First Marathon

by Bonnie Raso
(Des Moines, Iowa)

First Marathon - An Inspirational Challenge

First Marathon - An Inspirational Challenge

To run your first marathon you generally need about 5-6 months of marathon preparation beforehand.

The most important thing to remember in preparing yourself for the event is to start slowly and avoid injuries in the first phase of marathon training - before building up the work through interval training once your legs are "ready for it".

I received this question from Bonnie ;

"I am new to running (only a casual run here and there in my younger years); however, my husband is not. He has run several marathons in the past.. With that, we decided to run a marathon together. He said I have 10 months to get in shape!

I think it would be an awesome bonding experience as well as a physical and mental challenge that I am really looking forward to... but not sure how to get started and am looking for some guidance/ advice.

We are newlyweds (he 37, I 40) and I would like to accomplish my first marathon with my best friend & #8230;. My husband & #61514;

Anxiously waiting to get started in Iowa :-)
Bonnie Raso"

Bonnie, thank for for the inspirational question - it is always nice to read that people are taking up running and aiming for a marathon !

First up : it is more than enough time for you to prepare. Generally, one only needs about 5-6 months to get ready (even when starting for scratch) so you are more than ok with your 10 months.

I do have a few advice for you on your way to your first marathon :

Avoid Injuries In the First Marathon Buildup

I am going to start with this one - because it is so important. Research shows that over 70 % of running injuries come in the first 8-10 weeks of running.

So what you want to do is to start very,very gradual.

First you decide how many runs you want to do weekly, say 3 runs. And each workout should be around 1 hour in total length (as for now).

What you want is to spend the entire first 6-8 weeks of your running building up to that

Now, this is the nice part, say you want to run 3 times a week for an hour each. You can still be out for 1 hour the very first week of training - but you walk for most of the time and only say 10-15 minutes of running.

Next workout, you run 15-20 minutes and walk the rest of the hour. You do not want to run 15-20 minutes first, then walk 45 minutes - you alternate all the way.

But point is : you stay out for 1 hour - and gradually larger parts of it will be running.

Example - First Marathon Step Out

1. First week : 3 workouts. Run/walk alternate the miles

Two of the workouts you just walk for 1 hour (at ok pace) the third workout you walk 5 minutes, run 3 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 3 minutes etc. so that total running time is 15-20 miuntes.

2. Second week : 3 workouts. More running

Two of the workouts you still only walk for 1 hour, but then on the third one you do 5 minutes run, 3 minute walk, 5 minutes run etc.

3. Third week : 3 workouts. Two of them running.

The third week, two of the workouts running, one of them 3 minutes run, 5 minutes walk etc., the other one 5 minutes run, 3 minutes walk.

You continue building up like this gradually until you get to 6-8 weeks of training.

By that time into your marathon training you are ready to go into harder work 100 % injury free AND with good strength in your legs from the walk/runs.

After that initial period, I suggest getting into a good first marathon training program - but where the workouts says say 3 miles running, instead of doing it continously instead split it into intervalls - where you run 3 x 1 mile with 5 minutes walk in between.

Doing interval training (with walk breaks) is alot more effective and keeps you out of injuries as well.

I suggest 1/3 of the weekly runs continously, 2/3 intervalls. So pick a nice beginner marathon schedule and then you just implement the above suggestion.

Wish you all the best for your upcoming first marathon !


Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How?
Simply click here to return to Running Tips

Beginners Half Marathon

by Jana Allerellie, answer by Marius

Beginners Half Marathon - A Real Challenge

Beginners Half Marathon - A Real Challenge

The beginners half marathon training should ideally be stretching the distance/duration of the runs as much as possible until about 4 weeks before the actual half marathon run.

Jana sent this question ;

This is my first time to this site and I have found a whole lot of great information. One question that I do have is that, how long does it typically take to train for a race? I'm signed up for a half marathon in October, but I'm a little worried about being ready for it since it is the longest race I've run. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much!
Jana Allerellie

Hi Jana, thanks for you question (I actually lived a year in Bloomington, Indiana when studying at IU )

To your question : you have plenty of time for a half marathon before that time. But there are three things you need to take care of : getting in the duration, being "fresh" on the starting line and "race prepared"

1. Getting in the Half Marathon Training Duration

Since this is your first half marathon, the finishing time will be a factor ; the duration of the half marathon would probably be (not knowing your shape at the moment) somewhere from 1:45-3 hours.

Now, in your training you absolutely need to get some sessions with this type of duration in order to be in muscular shape to get through the half marathon.

