Guest Post: Competitive Strategy: How To Train for Your First Marathon

Competitive Strategy: How to Train for Your First Marathon

Some people decide to run their first marathon to cross an item off of their bucket list, and others simply want to do something fun and active that will improve their level of health. Running a full 26.2 miles is a significant accomplishment, and it requires ample training and planning if you want to achieve this goal without injury. If you have decided to start training for your first marathon, follow these tips for the best results.

Invest in the Right Equipment

When training for a marathon, you will run a significant number of miles each week. More than that, you may spend hours outdoors regardless of the weather conditions. You need to invest in quality footwear to prevent injuries to your feet and joints. Remember that running can place a great deal of pressure on your joints, and footwear can give you the extra conditioning that is needed to avoid injuries. You also need to buy athletic apparel that is suitable for the weather conditions in your area. Training may extend for months and span across several seasons, so plan to update your training wardrobe periodically as the seasons change.

Follow a Training Schedule

Your body may need to gradually adjust to an increasingly rigorous workout. You may start out running a mile or two every other day, but you may increase this until you are regularly running 15 to 20 miles several times per week. Your workout may need to include interval training, hills training and more. You can find a great training schedule on numerous websites to help you achieve your goal more easily. It may be helpful to register for a race that is at least four or five months away so that you have ample time to follow your training schedule without unnecessarily stressing your point to the point of developing injuries.

Find a Buddy

Running a marathon is as much about physical conditioning as it is about mental strength and fortitude. A running partner can help you to stay on track as you proceed through your training schedule and can motivate you to get out there and hit the pavement on days when you do not feel up to it. You may also join a running club if you cannot find a training partner to run with regularly. Remember that your partner’s commitment to training can affect your mental fortitude in this area. Ensure that you make a wise decision when selecting a running partner so that you receive the full level of support you need.

Take Care of Your Body

Your body will endure incredible stress when you are training for this event. You need to take steps to stay healthy and to avoid injuries. Plan several rest days each week without physical activity. Get an adequate amount of sleep at night, and follow a healthy diet plan that gives you an adequate amount of carbs, calories and nutrients. You also need to stay hydrated by drinking water or a recovery drink, like ASEA, after a workout if you want to avoid injuries. You can find great meal and hydration plans online that are designed to give marathon runner the full amount of nutrients they need to stay healthy and to fuel their bodies for this endurance activity.

The thought of running a marathon can initially sound like a far-fetched dream, and it is definitely not something that you can accomplish overnight. However, when you set your mind to it and when you follow a strategic plan, you will be able to train your body as well as your mind to endure this incredible feat. Investing in the right equipment and selecting a supportive partner are also critical if you want to achieve your running goals. As far-fetched as your marathon goal may sound right now, you may be able to accomplish your goal and cross this item off of your bucket list within a few months when you have the right plan in mind.

Celebrate Canada150 by Train!
Win a Rail Vacation from at Canada's Marathon 

Canada's Marathon – Scotiabank Calgary Marathon – is pulling out all the stops for Canada's Sesquicentennial, including partnering with a celebrated Canadian artist on a commemorative Toonie medal and giving away a trip for two by rail, courtesy of

Not only will participants experience the Coast to Coast to Coast course when they run in the 2017 Scotiabank Calgary Marathon, runners will also take home a piece of Canadiana thanks to the generosity of well known Canadian artist and illustrator, David Crighton.  His iconic 1995 illustration titled "Canada Coast to Coast" was originally commissioned by a Canadian Corporation that had offices in 5 major Canadian cities – east to west, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.  Now the illustration will be on the 2017 finisher's ribbons and technical T-shirts for participants.

"We are proud to partner with David to commemorate such a special year for Canada. Runners will experience the coast to coast to coast course on race day and take home both their finisher's medal and t-shirt with David's beautiful illustration to remind them of their achievement and Canada's Sesquicentennial," says Executive Director of Run Calgary, Kirsten Fleming.

