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Must-Read: Training For Your First Marathon

Probably won't win first time out, but still

The sun is staying out a little longer, the weather is getting a little warmer, and clothes are becoming more and more looser and optional. That’s right, spring is here and summer is quickly approaching. Which means that it’s time for running season! (Well, every season is running season. But now is when you can actually do it out of doors without having to wear massive layers and look like a fool.) Which, in turn, means that some of you may be trying to get yourselves ready for the first marathon of your life!

Now, I’ve never done a marathon before. I tend to work best in small spurts. (Insert dick joke here.) BUT these tips from Men’s Fitness makes it seem a little bit easier than I thought and something I may actually consider this year.

For a preview, here’s the first three weeks in running, and what you should accomplish by the end:

Week 1-3: Find Your Stride
As a novice runner, the first obstacle to overcome is yourself. While training, everyone says that running a marathon is 80 percent mental (screw that, my body begged to differ), so the biggest challenge was letting myself fail. Just as you can’t start with a 250 lb. deadlift, you can’t jump into training at an 8-minute mile. Sure, your competitive nature would love to train at a 1:45 hour race finish time, but if you want to make it past a week of training you have to mentally and physically slow down. There are a bunch of running schedules you can find online (like the ones from Hal Higdon, for example), but accept the fact that it’s OK to modify based on your ability and schedule, and set realistic, achievable goals in terms of mileage and pace.

Take this time to find yourself as a runner. Do you prefer training indoors or outdoors? It’s a lot easier to jump off a treadmill versus running outdoors where giving up means you’ll still have to walk home. Are you a team player or a soloist? Find a running buddy who is just a little bit faster than you to keep you challenged, otherwise work on an awesome playlist to keep you pumped throughout your run. And find your solemate—stop by a running store to analyze your gait and find the proper sneaker (turns out the stability, cushioning shoe I splurged on would help ease shin splits my overpronating feet).

But yeah, that’ll only get you so far. Head over to Men’s Fitness to read the rest of your training regiment.

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About Rick Mosely Rick is the editor for TSB magazine.

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