22 September 2019

Running tips to get you completing your first marathon

April 14, 2008

Did watching the London Marathon at the weekend make you wish you were taking part? We’ve asked marathon expert Bud Baldaro to give his top tips to get you started .

london-marathon1.pngGetting started

  • First things first, wear appropriate kit and ensure you are wearing correct shoes for your gait. Get yourself tested at specialist running store. We recommend both Sheactive and sweatyBetty for all your running gear.
  • Don’t try to do too much too quickly.
  • Determine whether you want to run 2-3-4-5 times a week and then stick to it.
  • Find friends with which to open your training campaign. Maybe develop a mini network from the home/office for mutual support.
  • Run where it is pleasant but obviously safe.
  • Use flat routes to begin with.
  • Set realistic targets.
  • Be positive about the progress you are making – results will come in time.
  • Don’t allow others to put you off your goal.
  • Plan from a holistic perspective and determine when the best time for you to exercise is.
  • Plan ahead and ensure running is time for yourself and not a further area of stress or demand on your time.
  • To gain improvement you will obviously have to learn to overload your system by asking it to do more – that could be two miles as opposed to one mile – then allow the body to rest and recover before increasing your work load further.

Now you have started

  • Don‘t be shy of jogging for 30 seconds then walking 30 seconds for the first 7-10 days or so of your training.
  • Build up from 30 seconds on/off then 1 minute on/off then 2 minutes etc.
  • Build up patiently and tell yourself how well you are going.
  • You will be so pleased when you reach your first full mile without stopping!
  • Progress to a mile then 1.5 miles then 2 miles slowly – mixing running and walking where necessary and appropriate.
  • Set yourself attainable but challenging targets.

Once you have reached your first basic target irrespective of how modest it is, prepare yourself to be ready to move on to a more formalised program. In this I would try to include:

  • A long run – long is obviously relative depending on where you started from. It could be two miles or four or even as much as eight – but be smart and know your limits!
  • As much ‘steady running’ as your life style will allow you to accommodate -you will improve enormously from just running. But do try to run as far as is realistic.
  • Consider doing sessions embracing a series of short faster runs. E.g. warm up then run hardish but not flat out for one or two or three minutes with a timed recovery. You can progress this session by doing longer efforts; doing more efforts, running quicker efforts and reducing the recovery time/distance.
  • Be creative in devising such work outs maximising your environment. Ensure you only change one of the variables at any one time to progress. Don’t be shy of mixing times/distances into one session. And you can improve by doing more than 1 set with longer recovery between sets.


Follow this weekly schedule:

Sunday: Steady long run

Monday: Alternative exercise or rest

Tuesday: Session of efforts

Wednesday: Alternative exercise (Gym/workout class)

Thursday: Longish run

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Medium run, preferably over hilly circuit

Bud Baldaro is UK Athletics National Marathon Coach and adidas Running Consultant

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