miles the first week, 3 miles the second week and so forth will help break the 26.2 miles into manageable pieces.
Measure your performance. Since this is your first marathon, remember to have patience with yourself. Small victories add up to larger ones. Try training with a pedometer to get a good sense of your time and gait. There are many out there — some even fit right into your shoe. For example, the Nike+ features a small pedometer that will also let you listen to Lance Armstrong encourage you as you run past your farthest distance. Some prefer to wear a watch with a heart rate monitor. Do what feels comfortable to you.
Shoes make the difference. There is a long distance between mile one and mile 26.2. You better make sure you’re wearing the right shoes! The best way to find your perfect fit is to try on as many pairs of shoes as possible. When the shoe fits correctly, it will not be too tight or too loose, but will spread out evenly to help ensure that there is no cramping or slipping. Running shoes usually last about 300 miles, which means you may need to get a new pair before the race. It is a good idea to get fitted into new running shoes at least 2 weeks before your big event.
Careful with the clothes. As your body releases salt and water through sweat, wearing the right clothing can be the difference between feeling tired and cold, or excited and warmed up. Dri-Fit clothing is highly recommended because it has the ability to wick away moisture and keep you comfortable. Stay away from cotton. It does not wick away moisture and can cause chafing and discomfort. Remember, having the right clothing, along with lots of fluids, will make for a positive experience.
Stock up on tunes. Music is a great way to stay focused and on top of your game. Load your iPod with inspirational and uplifting music so that it can push you when you’re feeling tired and out of energy. Create a playlist with your favorite songs and try it out before the race to see how it works for you.
As always, trust your gut. If your body is telling you to slow down, listen to it. No one knows your body better than you do. Keeping active and alert during your training and on race day will ensure that you have a memorable, life-altering experience. Now, go get your medal!