Running a marathon is one of the most common bucket list items. Twenty-six miles is a big deal! And if you’ve decided a marathon is the next step in your fitness journey, congratulations! The trick to a successful marathon run is knowledge and preparedness. Read our top 12 first marathon tips to help you get from training to race day.

1. Alternate running with other types of training.

Running every day is not considered the best way to train for a marathon. Muscle overuse can lead to tightness, joint and tendon decay, and even injury. The best way to train for a marathon is to alternate running days with strength training. Aim to run about three times per week, with at least one recovery day. Remaining days can be spent doing cross training. If you must run every day, keep your runs short, aiming for 2 to 3 miles on off-days.

For cross training, we recommend this lower-body lifting workout or this at-home Abs, Butt, and Legs Workout, which are both great for developing leg strength.

2. Incorporate ab workouts.

A strong core is a small difference that can make a huge impact on running. Nevertheless, the core is often overlooked when training for races. Strong abs can help you maintain proper form, preventing injuries particularly to the IT band. This simple 5-move core workout will help you target upper abs, lower abs, and obliques.

3. Eat plenty of protein while training.

When you exercise, muscles break down. In order to repair the muscles, your body needs the amino acids found in protein. To keep your muscles in top shape, aim to consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Learn more about the Best Sources of Protein for Weight Loss.

Check out some of our favorite Protein-Packed Dinner Recipes.

4. Make sure you have the right shoes.

Shoes can make or break your race. Your oldest pair of sneakers might not have enough traction. Check how worn the soles are and invest in a new pair if necessary. If you do end up buying a new pair, train with them a few weeks ahead of the race. There’s nothing worse than finding out your shoes rub you the wrong way in the middle of a 26.2-mile race. Check out our guide for Choosing the Right Running Shoes for your feet type.

5. Invest in the right clothes as well.

There’s a reason why exercise clothes aren’t made of cotton. Cotton tends to absorb and hold on to moisture, meaning it will leave you feeling damp throughout your race. Additionally, cotton can chafe during running. If the race provides a cool t-shirt, you’re better off saving it for post-run celebrations. Run in nylon or nylon-blends which will help prevent chafing. You can get affordable good quality workout clothes from Amazon.

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