How To Train For a Marathon…..

A marathon is something that some hold sacred while others toss the word around like it’s nothing, no big deal.  The truth, it is a big deal.  It is a big undertaking.  It is a commitment.  I know I’ve talked about the marathon, and what you can expect, in my Interested or Committed post.  However, I wanted to revisit it again to put a fresh spin on it since the spring marathon season is staring us down.


1.  long-distance race: a long-distance footrace run over a distance of 42.195 km (26 mi 385 yds)

2.  difficult undertaking: a lengthy and difficult task, event, or activity

3.  endurance test: a test of endurance, especially in a competition

If you want to run a spring marathon, or any marathon, you first need to commit.  This means registering.  If this is your first time, or you “possibly” have had a bad experience in the past, then I understand your fear hesitation but really put your money where your mouth is and all of a sudden it will become real. 

$$ Spent = Commitment

chicagomarathon pic

After you blew the money on the registration, now get on your favorite social media account and tell the world.   Yes, tell everyone you know that you registered for a marathon!  Be proud and soak up that moment when everyone says your crazy amazing.  This will make you accountable.

Public Announcement = Fear of Public Humiliation Accountability

Now that you are committed & accountable, it’s time to think about training.  There are a bunch of plans available.  You can spend as much or as little as you want.  Some people go directly to a coach but most start browsing the net.  Three tried and true options for training plans:

  1. Hal Higdon – By far the most popular source for training plans.  Free.  Easy to use.  Variety of training options.  18 weeks of hell fun.  I’ve used a variety of his plans on numerous occasions.  I always have the promised outcome, a finish.  Win, Win. 
  2. Train Like a Mother:  How To Get Across Any Finish Line – and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity – Very popular with the #MotherRunners.  $9.99 for the book which includes 9 training plans for all distances for beginners and advanced runners alike.  Entertaining.  Not all about running.  Catchy title.
  3. Run Less Run Faster – A Runners World publication.  $11-16 for the book.  Popular with injury prone runners.  Three key runs per week.  Detailed training plans for each of the Boston Qualifying times.  Challenging.  Encourages 2 cross training days and provides specified workouts for various cross training activities.  Detailed strength & stretching plans.

Training Plan = Success

You’ve spent your $$, you’ve told your friends, you picked a plan. It’s easy from here on out.  Just follow the plan and trust in your training.  Don’t freak out if you miss a workout here or there because you do still need to maintain your REAL LIFE.  However, for the most part, be a task master and just do what it says.  Follow along week by week and don’t peak to far ahead so that you aren’t overwhelmed.  Clean up your food intake cuz it’s possible the training will make you feel as if your starving extra hungry.  If you don’t have the metabolism or mileage of Marathon Mike, don’t eat ice cream for lunch like he does ….. won’t work for you, or me!  Keep your food intake clean by drinking your water,  eating your fruits & veggies, and focusing on lean proteins and whole grains. Oh yeah, and alcohol will dehydrate you. 

Balanced Diet = Healthy Weight

The last, and possibly most important, ingredient in successfully training for a marathon is rest.  Don’t be crazy; get some sleep.  Your body will be doing amazing things.  It repairs while you sleep.  So if you want to be as successful as possible, you might need a few extra ZZZZZZs.  Don’t feel bad about it.  Sleep.

Rest = Repair

I could go on forever but I won’t. 

Any other tips you want to share about marathon training?

** Happy Training ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

17 thoughts on “How To Train For a Marathon…..

  1. One other important training note. Pushing through pain will lead to injury. Pushing through fatigue, tired, a mental feeling of I can’t do anymore will lead you to new possibilities and strength. Your goal during training is to get to the start line.

  2. My personal tip – for your first marathon, your goal should just be to finish. Don’t worry about your time. Conquering the distance is enough of a goal. Time goals are for second (and third, fourth, etc) marathons.

  3. Tips for training for a marathon? I could go on forever….LOL! But, I will be different this time and be short. TTF I think you capture the most important element…commitment. If you want to truly run a marathon…then you simply make a commitment and register for one….then do the training. The rest falls into place.

    Yes…you cite some references and they are good, but you also left off some good ones like MacMillan Running, Jack Daniels, Hanson’s Training method and Pete Pfitzinger…to name a few. Most of the books and/or training plans are for most advanced runners…Galloway and Higdon cater quite well to the beginners.

    Probably for most tackling marathons for the first or second or third time…is just find a group to join and train with! Group support and running with others goes a long way to keep commitment a commitment! Often run clubs and/or groups have training schedules they are following timed to some upcoming marathon. Works very well for the beginner or 2nd timer to just join in…and train with…and ask and learn along the way (it’s the way I did and I am a Coach now!).

    And…don’t forget some run stores offer training programs that can work well. Running for Kicks generally has some training in conjunction with Yankee Runners for either spring (Boston or Illinois) or fall (Chicago) marathons. Fleet-Feet in Schererville usually have some training programs that you pay some fee to join, not only for marathons, but races of shorter distances. Both approaches work well.

    Of course…if you really serious…you can go out and hire a personal Coach. You can go to Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and find them listed by State. I am on their…but I am currently not pushing or advertising coaching services. I talk to a lot of runners and give them my advice and guidance, and I have taken on at least one runner as a “work in progress” pro-bono just to see if got what it takes as a Coach to get a runner across the threshold of their prior performances and qualify for Boston. If I succeed in that mission…I just might start promoting a training business. I never took the certification for RRCA coaching to make a business…just to learn what is involved in creating training plans and how to follow them and make the adjustments as training progresses or encounters set-backs.

    Maybe it sounds like I am trying to promote myself…but I am not. TTF knows me fairly well (I hope) and I have often bounced advice and suggestions to her at times she has asked. I do this for many others, but never sure if they fully adopt or apply what I suggest. But…for the most part…probably few out there that really need a personal coach….the simple act of finding a run club or group that is convenient to where you live can probably be the single-most effective factor in making your commitment a success!

    OK…this was a little long…but I tried. Maybe someday TTF will add an “ask the coach” feature to her site? I might be willing to get involved in that…but from what I see…TTF has a fine and solid perspective on what it takes to be a runner!

    • You know that the training is crazy. You REALLY need to WANT to do it if you plan to sign up. This is a reason I so dislike signing up for a race in FEB which won’t happen until mid OCT. Too many variables to factor into the equation, some which impossible to forsee. Good luck! Follow you heart. Hugs!

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