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Marathon Training Program:
Getting Started - Training Basics

There are many topics pertaining to the fundamentals of marathon training. These will be highlighted throughout the sub-topical pages of this web site. Listed below are the most important considerations of which you need to become aware when you make the decision to begin training for your marathon. Runners take your mark, set? train!

Acquire Knowledge

Read and learn as much as you can about marathon training. In addition to the large number of books on the topic, monthly magazines such as Runner's World frequently feature articles about marathon training and racing. Search the web for credible sites addressing the marathon. Check out the Running Links section of this site for a list of great web sites that features a variety of running and marathon-related topics. Additionally, ask others who have previously run marathons for their advice. Join a running club or an organization that promotes marathon training and racing. With so much information and training philosophies available for you to consider, assimilate all the data and find a reputable program that you feel both comfortable with and that meets your needs/goals. Above all, stick with ONE program. Don't haphazardly adopt several training plans and jump from one to the other. If possible, find a coach and follow his or her training plan. Finally, it is very important to consult with your coach on a regular basis so that your training program can be modified when necessary due to injury and/or fatigue. See Personal Training for information relating the coaching services we provide.

Equipment

The staff of a specialty running store can assist you in selecting the appropriate shoe model that meets your biomechanical needs.Purchase a new pair of running shoes from a specialty running store that employs staff knowledgeable about matching the right shoe with your biomechanical needs (e.g., foot type, foot stride, and foot strike pattern). See Choosing the Right Shoes section for more information. Use Cool-max or other synthetic blends apparel (e.g., socks, singled, shorts, etc.) that wick away perspiration and enhance your comfort level while running.

Record Keeping

If you don't already do so, keep a training log. Use a notebook, calendar, running log, etc. to record at a minimum, the following information: miles run, total time run, and shoe model worn. Records can also be kept on resting heart-rate, weather conditions, running route, your perceived exertion level, and much more.

The central reasons for keeping a log are three-fold. First, the log provides a history of your running, crucial to finding the possible cause of a running injury. Second, reviewing a running log can help determine the training methods that have been the most effective in the past regarding your best race performances. Finally, keeping a log is highly motivating, as few runners like to leave too many black spaces! However, do not become compulsive about your running just to "fill in the blanks" or to reach a specific weekly mileage total. I recommend also keeping a shoe mileage chart. By keeping a cumulative mileage total for each pair of the shoes you own, it is easy to determine when it's time to purchase a new pair.

Nutrition

For runs of up to 90 minutes or less, water is the drink of choice.The topic of nutrition will be discussed in greater detail in several sections of this site. For now, remember that regardless of the outside temperature, runners must be well hydrated not only to avoid heat complications but also to run effectively. For runs of up to 60 minutes or less, water is the drink of choice. It is also important to emphasize healthy foods in your diet while at the same time, limit fried and high fat foods. There is much debate now regarding the proper mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. My recommendation is to focus on including ample carbohydrate sources in your diet, aiming for approximately 65 percent of total daily calories coming from that area.

Supplemental Fitness Activities

Without a doubt, to run a marathon successfully, one must log the necessary miles leading up to the event. This is a concept known as sports specificity. It is also important to include some cross-training activities along with a regular stretching and weight training program to both reduce the risk of injury during this period and to facilitate total body conditioning. Cross-training is particularly important for runners who are just beginning to build a mileage base and need to strengthen the opposing muscle groups to reduce their chances of incurring an overuse injury during the mileage buildup stage.



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