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Tips and tricks for first-time marathon training
by Jessica |  Nov 8, 2013

There are certain things in life for which winging it just won't cut it: The SATs, that interview for your dream job and a marathon, for instance. It goes without saying that running a race of this magnitude depends on perseverance, but your performance will largely depend on how you prepare. If you've decided to run your first marathon this spring, you're in for a memorable experience. But first you need to focus on training your body to take you the distance.

Here are some of the secrets to safety and success:

Gear up
Your feet are going to take you more than 26 miles, so make sure they're well armed. It's worth it to get fitted at a pro running store and invest in shoes with sufficient arch support and shock absorbency. Don't forget that socks can play a key role in preventing blisters, so look for a breathable pair that provides cushioning like the spanx active sportease! athletic crew socks. They're a favorite of Madge, who has run some pretty grueling marathons herself.

Vary your workouts
Of course, it's important to gradually increase your distance while you're training to condition your heart and muscles. Finding the right escalation pattern can be tricky, though. William Roberts, medical director for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, told U.S. News & World Report that he recommends ramping up from 10-13 miles between 12-20 weeks.

You might think that running all the time will get you in tip top shape for the marathon, but it could actually limit your abilities. So try incorporating other kinds of exercise, too, like cycling, weight training and Pilates, a couple days a week. These kinds of workouts can help strengthen your muscles so they can handle the impact of long distance running, as well as give your joints a break from pounding the pavement.

Staying committed to your marathon depends on being motivated - in fact, it may be the only thing that gets you to the finish line. Consider making your goal public on social media outlets to get some support from your friends and family. Keep a diary so you can track your progress during training - seeing proof of your improvement will make you feel more accountable and do wonders for your will power.

Group training can be a major motivator, especially for beginners. Seek out a group at your gym or your local running store, and you may find that your fellow runners have some experience and helpful tips that you can benefit from for your first race.

One of the major misconceptions of pre-race eating involves heavy carb consumption. While carbs are an essential energy source, loading up on pasta and potatoes could cause indigestion, trouble sleeping and other problems that hinder your performance in the long run. Lauren Antonucci, RD and director of Nutrition Energy in New York City, told Fitness magazine that 60 percent of your diet should come from carbs and the remaining 40 percent should be split evenly between lean protein and fat.

The day of the race, fuel up with a balanced breakfast, like a whole grain bagel with peanut butter and banana. This will give you the energy to go the extra mile and keep your blood sugar steady. Don't forget to eat within half an hour of finishing so your muscles can repair themselves.

It's crucial to stay hydrated, but guzzling gallons of water could actually throw off your electrolyte levels, leading to weakness or cramping. Antonucci says 6 to 8 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes is sufficient.

Ideally, your diet will incorporate all the essential vitamins and minerals, but it's best to supplement your meals just in case. David kirsch vitamin super juice is packed with all the energy- and immunity-boosting nutrients you need, including coral calcium to protect your bones.

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