David Crighton was born in Edmonton, son of an Anglican minister, his father's career took him to Ontario where the family eventually settled in Toronto.  A love of cartoon doodling leads him to enter Central Technical High Schools Art Program in 1973.   It was here that he found his first success with his talents as an architectural illustrator when given a project to go out and illustrate a building.   The rest, as they say is history.  David's ability to capture the memories and heart of a city and its communities through illustrations of its iconic landmarks is legend.

"I am thrilled my artwork has been selected to represent the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon Race Weekend in honour of Canada's 150th Birthday in the province of my birth." says David Crighton,

Runners will experience the diversity and charm of the entire country as the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon is paying tribute to the Sesquicentennial by adding experiences along the course unique to the different parts of Canada. You can kiss a cod in Newfoundland, eat watermelon with a Rider fan in Saskatchewan and get your medal from a cowboy in Alberta.

Register for any of the distances (from 5K to the special one-time only 150K in celebration of the Sesquicentennial) and you will receive a unique technical white t-shirt with David's illustration sublimated across the bottom and your distance on the back of the shirt. When you finish the race, you'll receive a commemorative Toonie medal with the same illustration on each ribbon.

And finishing the race will enter your bib number in a draw. If you win, you will enjoy a four-day tour travelling aboard the Rocky Mountaineer from Banff to Vancouver in style. The Scotiabank Calgary Marathon is partnering with to give away two tickets aboard the luxury train for a four-day trip from Banff to Vancouver worth $5800.

"As runners we see parts and pieces of the country by foot while we train and when we race. Having the opportunity to see parts of the country by train is a pretty special way to celebrate crossing the finish line at Canada's Marathon and commemorating this momentous year for our country," says Fleming. is a Canadian company, based out of Calgary, dedicated to sharing the wonder and beauty of the country with its clients.

"It's an experience you will never forget, seeing the beauty and splendor of the Rockies while enjoying the luxury and service of the Rocky Mountaineer is a memorable way to top off the achievement of a big race during this milestone year for Canada," says Martin Flanagan, CEO of on partnering with Run Calgary on this unique prize.

Register for any of the distances (from 5K to the special one-time only 150K in celebration of the Sesquicentennial) and cross the finish line on May 28 and you will be entered in the draw. The catch? You have to be in the stands to claim your prize and will only have one minute to make your way to the stage from the 17,000 seats in the Grandstand. The draw will be made at random by a computer that has all the bibs that have crossed the line at 2:01p.m., one minute after the finish line closes. Video & Trip Details:
Images of medals and t-shirts Courtesy: Dave Holland

SOURCE Scotiabank Calgary Marathon

Pain Relieving VibraCool® Debuts During Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Makers of Buzzy® Needle Pain Relief to attend runDisney Health and Fitness Expo for product demonstrations and sales

MMJ Labs, LLC, industry leaders in non-invasive pain relief, will debut their newest product, VibraCool® Massaging Ice Therapy, at the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo in Orlando, Fla. VibraCool® is the wearable pain therapy device that provides simple, serious relief for IT Band pain, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, and other painful overuse conditions and injuries. Expo attendees will have the opportunity to experience the instant pain therapy of VibraCool® at the booth throughout the event. Runners will be able to purchase the product for use on pre- and post-race aches and pains -- and beyond. Product demonstrations, raffles and sales will take place in Booth 605 in the Stadium Exhibition area during expo hours from January 4-7, 2017.

Team members will be interacting with attendees to help them find the VibraCool® model that best fits their needs. The innovative pain relief product is offered in three configurations to treat areas where pain is common: Plantar Fasciitis/Neck/Shoulder, Wrist/Elbow, and Knee/Ankle.

VibraCool®’s Cool-Pulse™ technology is what makes it so effective for runners of all levels -- from 5k first-timers to Dopey Challenge takers. One push of a button leverages the physiologic pain relievers of high frequency massage and ice in a product optimized for athletes and chronic joint pain sufferers. VibraCool®’s intense 20-minute frozen solid ice packs decrease inflammation, pain and swelling. Vibration massages muscles, mechanically loosening stiffness and improving blood flow. For post-workout aching, using VibraCool’s massaging alone before a workout can prevent delayed onset muscle soreness. The design also features a neoprene compression strap so VibraCool® can move with you during therapy or recovery.

