It's that time of year, the time of year when we're all gearing up for the fall marathon that's looming on our calendars. For some of you, it will be your 2nd or 3rd marathon. But for many of you, you're training for your first! Let me be the first to congratulate you on taking the first and most difficult step in completing a marathon - the decision!
Let me break the marathon training process down for you from a 3-time marathoner.
Phase 1 - THE PUMPED STAGE!
This is the phase where most first time marathoners are at their peak confidence levels. They read a blog, see an inspiring instagram and they say to themselves, "I'm going to do it. I am going to run a marathon!" Boom, they've made the decision and they're PUMPED. They frantically collect training calendars and tips from various blogs (hat tip to Runner's World for their awesome resource: http://www.runnersworld.com/training/marathon-training-plans). They're pumped and ready to train!
Phase 2 - The Training Stage
This is where the rubber meets the road, literally. I'd be willing to bet that this is the stage in which 50+% of would-be marathon runners quit 1-2 weeks into their training. Training for a marathon is no joke. It take hard work, dedication, and unwavering self-discipline. This is the stage, for those of you who will stick to you training schedule, where'd I'd recommend shopping for a heart rate monitor. A heart rate monitor will give you tons of valuable data about your body and your training progress, but most of all it will serve as your motivation to continue training and follow through with your goal!
Phase 3 - Event Shoe Selection
For those of you who have made it this far, this is the phase in your training where you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your date is rapidly approaching and your training has you prepped to tackle your first ever marathon! It's usually at this phase where you'll notice significant wear on your training shoes. You consider a new pair, but don't want to run your marathon in shoes that are brand new. This is wise thinking!
Pro Tip: Buy new running shoes 4 weeks before your marathon!
Buying new shoes 4 weeks in advance will give you plenty of time to break them in properly before your big day. Check out your local running store and ask plenty of questions. I've had extensive experience with Road Runner Sports and they've never steered me in the wrong direction. You could also visit this resource for more online info.
Phase 4 - Race Day
This is it, the day you've been training for - marathon day! The best piece of advice I've ever been given when it comes to running a marathon is, "Enjoy every step - you're on your way to a lifelong goal that 95% of the world will never complete."
So do just that, enjoy every step! You've worked hard to get to this moment and you deserve to soak it all in! The pain, the numbness, the joy, the eagerness to get to the finish line. Live it up, this will be 4-6 hours of your life you will never forget!