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Training - The Critical Weeks

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Should You Eat Before A Run?

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Vary Your Training

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Marathon Recovery

Setting Your Marathon Time Goal

Getting Started

Thoughts on Deciding to Run a Marathon

Conquer Those Hills!

How to overcome the hill challenges

Marathon Countdown

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Marathon Success Secrets

How To Improve Your Training

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'26.2' - The Marathon Training Website: 

Getting Started In Marathon Running



The Big Decision!


So you want to run a marathon and join the hundreds of thousands of runners in North America who participate in this classic race event each year? I believe many runners who enjoy the sport look at completing a marathon as the ultimate challenge. Certainly, crossing the marathon finish line is very satisfying, even if your body is complaining all over! Your first thought might be, I’m not doing that again. But by the next day you’ll be thinking, if I’d only had a slightly better second half I would have been well under my marathon goal. 


Thinking about it (26.2 miles??)

I remember the very first time I completed a 6 mile run, and I was feeling pretty good about it. Then I wondered how do people do this and then run 20 more miles all in one go during a marathon? This was more miles than I was running in a week….


The answer of course is the same as for any sport – training and commitment, with commitment being the most important. As Yogi Berra was fond of saying “90% of this game is half mental”


The race itself presents some unique challenges.

The marathon is the only running race I know that when you start, you don’t know if you’ll even finish!

What do you do if you “hit the wall” during the marathon? (This is when you encounter a sudden drop in your energy level, your legs feel like lead and your will to continue evaporates, often around the 20 mile mark.) Should you walk…? Actually, on a hot day in the Boston marathon, Bill Rodgers once stopped, sat down, drank a Coke and then went on to win the race!!

Ø      Halfway in the marathon comes at 20 miles!


Getting Started

The first thing to do is select a race. Big or small? There are pros and cons for either


 choice. My first marathon was New York, and I reckon the crowd got me through the last eight miles – they were fantastic. Not to mention the other runners, who were always willing to chat and help the miles go by. On the other hand I was up at 5:00 AM getting ready to catch the bus to the marathon starting area.


The wait before the race seemed forever. Then when we finally did start we walked! And I was on a schedule (this was my first marathon, remember)! So when we did pick up the pace I was weaving through the crowd trying to get back the time I’d lost. I probably ran 28 miles that day, the marathon plus the side to side distance as I tried to pass people. So a smaller (local) marathon event can be easier from many points of view.


Get a partner

The next thing to do is tell everyone you know that you’re going to run a marathon. That way it’s harder to back out! Also if you can line up some folks to train with, this is a big plus. Especially if they have run a marathon before. Your local running club is often a good place to start. Running shoe stores often have a marathon training program you can join.


Set your expectations

My first marathon goals were totally unrealistic, given my lack of marathon experience. I crossed the finish line around the 3hrs 35minutes mark, and the person next to me said he’d been aiming for 3 hours. I was off my goal, and he was way off his!


 The “Golden” Rule for beginning marathoners.

When you can complete the 26.2 miles comfortably, without hitting the wall or being forced to walk, and you can recover quickly in the days after the race, - then you have mastered the marathon distance.

 Now you can think about setting time goals for your next marathon!






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