A new year is the perfect time to either begin a fitness routine or take it one step further. A lofty goal to strive toward is running your first marathon.

Marathons offer tremendous challenge and excitement and are often set up for good causes. Since it’s winter, you have plenty of time to properly train too.

Here are some tips for running your first marathon.

Get New Running Shoes

Before you start training, consider getting new running shoes. Older running shoes can be harmful to your feet if you’ve been wearing them for six months or longer, because they can cause blistering.

However, don’t buy new running shoes right before the marathon—break them in for a few weeks before your race.

Change Your Diet

Besides your physical routine, you will also need to change your diet so you can perform to the best of your abilities.

One major aspect of training for a marathon is eating plenty of healthy carbohydrates because of benefits reaped from the high glycogen levels. You will also want to stay adequately hydrated during workouts and at rest.

Gradually Increase Your Distance

When you first start your marathon training, don’t instantly try to run the marathon distance, especially if you aren’t in the best shape yet. Gradually build up toward the distance you’re striving for, which may be less than 26.2 miles, at least at first.

Once you achieve that distance, then you can work on your pacing so you can complete it in a shorter amount of time. One thing you should keep in mind is that your adrenaline will boost you a bit when you run your marathon, so if you don’t get to the distance in time, don’t worry!

Get Plenty of Rest

Many runners supplement their runs with time at the gym, and a common misconception for beginning runners is that you need to work out every day, maybe even twice a day, to get the results you are looking for.

However, this is not the case, and there are many reasons why you need to take at least one rest day from the gym each week. Give your body a chance to recover so you can be in the best shape possible leading up to the marathon.

Don’t Just Focus on Cardio

A final tip is to not just focus on cardio. You should also incorporate strength training into your regular routine.

Strength training can make you stronger and faster. Some great workouts to consider include: barbell squats, box jumps, power cleans, dead lifts, and lunges. 

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