A few years ago I made the leap and dove into the world of marathoning. As I mention in my health and fitness background prior to running a marathon I had little to no endurance sport experience. To be totally honest the first time I ran farther than a 5k was 6 months before my marathon. So any of you out there thinking about running a marathon but are not sure if you can do it, if I can so can you!! I know, it sounds cliche but seriously you can!
So what do you need to begin your marathon quest:
A training program book/training coach/training class – for my marathon I just went with a DIY training book. Not only did my small town not have a big running club or training group but in all reality when it comes to running I am pretty self conscious and prefer to run alone. If you want to go the coach or group training route I would start googling to find a trainer or class in your area. If you plan on going to DIY route I strongly suggest this book: The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer
Shoes – You absolutely need a good pair of correctly fitting running shoes. Do not even think about training until you have invested in shoes. I suggest going to a running specific store and have them evaluate your gait, foot type, etc… Once you find out what type of shoe you should be wearing, if you prefer online shopping I would suggest: roadrunnersport.com They have great deals and you can sign up for their VIP for extra discounts.
Apparel – Along with your running specific shoes you will also need running specific clothes. When it comes to fitness attire I have two favorties: Nike and lululemon. Of the two, lululemon is my absolutely favorite but it is quite expensive and rarely goes on sale. On the other hand, Nike is great quality and you can always find Nike products on sale. Of course other brands make great running clothes as well, these two are just my preferences. You will need quality running bottoms (shorts/tights), tops (short sleeve, tanks, long sleeves…depending on the weather), and socks (do not under estaimate the power of a amazing pair of socks).
Nike Tempo Shorts = favorite running shorts
lululemon run inspire crop ii = favorite running tights
Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) – My polar heart rate monitor was one of the best fitness investments I have ever made. I bought my polar f6 about 2 years ago and it still works just like new. A heart rate monitor helps you monitor your progress and keeps track of how hard you are working. It can also help you stay within your target range by telling you when you are working too hard or not enough. A HRM will alos monitor the amount of calories you burn each workout and if you really want to invest you can get one that has a GPS.
You can either buy a watch that takes your pulse by a finger tip sensor or you can purchase a watch and chest strap system. I prefer using the watch and chest strap because it is more accurate (click here fore more information about choosing a HRM). I purchased mine from Sports Authority because you can always find weekly discounts…and who does not love a good deal.
Accessories – You just need a few more things and you will be good to go.
*water bottle – My favorite workout water bottle is the Camelbak podium. It is amazing because it is always opened and always closed. It is quite a nifty little bottle. I personally hate to run with anything in my hands. If you are the same you can choose to set up your own water stations along your running path. Yes, it take a little bit of prep time but at least your hands will be free as your run!
*Spibelt – A handly belt that holds all your keys, money, credit card, gels, etc… I was given a Spibelt as a gift before my first marathon and I LOVE it. This is an absolute must for any road racer!
*Gels – I know once you get into your training either with a book, trainer, or group you will learn more about gels and other energy sources while running. So I just thought I would share my favorite, Hammer Gel Apple Cinnamon. So yummy!!!
Well I think that is pretty much it for the basics. I hope that this information helps you on your journey to becoming a marathoner! I know it may seem like Everest now but nothing quite beats completing 26.2 miles and knowing that you are a member of an elite club that has accomplished something so few even dare to attempt.
Good luck with your running!!!