Make the VibraCool booth your go-to stop at the Expo for pre-race muscle prep and post-race recovery. To learn more about VibraCool®, visit, or the needle product line Buzzy® and DistrACTION® cards at Engage in conversations about pain relief with VibraCool on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

10 Fueling Tips For Marathoners

by Tara Martine, MS, RD, LDN

Wise marathon preparation is a holistic endeavor. Sleep, recovery, cross-training, and most of all, nutrition, all play essential roles. Ask any experienced runner: the right foods, eaten in the right quantities and at the right times, can make all the difference when race day arrives. Here are ten nutrition tips any runner would be smart to follow:

1. Winners plan ahead.

Many marathoners wait until a week or two before the big event before thinking about their diet. But race nutrition is much more than five days of carb loading. Start thinking about what you’ll eat at least a couple months before the race. As you’ll see below, there’s a lot to do.

2. Stomachs need training too.

About eight weeks before your race, figure out which brands and types of sports nutrition products settle best in your stomach. The only way to determine this is to experiment. Simulate your race-day nutrition plan during your long workouts. Aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrates, 24-48 oz. of water, and 400-800 mg sodium per hour.

3. Plan your final meal.

Within a month of the race you should have your race-day meal plan dialed in as well. General guidelines are 1-2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight 1-2 hours before the race, OR 3-4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight 3-4 hours before. Practice eating a variety of breakfast foods before your long runs to see how they digest. Avoid high fat foods because fat takes a long time to digest. Good options are bananas, toast, oatmeal, bagels, fruit, cereal, potatoes or rice.

4. Be good to your body during race week.

During taper week, the goal is to rest your body and full recover from all the hard work you’ve put in. Replenish with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Avoid processed foods. Shoot for 70% of your total calories from high carbohydrate foods.

5. Don’t worry about your weight.

Don’t be alarmed if you gain weight during taper week. For every gram of stored glycogen, the body stores three grams of water, which is used to help convert the stored carbs into energy once you begin racing. So drink plenty of water and relax.

6. Load up on nitrates.

Everyone knows about carbs, but few realize how important nitrates are to performance. Nitrates, found in plant foods like beets, argula and swiss chard, are converted into nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator that increases blood flow to the heart and working muscles. A good idea is to drink eight daily ounces of a performance juice like Beet Performer for seven days prior to your race, and another eight ounces the morning of the race.

7. Eat your pre-race dinner early.

Eat an early high-carbohydrate, low-fat meal to ensure that your body has enough time to fully digest and eliminate everything. Avoid foods that can trigger heartburn including spicy foods, high-fat foods deep-fried foods, highly acidic foods like tomatoes, chocolate or mint. Foods that are lower in fiber, like regular spaghetti, may help prevent diarrhea, intestinal cramping and bloating.

8. Don’t try anything new on race day.

The biggest rule of thumb for race-day nutrition is don’t try anything new. Eat the breakfast that you have perfected over the last month at the time that works best for you.

9. Fluids matter.

If you normally consume coffee in the mornings, then do so on race day. Hot tea or coffee often helps clear out your bowels before the gun goes off. Hydrate yourself with 1.5-2.5 cups of fluid 2-3 hours before the race. This will ensure you are fully hydrated and allow enough time to void excess fluid before the race starts.

10. Add carbs a half-hour before the gun.

To top off your energy stores, you might want to consume 15-30 grams of carbs within 30 minutes of the event start in the form of a gel, chews, or sports drink.

Following a thoughtful nutrition program will give you confidence once your race starts. So plan early, follow the plan, then get out there and enjoy your day. You’ve worked hard for it!

# # # #

TARA MARTINE, overall women’s winner of the 2014 Savannah (GA) Rock ‘N Roll Marathon, is a registered dietitian, licensed dietitian/nutritionist, and founder/owner of Whole Impact Nutrition. She specializes in wellness, sports, and plant-based nutrition.

