8 Training Tips for Your First Marathon

October 5, 2022

HI! I’m Molly.

Here to encourage you on your own bold pursuit of intentional living as I live out my own. I’m passionate about running, spending time doing what I love and cheering others on to approach running with joy.

Here are my 8 training tips for your first marathon!

So you took the plunge and you signed up for your first marathon! Now what?! Whether your training plan is 15 weeks, 18, 24, whatever, it may feel a bit daunting not knowing what exactly lies ahead. Welcome to marathon training!!! Lol. Marathon training will throw so many curveballs your way and when it’s brand new, it’s hard to know how to react or even know what is “normal” and what isn’t. I hope this post is helpful for you as you embark on your first journey to becoming a marathoner! 

Here are my training tips for your first marathon:

1. It’s ok if you miss runs here and there

This is one of the biggest questions I get: “what happens if I miss a run?!” You will be FINE. Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to training, so don’t make it a habit to skip runs, but your training cycle won’t be perfect. You will have to miss runs. Our bodies will not lose all our hard work just because we miss a run or two. Get back on track when you can and get back to it!

2. It’s normal to be tired, but not exhausted all the time

Ok hear me out on this one because tired looks different for everyone. I go to bed pretty early during training seasons because I am tired. But, I am not so tired that I need to take regular naps (although I do love naps after long runs!), that my energy feels constantly depleted or that I can’t focus. If you’re training and you’re at a point where you feel so physically and mentally exhausted, I encourage you to see a doctor and get your blood tested. A lot of female runners come to find their iron is too low while they’re training and that could be why you feel extremely tired. Again - this looks different for everyone and while it is definitely normal to be tired, pay attention to if you think something is off and if you think you need to see someone. 

3. Practice what you’ll do on race day

Training is the time to practice what you are going to do on race day. This means practice how you warm-up, what you wear, what shoes you run in and what food you eat to fuel your runs before, during and after. I shared in my tips for race day that you shouldn’t do anything new on race day, so now is your time to perfect your race day plan!!

4. Add in strength training

I know if you’re not already doing this that it sounds intimidating. It used to scare me, too, and I still have a lot of anxiety in the gym!! However, the marathons where I didn’t incorporate proper strength training are the races where I showed up injured. Strength training significantly decreases your chances of getting injured and in my opinion, it actually balances out runs really well! A great place to start is on YouTube and searching specifically for strength workouts for runners.

5. Prioritize THE most important things in your life

You cannot keep doing everything you were previously doing once you start marathon training. The sooner you accept that, the happier you will be :) Be OK with sacrificing some things in this fun season of training and know you will eventually get back to them! For the time being, prioritize the most important things in your life and say “see you later” to the others.

6. Don’t compare your training to people online

This is a biggie (especially if you’re on TikTok or IG a lot) because you will see others training for the same distance as you, but running different distances or running different paces. It is OK. Your training plan is yours and theirs is theirs. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing! Enjoy your journey and stay focused.

7. Take rest days

To piggyback off of the above, you might also be tempted to not take rest days for various reasons – you might not see others taking them, you might feel like you don’t need one, etc. Take rest days! Your body needs them and you will only get more ahead by taking them, not behind.

8. Don’t try to make up your missed runs

Lastly, if you miss runs (which you will, like we talked about in #1), don’t try to make up for the missed mileage. You’ll end up jumping mileage too fast and more likely to get injured. Trust your body and your training plan and just jump back into your training plan as is!!

Training seasons are so wild. It's crazy to experience our bodies changing and getting in shape, while also putting in so much hard work for a goal we know we're going to achieve (if your goal is to cross the finish line, that is). How often do we put in work KNOWING we will reap the reward?! Enjoy it and remember you paid money to do this ;)

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