Prepare for Your First Marathon or Half Marathon

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Marathon running

Are you a runner ready for next-level training?

Marathon or half marathon training can be just the motivational tool needed to keep you on run-mode for a while.

If you are a 5Ker and ready for the next bump up, you could always try a 10K or 15K, like the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Florida. Start training now for what could be the biggest 15K ever!

Tools for success:

  • A great pair of running shoes. Most shoes are designed to absorb impact for 600 miles for 180 pound man or 170 pound woman. Someone 200+ pounds may need to find shoes sooner, as the wear on the soles is greater. If you are running a 3 miles 3 times a week,  that shoe will be in good condition for an average person for just over a year. Start adding miles for 15K or marathon training, and you are looking at a new pair every six months. Worn-out shoes have impact on the feet and every joint in the body, so if it seems extravagant to spend another $100 on shoes, consider the amount of pain and suffering that new pair can save.

One can get dizzy looking at the wall of shoes at the local sporting goods store, so read up on some before going to try them. Runner’s World Magazine and local stores like 1st Place Running Store have good spring guides. A great shoe will fit snug but not tight. It should feel natural, like your foot just has support for impact, not an extra weight. A good sporting goods store will have professionals that can guide you through some shoes to try. Some are made more for thin feet, and some for wide. The professional can even watch your stride and recommend styles based on how much pronation (turn) is in your natural step.

When you think you have picked a good pair of running shoes, do not buy them without running in them. Running is different from walking. Run around the store or in the store’s given area for trying. Be honest about the shoe. If it rubs now, imagine three miles later. Once the right shoe is picked, it should make an impact on how you feel during and after that run.

  • Training method. Just running a track or course will not change the outcome of your races. There are many tools to help you run more efficiently and take time off of your mile, if not just feel better during and after the race. Technology is great for a basic running plan. is a resource for starting to run, pacing, and making a plan toward the next race or the goal race. One of its apps, C25K (Couch to 5K) is one of the most popular athletic apps. It has a set plan to help a person begin running and acts as a technological coach. The Nike+Ipod app is also very popular and useful for tracking a run and setting goals.

Though technology is wonderful and convenient, it cannot replace a human’s eye. The flow chart, shoe, or connecting device cannot see and track exactly how the body behaves in a workout. To really get personal with running, join a local running club ( or find a trainer who works one-on-one or with running groups ( Feel free to get ideas from our fitness guru, Jackie Culver!

  • Running clothing. Gone are the days of sweats and heavy workout gear. That old 80’s leotard? Throw that thing away. Today’s runner wears lightweight, comfortable gear in layers for extra protection. Look for synthetics that have moisture wicking fabrics, such as Adidas’s “clima” collections or Nike’s “dry-fit” collection.
  • Peer pressure. Keep your running log online with Nike+ipod or another online tracking system. This keeps you accountable, and you may be surprised how supportive your peers are!
  • Don’t forget your custom orthotics (there’s a Jax Beach location, too, if you’re local to the area!) to put in your running shoes or buy over the counter ones! They’ll give you the extra “oomph” you need to keep going and will allow your feet to withstand more pressure. You will definitely feel the difference!

SML TIP:  Have fun and be safe. Don’t overdo it, but regardless if you’re just starting or you’re an avid runner, you will benefit from having a schedule like this with your training.

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