Training for your first marathon

Training for your first marathon

By Emily Thorpe, She Science Ambassador

Beginner Marathon tips

If you have been running for a little while, or even just started, a marathon may be something that you are working towards. Perhaps you have enjoyed the challenges of your first 5km, 10km or even an impressive half marathon and feel that it is time for the next distance to push yourself.

A marathon, 42.2km or 26 miles, is much further than just jogging around the park and much further than many people will ever run, so it’s a distance not to be taken lightly if you are planning on adding it to your to-do list.

But after all the excitement (and maybe a little blind fear) of saying yes to your first marathon, where to next, how do you get yourself to the start line?

A reason

Why? Why are you doing this to your body? Why are you sacrificing family fun times to lose toenails and push your body further than it has gone before? There are so many fabulous reasons to do a marathon, so take your reason, hashtag it and celebrate it. That one reason (or even many reasons if you are extremely enthusiastic) will give your training a purpose.

A training plan

For me there is a big difference in running for fun and training for an event. An event is an end goal and regardless of how and what speed you want to run it, you need to get there first and just the occasional run around your local suburb will make race day very difficult.

A marathon is a serious distance, so you need to train like an athlete, taking that title on along with a decent training plan is a great place to start. Many of the running magazines have plans available or, even better, find a coach who knows you, your history and your goals to write you a personalized plan.

If someone is telling you to train, it’s much harder to say no when the alarm goes off at 5am.

A running buddy

They are worth their weight in gels and Nuun tablets, I tell you! A team (virtual or real) or a buddy helps you get out the door, sympathises with the DOMs and shares the milestones as the distances get longer. Chatting with a buddy is also a great time filler for those long runs.

A support crew

It is not uncommon to feel a lot of self-doubt during training and having a support crew that has your back is massive. You’ll be tired. A lot. You’ll be hungry. A lot. You’ll be wondering what you are doing. A lot.

Maybe it’s a simple as someone saying, “you’re awesome, you’ve got this”, because you are and you have.

Also a word to the mothers out there – shelve the guilt. Putting Peppa Pig on so you can have a quiet date with the couch after smashing a long run is more than ok.


You’ll be running half marathons during your training so fuel like you are. A lot of people have different dietary requirements and preferred nutrition – for me, there’s a lot of carbs and protein and a lot of fluids. Marathon training is not a weight loss exercise so reward and fuel that strong body.

All the other bits

There are probably some old school purists that are turning in their Dunlop Volleys reading this, but I love all the bits!

I love my Moving Comfort Rebound Racer bra, I love my Garmin and I love my 2xu undies. I have a collection of magic creams, ointments and body glides that soothe and heal. There are spikey balls floating around all over the house for various acts of relief (or torture), resistance bands that stay permanently attached to furniture and I have a love/hate relationship with my foam roller of pain.

An Epsom Salt bath is amazing for tired legs and I have taken to sleeping in calf compression sleeves and don’t even think for a second that my toes nails wont be covered in bright polish because I don’t even want to look at my little piggies right now.

You will quickly work out as you train, what is best for you. What gear still feels good after more than 3 hours on your feet and a lot of sweat, what time of the day is best and what fuel is most effective.

But throughout it all – just keep remembering your one thing, that one thing of why you are doing it and never forget “you are awesome and you have totally got this.”

Emily Thorpe, She Science Ambassador


Emily is a She Science ambassador who after running 6 half marathons in 12 months is now training for her first full marathon along the scenic and hilly Great Ocean Road.  A fan of the Rebound Racer for running and Berlei for everyday wear as well as Pilates and Body Pump classes. Follow Emily, @mrs_sabbatical on instagram + twitter + blog.


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