Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Marathon training season is upon us as most of the major marathons are in the fall starting in October thru December. Therefore if you are thinking about a marathon this year, it is getting close to the time to start your training. I am by no means a marathon expert. In fact, part of what continues to attract me to the event is my limited knowledge of it compared to other running events I have competed at during my life. The marathon has ingredients that must come together for you to be successful reaching your goals. It is not enough to just run. You need to manage your body with proper hydration/food intake, get good sleep and training leading up to the event , and pace yourself accordingly. The approach is different than shorter races I have completed.

Despite me continuing to learn about the event, I have acquired some good knowledge as part of my journey to improve. I figured that since I frequently get asked questions about marathon training, I will share my own thoughts. To some degree, this 3 part series should be an open dialogue so please feel free to share. There is no magic formula or the exact way to train so digest what I have written and see how it fits into your life.

The series is broken into three parts. Today’s topic is Beginners. Next up will be intermediate and then advanced marathon training.

•You fall into this category if:
•You are new to running altogether
•You are attempting to run your first marathon however you have done some running before.
•You have done 1 or 2 marathons purely to finish and are working towards improving your fitness and time a bit more.

If the above is you, there are two avenues I would consider. One is the local USA Fit or Galloway running programs. These programs are targeted specifically to first time marathoners and provide you a safe environment to train and meet other folks attempting to accomplish the same goals as you. The group aspect of these runs is very useful to hold yourself accountable and share in the experience with others.
USAFIT Charlotte

USAFIT North Charlotte

Galloway Training Program
Charlotte Contact: John Lineberger at: runwalk13@yahoo.com
The Galloway Training Program is open to anyone who is interested in fulfilling a lifetime goal: to run a marathon, half marathon, 10K, 10 miler or just get started. The training group welcomes all levels, from beginners to Boston qualifiers. Pace groups are set up to ensure a comfortable and safe training pace for every ability. This low mileage run/walk program will prepare people for an incredible achievement. A high percentage of participants, including beginners, continue this lifestyle change after the completion of their goal.

If you are more of a self starter, the Runners World marathon training programs found in their magazine and on the Runner’s World website are sufficient for first time marathoners.

No matter what you do, here are some recommendations.
1) Run a half marathon before a full (at least a month or more before the full event). It is very good practice to see how your body handles the distance and you get to practice a race atmosphere. Drinking during a race and eating gu/sports beans (whatever you fancy) is not something you want to try the first time during your first marathon.

2) Don’t be hard on yourself. It is a process! Consistency wins all the time with marathon training. Start small…a few miles and work your way up more and more each week. A few miles 3-4 times a week is much better than 1-2 runs a week that are long.

3)Long runs are crucial. Your schedule might not permit you to get in as much as you want during the week or your body might not be up to it but do not skip your long run. All the referenced programs above incorporate long runs and slowly increase your mileage on them to help prepare you for a marathon. Find someone to run with for these long runs and ensure to have water/Gatorade, Gel/Sports beans available during the run. Especially during the summer heat. A good idea is to carry a few dollars with you and stop at a gas station for a water or Gatorade.

4)Get sleep! Running will wear you out and your body REALLY needs the sleep to prepare you for a run and to recover. I know time does not always permit but if you have a tough run or longer day, get rest before and after.

5)Have FUN! I am not sure I can stress this enough and it is a theme for all levels of runners. All of us have jobs or school or family commitments. We certainly are not depending on running to put food on the table (in fact, as many calories as we are burning, your grocery bill will probably increase). Exercise is fantastic and I encourage it for all and truly hope everyone finds a form of exercise that they find enjoyable. Running is so easy to do and perform anywhere! Just through on shoes and have at it! Find some friends to chat with, run with an ipod…whatever makes you smile!

We LOVE comments so let us know your thoughts. Are you too shy to post publicly? Feel free to contact me directly.
That is it for today. Next up is Intermediate Marathon Training!!!

-- Written by Aaron Linz amlinz@yahoo.com
The author is the president of the Charlotte Running Club and was fortunate to run a 2:42.41 at the Boston Marathon for a finish of 269 out of 22645. Next up for Aaron is the Richmond marathon


  1. Nice opening, Aaron. I look forward to reading parts 2 and 3.

  2. Great Blog Aaron! Thanks for all of your work with the club...