My recommendation is to alternate running and walking for at least one session weekly - where you aim to be out there for quite a good duration ; eventually you want this to be up to about 3 hours in the last period before the half marathon (with 70 % running,30 % walking eventually about 3-4 weeks before). So you keep building more and more each week until you reach 3 hours. That way you know that you can deal with that duration.

2. "Fresh" On the Starting Line

For the last 3-4 weeks before your half marathon you want to cut down the training with about 50 %. This ensures injuryfree and rested muscles going into the half marathon which is crucial to a nice run.

3. Be "Race Ready" - A Good Tip for Beginners Half Marathon

Now, you want to have a few races in your legs the weeks before. My personal suggestion is to find a 5k race about 4-6 weeks before and a 10 k race about 3 weeks before your half marathon. This will help sharpen your for the half marathon challenge.

Two races is usually enough, though more does not hurt. For the last 14 days I do not recommend any races for beginners - as the risk of small micro-tears (and increased injuryrisk) when going into the half marathon is too great.

I wish you all the best with the beginners half marathon challenge !


Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How?
Simply click here to return to Running Tips

How to train for your first marathon

by Daniel, answer by Marius

Fiist Marathon - How to train for your first marathon

Fiist Marathon - How to train for your first marathon

How to train for your first marathon is a question often asked. In training for it there are two very central point you need to take care of.

These are :

1) the duration of the marathon

2) your general health.

Daniel sent this question :

"I have been jogging for about a year now, 30 min. about 3-4 times a week. Would it be safe for me to run the whole marathon?"

Daniel :
If you have been jogging 30-40 minutes in the last year it would be safe to run the marathon but preferable after doing this :

Say you have the marathon 5 weeks away. Then you would need to get used to the duration of the marathon. Otherwise you will get into loads of trouble around the 25-30k. Good news is, you need only three of these to get ready :

Alternate walking and running for 2-4 hour sessions

What you want to do is to get out there and alternate walking and running for very long sessions - ranging from 2 to 4 hours total and do this 2 to 3 times before the marathon.

And no closer than 8-10 days before.

The first time you walk 70% of it and run 30% of it. For example run 3 minutes, walk 7 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 15 minutes etc. Next time 50 % / 50%, same manner. Last time 70 % running, 30 % walking. This is usually enough to get used to the duration of the marathon for a someone training for their first marathon.

How to Train For Your First Marathon In Terms of Health

Now, this is a big one.

Running the marathon is a huge stress on your body, especially your heart.

Recent studies shows that the right ventricular wall of the heart (the part that brings blood to the lungs) is working against abnormally high pressure during the marathon on those that are not long time marathon trained.

You want to prepare your body for this type of stress.

What you want to do therefore is to have at least 2-3 very hard sessions of at least 1 hour total of intense running ; around 1 hour at least above 80 % of maximum heart rate effective (for example a half marathon race or sessions such as 6 x 10 min at 80-87 % of max) This will help you adapt before going into the marathon and not risk your health when on the starting line of your first marathon and is the best tip in terms of health when asked "how to train for your first marathon".

I wish you all the best !


Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How?
Simply click here to return to Running Tips

Beginning running tips

by Diane
(Omaha NE)

What are the top beginning running tips ? Diane sent this question :

"I have tried running, but I just have a hard time making it a routine. I am going for it again. My problem is my legs from the knees down just feel so heavy.You talk about easy and hard workout days, but it seems like I can only do one speed, its all I can do to keep picking up my legs. Cardio wise I am fine. What can I do to get that spring in my step (the feeling you got when you ran as a kid).Make running fun for me..help"

Diane, I want you to try the following :

1. Split training into two - half intervall sessions on the bike/alternative training. These sessions should be short intervalls, for example 30 x 1 minute. The other half of the sessions walking/running.

2. For the walking/running sessions, split these into alternating walking and running and do this on a consistant basis. You want to add in there loads of variation in both pace and length of the sessions/within sessions. As an example of this, check out my article here : from couch to 5k

Why is this important ?

The main reason why you are feeling heavy are twofold ; first of all your cardiovascular fitness is not good enough to hold up against the difference in running and other endurance sports (meaning you "running economy/form") Therefore you need to use the bike/alternative training to boost/parallell train as you move along in your training.

The second reason is that your muscular recruitment pattern is not good enough yet to feel "light" on your running specific work. Therefore you need the type of variation in your running that I talk about here.

I wish you all the best and I hope these beginning running tips will help you along !

Kind regards,

Back from Beginning Running Tips to Marathon Training Schedule

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How?
Simply click here to return to Running Tips