It used to be that marathons were reserved for running fanatics, thought to be a little crazy for voluntarily hitting the pavement for periods of up to five hours. But now the 26.2 mile race has moved from a niche workout to more of a bucket list item; even Pamela Anderson is running marathons. Races are popping up all across the country and with a little hard work and dedication, more and more runners are signing up for this popular endurance challenge.
Preparing for a marathon is quite the physical and mental test, so it's best not to take training lightly, especially if you're a marathon newbie. For the inside scoop on how to tackle the 26.2 miles, we tapped three top running coaches. Ahead, their 10 tips how to to ace your first marathon.
First, Check That You're Actually Marathon Ready
"Runners who are attempting their first marathon should give themselves 16 to 20 weeks of dedicated, "official" training. This is assuming you start in good enough shape to run about 10 miles for a long run; if you can't, you're probably not ready to undertake a marathon and should focus on shorter race distances first, like a 10k or half marathon. After about a year of consistent running, you can set your sights on a marathon. It's a very long race and shouldn't be underestimated!" -Jason Fitzgerald, USA Track & Field certified coach and founder of Strength Running
Consider A Coach
"If you're getting ready to tackle your first marathon, having someone in your corner who can help you see the big picture and guide you through the training is vital." -Carl Leivers, Atlanta-based running coach and USA Track & Field Endurance coach
Set Realistic Goals
"The first marathon is a learning experience. Do not set out to run your best race ever. I suggest setting three goals: Goal A, B, and C. A is if all the stars are aligned, B is a more realistic time goal (something you can live with), and C is crossing the finish line on two feet. Tell yourself you will be thrilled if you reach any of these three goals." -Kim Maxwell, Minneapolis-based running coach and founder of KMax Fitness.
H2O + Fuel
"When you're running that long, your body is going to need fuel. Make sure that you get used to drinking water while you run and you find a brand of energy product (gels, jelly beans, or chews) that you like and work well with your stomach. Staying hydrated and fueled properly is a big part of feeling good in the last few miles." -Leivers
Credit : Bustle