5 tips for making your first marathon a success

socalrunnergal-marathon-tips-toesox2 by ToeSox Ambassador Kate Buntenback (@solcalrunnergal) Running a marathon is a pretty common bucket list item these days. A lot of people run one and vow to never do it again. Then there are crazies like me who just can’t stop running them! As I head out east for the Boston Marathon, I am reminded of my very first one and what it took to get me to that finish line. Marathons are hard – I won’t lie to you. They’re a true test of endurance, strength and mental prowess. They’re also incredibly rewarding and 100% worth the effort and commitment. I put together a few tips I hope you find helpful in training for your first marathon. socalrunnergal-marathon-tips-toesox1
  1. Find your tribe. There’s an African proverb that says “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I couldn’t agree more and let’s be honest, 26.2 miles is pretty far. Running groups are popping up all over the place and they’re often free. Training for a marathon can sometimes put a slight damper on your social life so finding a crew to train with will help tremendously. Your time spent running can double as your social hour.
  2. Put yourself out there. Sharing your goal with others will help hold you accountable. Tell your family, your friends and shout it to the social media world. You’ll likely get a ton of encouragement and you may even inspire some friends to get off the couch and join you!
  3. Follow the 10% rule. As a run coach, I cannot stress this one enough. Running injuries are all too common, especially among newer runners. They’re usually due to too much, too soon. Avoid this common pitfall by never increasing your total weekly mileage by more than 10% at a time. (Ex: Running 20 miles one week would warrant running 22 miles the next week. Running 40 miles one week would warrant running 44 miles the next week.)
  4. Make rest a priority. It’s easy to think that the more you run, the better you’ll do on race day. This is true to an extent; however, rest is an essential part of training. Rest days are when your body actually absorbs the benefits of all of your training. Be sure to schedule in at least one complete rest day a week. This doesn’t mean taking a spin or barre class in place of running – it means completely resting (and maybe Netflixing), at least once a week.
  5. Respect the distance. We’ve all heard about that person that never runs more than 5 miles in their training and somehow goes on to run a marathon. Yes, it’s possible and no, you don’t want to be that person. Marathons are tough but they don’t have to be completely miserable. Stick to your training plan as much as possible, get in your long runs, and prepare your body properly for the task at hand. You will thank me at mile 20.
Best of luck with your marathon training endeavors! There is nothing like that feeling of pride you have when you cross the finish line and a smiling volunteer drapes a medal around your neck and says “congratulations.” I can’t wait for you to experience that! socalrunnergal-marathon-tips-toesox3 More about Kate Buntenbach: Kate is an avid marathon runner, Certified Run Coach, San Diego transplant, and full-time marketing professional for a health food company. She has run six marathons and is on her way to run her second Boston Marathon. Through her active blog and run coaching she inspires people to run distances and paces they never thought possible. Learn more at socalrunnergal.com.