My First Marathon: Part 1

By Zac Marion

Whether running a marathon is a lifelong goal, a New Year’s resolution or the next logical step up from half-marathons, running a full marathon is a test—both  physically and mentally.  Any dedicated person can run a marathon, but this decision should not be taken lightly.  I know that there are a lot of you out there that want to take the first steps toward a marathon, let’s do this together.

After a year of running and reaching my goals in half marathons I am excited to train for my first full marathon. I will be running the Salt Lake Marathon April 16th and posting updates on my training and the different aspects of getting ready for the big day. This is an exhilarating, challenging and educational part of my life, one that I’m excited to share with you.

Preparation is key to success. There are several steps to make sure you are ready and prepared enough to not just stagger across the finish line, but to finish injury free and with a smile on your face.

STEP 1: Getting Started

When to start training for a marathon is a question I hear regularly. It is dependent on how conditioned you are now and how much training you will need to get you to the finish line.

When picking which marathon you want to run, plan on 4-5 months of training if you are already conditioned for completing a 10k or a half marathon comfortably or are currently running roughly 4 times a week for 20-30 minutes. If you’re not, it is ok to extend that period to 6 months (or whatever you feel comfortable with) and build a good base.

With that in mind, look at an event calendar for your area (saltlakerunningco.com has an event calendar for all of Utah) and find an event that sounds like fun and fits your training timeline.

To me training is harder than the actual event but thanks to things like Sport Legs magnesium capsules to help ease the muscles and break down lactic acid after and during training, compression socks/sleeves for a speedy recovery, and proper post run nutrition drinks like Recoverite, this becomes easier each time.

STEP 2: Getting a Plan

Once you have chosen your race, it’s time to set realistic goals and get a good training plan down. Again, we have plans  available on our website and other popular training programs such as Hal Higdon’s can be found online as well.  Make sure you are finding the right program for your specific goals. Goals can range from finishing the event to qualifying for the ever elusive Boston Marathon. Pick the one that is right for you. If your goal is to cross the finish line then find a training program geared towards pounding out the miles with rest days and light cross training days to recover. If you are like me and want to achieve certain time goals then you need to find yourself a program than utilizes your light days as a speed work day and add tempo runs into your regular training. Training is what is going to give you the advantage come race day, push you through “the wall” and help you keep that smile on your face through the finish line.

It’s always a great idea to get into a training group. I can’t begin to tell you the mount of support that comes from the group we are training with right now at Salt Lake Running Co. There is definitely strength in numbers. We even have a few spots still open for those that want to join so contact the store immediately and ask us about it.

STEP 3: Getting Geared Up

Running shoes are the most important purchase you will make on your quest to successfully train and participate in a marathon. You will be putting more miles on them per week than all of your other shoes combined. Get the right pair. A proper biomechanical analysis is necessary in deciding which shoe is best for you.  Come in to any of our stores and get custom fit for your new best friends. While in the store, you can also get everything else you will need.  Season-appropriate apparel, accessories, injury prevention items and nutrition will all help your training go a little smother.

Step 4: Get Going!

You picked your marathon, set your goals, found your training plan and you are geared up… now comes the fun part; START RUNNING! Enjoy it and watch yourself get better, faster and stronger!  This is where the real work comes into play. Follow your plan as closely as you can and look forward to your reward come race day and long after. I have had a dramatic change in my life since running, including a 70 lb drop in weight and 70 lb gain in confidence and happiness. Get excited, get out there and remember, “Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”

I will check in soon to see how training is coming. Together we will meet our goals.

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