Mary has ran 5 marathons including three Philadelphia Marathons and two Boston Marathons. Mary ran her first marathon on November 23, 2008, at the Philadelphia Marathon. She ran the marathon in 3:33:43 qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Christina has ran 3 marathons including two Philadelphia Marathons and one Boston Marathon. She ran her first marathon on November 22, 2009, at the Philadelphia Marathon. She also qualified for the Boston Marathon her first time by running a 3:39:12. We are by no means marathon experts, but we do have some information to offer that some readers may find helpful.
Before and during marathon training, we read all about marathons. If you want to run a marathon you need to be well versed in what you are getting yourself into. We purchased a couple of books that you can look at under our favorites. We would recommend purchasing these books. They are great investments and you will find yourself referencing them a lot.
Training Program for our First Marathon
For our first marathons, we both chose to use Hal Higdon’s 18-week Novice Training Plan. Mary first used this program in 2008 and had so much success with it that Christina decided to use the same plan when she ran her first marathon in 2009. Mary originally chose to use this plan because she found that Hal Higdon’s plan fit her schedule and made the most sense to her. Every Monday and Friday was a scheduled rest day. There was one long run a week that was scheduled every Saturday. Sunday was a day for cross-training. It is very easy to overtrain for a marathon, so the fact that there was two days of rest and one day of cross-training a week was very appealing. Of course, some weeks you may find that you need to juggle the days you take a rest day or complete your long run.
It is really important to make sure that you have scheduled rest days during your marathon training program. Rest is essential in order for your muscles to repair themselves and consequently get stronger. We highly recommend scheduling at least one rest day a week, more if necessary. Also, you should make sure that you listen to your schedule and take the rest days. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for injury. Trust me, after 15 weeks of training you do not want to find yourself injured and not able to compete! Listen to your body! If you feel that you need a rest day and you are scheduled for a 6 mile run that day, take the rest day! You can run 6 miles another day when you feel rested and motivated!
Another important aspect of marathon training is your diet. You MUST fuel your body in the correct way. If you do not fuel your body appropriately, you are risking injury. A lot of people decide to run a marathon because they want to lose weight. We would recommend that you do not do this. Lots of people try to cut their calories and train for a marathon with a goal of losing weight and essentially they are just setting themselves up for injury. You need to supply your body with enough fuel and the right kind of fuel.
Am I ready for a Marathon?
Running marathons is not for everyone. Some very accomplished runners find they enjoy racing 5k’s or 10k’s and may never have an interest in running marathons. It is important to understand that that is okay! Everyone has a different preference. If you are considering a marathon, it is important to assess whether or not you are ready. Marathon training requires a lot of commitment and dedication. If you are overwhelmed by work, school, family, etc., this may not be the best time in your life to decide to run a marathon. Training for a marathon requires a lot of time, energy, and sacrifices. Make sure you look ahead at what you will be faced with in the upcoming months to see if it is actually feasible for you to do without stressing yourself out. This is a very important point to consider, so I advise you to evaluate your individual situation.
- Make sure you are in good health. If you have any doubt, have a medical exam.
- Before setting out to train for a marathon, you should have a solid base, at least 2 years of running.
- If you have never competed in a race, it would be a good idea to run in one so you can see what racing is all about.
- Do you have the time to commit?
- Follow a Marathon Training Plan
- Take 1-2 Rest Days a week
- Listen to your body
- Fuel yourself properly
We would love to answer any questions that you may still have regarding training for your first marathon or your first race of any distance! Just leave a comment on this post and we will be sure to answer it!