Beginner's guide to Marathon training

Run a Marathon in 2012!

If you are considering registering for a marathon this year to shed a few of the holiday pounds and get back in shape, the 5 tips below explain how to get motivated and run a marathon in 2012!

1) Motivation - Register and Tell Everyone

Mental toughness is critical to finishing every run.

With most marathons’ costing over $75 USD to register, making the financial commitment will be enough motivation to carry through with training. Another good idea is telling everyone you know that you are signed up and how much you are expecting to train over the coming months.


Don’t go overboard with technology, but Nike+ iPod or the Nike GPS app for a smartphone is a really easy and affordable way to track (and brag about) your progress.

2) Nutrition

Nutrition is equally as important as the physical training element of a marathon.

Consider that the average person burns over 100 calories per 1 mile. Since 1 kg of body weight is around 7700 calories, a person will lose 1 kilogram for every 77 miles they run if their diet does not change. The sample training model below plans to cover over 420 miles in 16 weeks, which equals a loss of 5.5kg in that time period. It is very important to prepare your body for the amount of additional work it will be performing. The 5 food types below are an excellent start to fueling for marathon training:

  • Water – drink at minimum 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Carbohydrates – pasta, whole grains
  • Protein – yogurt, lean meat protein (chicken or fish), legumes (kidney beans, chick peas)
  • Vegetables – Broccoli, spinach, high in iron
  • Fresh Fruits – berries, bananas are high in potassium to help with cramps

3) Start Small

Take it one step at a time, by the mile it’s a trial, but the yard it’s hard by the inch it’s a synch. Set small goals and build momentum as your accomplish them.

It is very important to not get overwhelmed early in the training processes. If you are struggling with a run, slow your pace and finish the run – DO NOT STOP. Finishing a run in any amount of time will boost your motivation and allow you to keep progressing.

4) Sample Running Schedule

See the sample training schedule below, notice that it builds slowly and limits running two days in a row to allow muscle recovery. Treat these dates as appointments that cannot be broken, telling friends and family about your planned running nights is also a great way to stay motivated.

16 Week Training Schedule

 5) Stretch

Stretching is important because improves run performance, reduces the risk of injury, encourages relaxation and reduces muscular fatigue after the run.

Do NOT stretch cold muscles because stretching should be done AFTER the run, or after 5-10 minutes of warming up once the muscles are warmed up through more rapid blood flow. Here are three quick stretching tips:

  • Stretching should be done for each of the major leg muscles
  • Do not over extend the stretch push to the greatest range of motion without pain
  • Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds

Use the “post-run” stretch as a way to cool down after a run and use it as an opportunity to hydrate. Resist the need to sit down, this will seize up your muscles and make you very sore the next day!


In summary, if you are considering running a marathon you will need to get motivated by jumping in with both feet, be mindful of nutrition, start small and work your way up, stick to a dedicated training schedule  and do not forget to stretch after each run.