I remember my first marathon: Austin 2006. The start was delayed by an hour due to an ice storm the night before. Traffic getting to the race was atrocious! After sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, and having moved a mile in about an hour, and already missed the start by 30 minutes, we decided to just run to the starting line. So really I ran 27.2 miles that day! It was freezing, sleeting, or drizzling throughout the run. I had trained for months for this run, I was prepared for the pain ahead of me, I was definitely not prepared for the weather, or the chaos of the start because of it, and I had no idea about the psychological battle I was soon to face (if three and a half hours later is soon!) But I finished, and to be honest, I don’t even remember my time now! It is such a feeling of accomplishment and pride at the finish line. You literally have given your all, and you will be addicted to the race from then on!

Although much of a marathon is a mental battle, only a fraction should be physically straining, assuming you are well trained. This is a training plan for the first time runner. I’ve written it for someone with a goal to run and finish their first marathon. Feel free to adjusts the days you do each workout; there is no law stating long runs must be run on Sunday. Just be sure to keep your runs in the same order, you need recovery days between speed and endurance runs. The most important run of the week is the long run. They build endurance (both physically and mentally) but they also teach your body to burn fat and conserve glycogen, which will be crucial for successfully completing 26.2 miles. These are not the runs to miss. However speed workouts will make you a more efficient runner, and can therefore lead to an easier race. If you have the goal of finishing within a certain time, you’ll want to give a little more attention to these speed (pace and stride) workouts. There will be more posts focusing on speed workouts in the weeks to come.

Should you get sick or injured, don’t worry too much about missing a few runs. Just build your endurance back up slowly and adjust the long runs so you are not building more than 10% from your previous week.

Next Thursday: Experienced Marathon Training Plan

Happy running,


When my mom buys running shoes, she walks into a store, looks for shoes that are “cute”, and buys the first pair that fits. This is not the way to pick running shoes! Improperly fit shoes can lead to blisters, loss of toenails, and can even cause injury due to alterations in running form. It took me several years to find that perfect shoe. I have been running in the same model of shoe, the Brooks Adrenaline, for 6 years now. Putting on a new pair is like walking on clouds – everyone should have this type of Zen moment with their shoes!

Most cities have running specialty stores where they fit people into shoes. They will look at your feet, your arches, your stride, your tendency to pronate, and find you that perfect pair. What is pronation? As you run, you land on the outside edge of your foot and roll in. If you roll too far in, that is called overpronation. There are motion-control shoes to fix this.

Some things to remember when purchasing running shoes…
-Try on shoes at the end of the day – your feet swell as the day goes on.
-Don’t shop for looks – if they fit and feel good, it doesn’t matter if they are purple with green and pink polka dots.
-Most running stores will offer a discount to members of the local running club.
-It’s not about cost. $110 running shoes are not automatically better than $80 running shoes. Be prepared to spend about $90-100.
-Try them on – don’t assume since you are always a size 9 that your running shoes are a size 9.

Remember, running shoes do not last forever! They need to be replaced about every 300 miles.

Next week – socks
Good luck!


One of the surefire ways to pick out a new runner at a race with thousands of people is their clothing. Often, you will see novices sporting cotton T-shirts and basketball shorts at the start line. This was a mistake I myself once made. I never understood the big deal – until I ran a 10K in cotton shorts. Oh, the chaffing! Once I tried my first pair of real running shorts, it was love at the first mile. They breathed, they didn’t ride up, they moved with me. How come no one told me about this!

For anyone thinking about running distances greater than 3 miles or so, technical clothing is a must. These fabrics are specially made to wick sweat away from the body. This keeps you cool and dry. Look for words like “dry-fit” or “wicking” when purchasing clothing. Shirts are available in endless varieties -sleeveless, tank tops, built-in bras for the ladies, reflective for running in the dark, etc. Running shorts often come with extra perks, such as small pockets for keys. Like the idea of running shorts, but not the short length most runners sport? Many brands offer longer versions, with all the same benefits.

Good brands to try: Nike, Brooks, Asics, Pearl Izumi, Moving Comfort, The North Face, Sugoi

There is a reason most runners wear clothes designed for running. Once you realize the comfort, you won’t go back.

Next week – shoes!

June 13 marks the beginning of the traditional 16 week training time for a marathon. Although some more serious runners may be doing 18 weeks or longer.

Are you ready to officially start training? If this is your first marathon, you’ll want to be comfortable running 6 miles by June 13. Not there yet? Continue to slowly up your mileage. You don’t want to increase your mileage more than 10% a week, to prevent injury. If you are currently running 15 miles a week, you can add 1.5 miles next week, either in one run or spread out over all of your runs. Likewise, if you run 120 minutes a week, add 12 minutes next week. You can do the math… I hope!

Now onto our blog… We will be posting twice a week. Tuesdays, Jennifer will post running advice, including nutrition, injury prevention, running gear, etc. Thursdays, I will post training information and new workouts to add to your regimen. Feel free to comment on any posts with your own lessons learned or questions you have about running!

Next Thursday – training plans.

Happy running!