MMRF Endurance Events

Marathon Training Tips - Week 2

Week #2 – Set Goals and Keep a Log

Set Goals: I believe that the primary goal for first-time marathoners and half marathoners should be to just get to that finish line. Setting a realistic time goal is extremely difficult to do with no prior history as a comparison, and this type of goal can add a great deal of unnecessary stress to both your training and to race day. Just finishing a 13.1 or 26.2 mile event is a huge accomplishment! My goal as a coach with my clients is three-fold: first, to get them to the starting line healthy; second, to adequately prepare them for the race so they have an enjoyable experience, and third, to make sure that they enjoy the training process and the race enough that they want to do it again. You should strive for the same results for yourself.

If this is not your first marathon and you wish to improve your time from a previous race, be sure not to be too aggressive with your new time goal. Remember that certain elements are out of your control including the layout of the course and the weather. Both of these can drastically affect your performance.

Regardless of the number of marathons you have competed in, make finishing your primary goal. Choose a specific time as your secondary goal. If you wake up on race morning and it is 90 degrees and ridiculously humid outside, it's a very smart idea to drop the time goal and just enjoy the race! Even though I have completed over 60 marathons and 20 Ironmans myself, my primary goal is still first and foremost to make it to that finish line, period.

Keep a log: One of the simplest things you can do to ensure major success in your training is to keep a running log. Jotting down a few short notes after each workout will:

  1. Help you avoid injury by illuminating those elements of your training that may cause pain (increasing mileage too quickly, incorrectly changing footwear, running on a certain surface, etc.)

  2. Help you ‘dial in’ your personal nutrition and hydration strategy by keeping notes on what you consume pre-run/ride/swim, during your workout and post workout, so you can learn what works best for you.

  3. Let you know when it's time for a new pair of shoes (something that will impact your overall running – knees, back, feet).

  4. Help you determine the best clothing and gear for you.

  5. Serve as a huge confidence boost during the taper, your final weeks of training, when you can look over your log to remind yourself of all the hard work you have put in and how prepared you are!

The log need not be time consuming. Just write down a few basic notes on the details of each run. You can use a notebook or your computer, a calendar, the log on TrainingPeaks – whatever works best for you. Not only will this log help you immeasurably for this marathon or half marathon, it will prove to be an invaluable resource for all of your future races as well!