Sunset runner

10 Tips for Beginning Marathoners


  1. Keep a training log. Write down your daily mileage, run times, race distance and times, and how you feel. It’s hard to remember what you did later, so write it down immediately.
  2. Increase weekly mileage by 10%. This allows for a gradual increase in mileage and reduces the risk of injury.
  3. Include a “cut back” week every third or fourth week of training. “Cut back” means reduce your mileage and use it as an easy week.
  4. Run 3 or 4 days a week. Include one long run, two shorter runs for speed and strength, and an optional easy recovery run day. For speed, focus on your run pace one day a week by running slightly faster in short increments of time or distance. For strength, include some hills one run each week. Long runs are runs that increase your distance. Run these at a slow, comfortable pace, about 1 or 2 minutes per mile slower than your expected goal pace.
  5. Always alternate a hard day, with an easy day, or a day off.
  6. Always allow at least ONE day a week completely OFF for rest and recovery. Two days a week is OK, too!
  7. Monitor your resting heart rate. Take your resting pulse each morning before arising. Keep track of it in your training log. After several readings, you will have a baseline number. As our fitness improves, our resting pulse decreases. If you see your resting heart rate spike up by 10% or more above your normal resting pulse, take it easy that day. This can be a sign of fatigue, lack of recovery between workouts, or an illness coming on and it is best to take the day off, sleep in, or change a hard workout to a very easy one, until your resting heart rate returns to normal.
  8. Consider cross-training one or two days a week to increase your aerobic conditioning without additional running. Swimming, cycling, or rowing are good options. Keep cross-training activities to 45 minutes 1 or 2 times a week, and do them at a very moderate intensity level.
  9. Consider adding strength training to your routine twice a week. This can be weight training, or a Pilates or Yoga class.
  10. Always listen to your body. If you are tired, rest. If a workout feels hard, it is hard.

Tips from Runners’s World

Scroll to Top