Complete minimally to perform maximally

Guest Blog by Steve Morley


It’s marathon season. Adult distance runners are a funny lot. They’ll declare sometime in the year “I’m going to run a fall marathon”. They may even commit to a training plan. What happens though is that they are like a dog that sees a squirrel. They focus on the squirrel. Then another squirrel goes by, and then that’s all they see.

For a distance runner the squirrel might be a local 5k race that happens the week before. It could be some event that happens like a corporate relay fitness challenge, or a charity 15k run. These are all great things to do, and can be incorporated into the training plan. That’s the key. If you get a training plan from an online source, and you print it off and put it on the fridge that’s good. What happens when life gets in the way? You have to drive the kids to track practice, or they have to stay late and band, you have a conference to go to, all these things can make you modify your training plan. You should modify it.

That’s not what happens though. You’ll do all of those things, and then you’ll try to cram in your marathon pace long run next Sunday. So as a result of juggling a full life you get hurt. Some people will muscle through the injury and they’ll do the workout, and get even more hurt.

Probably very few of these plans mention cross training, like non-impact activities like biking or inline skating, or even cross training by doing hill repeats or the occasional speed session.

The body of an adult distance runner is funny too. Even adults adapt. Those muscles that do the same thing over and over again adapt. They become more efficient and as a result they have to do less work to produce the same output. There is less overall muscle recruitment so therefore you need to change up what you’re doing, to trick your body into working harder.

Stare at the fridge, is your training diet in need of some super charging?

So what are you going to do about it?

You may not do anything – this time. Consider the principle of adaptation again. The training plan says you will do a 25 minute tempo run on Thursday. It’s in your plan, and you know from last Thursday that your tempo pace is X, so therefore this Thursday your pace will be X. What many people fail to consider is that their fitness improves with training. If it didn’t, everyone would perform the same and everyone would arrive at the finish line at the same time.

So given the principle of adaptation, your pace for any given workout throughout that plan your times will change. For the tempo run example, a far better indicator of how to perform, would be perceived level of exertion. In the example of the 25 tempo run it should feel comfortably uncomfortable and you should feel like you could do it at that effort for an hour.

How do you compete minimally to perform maximally when all these squirrels are around? It seems like every weekend brings on a new race, and you could jump into many of them, and while you might be fit and see some great results, if the marathon is your thing, then doing one of these events “out of season” will negatively impact your goal that you have set for yourself. A goal without a plan is just a dream.

Pick your events. A 5k doesn’t really fit, so pass it by. You might say “well I can just do this race as a tempo”. Then the gun goes off and you’re racing it, and then it takes 3 days to recover to get back on your training plan. Then the next weekend is a 10k, or a duathlon, the cycle perpetuates itself and you never get back to your plan, and then when race day comes you are so tired, that you don’t even want to be on the start line.

Remember what’s on the fridge needs to be modified as your life is modified. If you had the greatest of intentions to follow this training plan 100% of the time and life throws you a curve, take yourself off the hook and reboot your goal. Listen to your inner voice and trust what it is saying to you. Have a three tiered goal strategy. Have a goal that you can drive home after the race is done where you aren’t saying things like “I should have done”, or “I wish I had done”. Next have one that is a little more challenging, even if your training didn’t go as planned. Finally have one that is for when all the planets align and everything goes right.

On the day of the race, when you’re warming up, remember what you did to get to the day of the race. If doubts creep in on what you may not have done, refocus back to what you did do. The hay is in the barn. Go have fun.

Not sure how to train for a marathon? Asics wants to help you achieve your  goals for your training.

Learn more and get a MY ASICS plan

I think this is a great idea! Do you think you will use this? If you already are let me know how you like it?


@newbalance is ready for the @INGNYCMarathon with these limited edition kicks.


This year's NWM Tiffany's finisher necklace. What lucky ladies. Run a marathon get a Tiffany's necklace...I am a sprinter and this makes me want to run a marathon!

A shattered record. A fight to the finish. Chicago witnesses the full thrill of 26.2.