First time Marathoner and need advice

Does anyone have any advice for a first time marathon runner? I started a 20 week raining plan to get up to 26.2 miles which is all well and good, but if anyone has some real world advice as to how to prepare, I'd love to hear it.



  • ENDURE07
    ENDURE07 Posts: 1
    I'll be running my first marathon this year in November and read some good stuff on this website and also reading books.
  • CarsonRuns
    CarsonRuns Posts: 3,039 Member
    How many years have you been running?
    How many miles per week were you averaging for the 8 week prior to starting your 20 week program?
  • SPARTA1013
    SPARTA1013 Posts: 60 Member
    For the 8 weeks prior I was averaging about 13-15 per week.
  • ze_hombre
    ze_hombre Posts: 377 Member
    Saving for later. Just started training for a half marathon.
  • CarsonRuns
    CarsonRuns Posts: 3,039 Member
    For the 8 weeks prior I was averaging about 13-15 per week.

    In order to prepare for a (relatively) painless first marathon, I recommend a base of ~25 miles per week for 12 to 18 months prior to starting on an 18 to 20 week program. So, based on your stated mileage, I would approach this marathon from a "what do I need to do to get through it and survive" perspective. That means that for your training runs, you should concentrate of just going as slow and easy as you can. Time on your feet is what is going to help you be successful on race day. Don't even think about a time at this point.

    Then, on race day, no matter how wonderful you feel, do NOT go out too fast. I would actually suggest that you purposefully go out slower than your training pace for the first 10 miles. If you go out too fast and burn up all your fuel early, you won't be able to replenish it during the race and you'll end up doing the death march for the last 10 miles.

    The marathon is not a distance that you can just muscle through. It is completely different from all the shorter distances in that you can (and most likely will) burn up every bit of glycogen in your system, leaving you with nothing left to burn.
  • LeanButNotMean44
    LeanButNotMean44 Posts: 852 Member
    To piggyback on what CarsonRuns said above a good rule of thumb for pacing is that if the pace feels too slow, you are probably right where you need to be. If it feels good, then you probably need to slow down. Adrenaline can cause you to make silly mistakes with respect to pacing.
  • haroon_awan
    haroon_awan Posts: 1,208 Member was a great help for me for my Half! It has calenders, training schedules, nutrition intake and a forum from experienced runners and trainers.
  • rmdaly
    rmdaly Posts: 250 Member
    It looks like you are getting a lot of training advice, but there is also some practical advice.

    - while you are training, practice eating and drinking. If you plan to use the gu's or gels given out by the course, use those in your training. If you plan to use water or electrolyte drink or tabs, also train with those. You would hate to have stomach issues on race day because of unfamiliar food. Also see how much you should eat. I was given the guideline once to try to eat about 250 calories per hour which to me is about 1 gel or a few gel blocks every half hour. I was also told about 24 oz of water per hour.

    - if you are doing a half-marathon during your training use that to test what you will eat on race day. I like a bagel, peanut butter and banana and my usual coffee before a race, but you have to find what works for you.

    - do not buy new clothes (including shoes) for a race. Do some of your long runs in what you plan to wear in the marathon. Its amazing where clothes chafe after a few hours of running. If you plan to run with a belt of some kind, be sure to train with that as well. The product BodyGlide (bike and running stores) is very nice.

    - start out slow. Its a long race and if you go too fast in the first half, the second half is torturous.
  • CarsonRuns
    CarsonRuns Posts: 3,039 Member
    I was also told about 24 oz of water per hour.

    No, no, no. This is a good way to get Hyponatremia. Drink to thirst.
  • vmclach
    vmclach Posts: 670 Member
    i would suggest not tackling a marathon at this point. I'm sorry, but I do not think that 5 months is proper training time. If you do however decide to do this, maybe try run/walk intervals. If you are working on a base of less than 20 miles a week, your body is going to be put through a TON of stress while training, and it is likely that you will get injured.

    But, if you are anything like me, you will ignore this advice and do it anyways, so my advice from that perspective, just go out and RUN everyday. Don't worry about the time or the pace. Just run. Keep moving. Your body needs to learn what endurance is, and is will be beneficial to just run/walk until your body feels like breaking down.... because essitenally that is what you are training for..

    I remember the first time I ran 6 miles, I thought I was going to die (2 years ago)
    When I ran 8 for the first time- I knew this was A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT (1.75 years ago)
    When I ran 10- I thought that would be the most I would ever run (1.75 years ago)
    When I ran 13- I was almost in tears from this accomplishment (1.5 years ago)
    when I ran 18- I was so happy, but I still could not image doing more (1 year ago)
    when I ran 20- I knew I never wanted to attempt a marathon (1 month ago)

    now i'm 10 days away from my marathon, and the thought of it makes me want to puke!

    My point is building up to that point takes A LONG TIME. Not just 6 months, not just a year. Sometimes it takes years! Enjoy running! If you don't think you will be prepared, I would advise not to do it as it could lead to injury!

    But do what you think is right for you!!
  • bk0626
    bk0626 Posts: 29 Member
  • pittsblue99
    pittsblue99 Posts: 277 Member
    I wish I had some advice to offer but I don't - not yet at least. I am running my first marathon on the 5th of May so I know how you are feeling. I did not start training for it until January/February of this year. I tried following a "plan" but I didn't like it so I trained my way. I just wanted to say good luck with your training and enjoy the running :happy: