My decision to run my first marathon ever was really random. I was finishing up my last year in college and had heard that Twin Cities marathon registration was opening soon. The day it opened, I remember coming home from work and logging on my computer to register. I told my college roommate and she was like “oh hey! I registered too!” Both of us had made the random decision, not talking about it to either beforehand (or to anyone else either).

As I’ve mentioned before, I started running in middle school primarily as a way to lose weight. I ran cross country and track in high school and then continued to run in college when I had a chance. Before signing up for that marathon, I don’t think I ran more than six or seven miles, usually sticking to two or three mile routes… maybe three, max four times a week.


How do I know if I’m ready to run a marathon?
A lot of people ask me how you know if you’re ready to take the plunge and sign up for a marathon? Well, if you’ve thought about doing it and have been running regularly for 3-6 months, you can do it.

What marathon should I pick?
It’s important that you choose a marathon that is at least 6 months out so you have sufficient time to train and build up your mileage. Some good marathons for first-timers:

I think it’s best to run a mid-sized marathon for your first time… and one that’s close to you (better chance for lots of your friends/family to cheer you on!).
(madison marathon, 2009… smaller size races have lots of benefits!)
That way, you get the experience of the expo (so fun!) and all the different runners who are participating… it can be really overwhelming to run New York City Marathon as your first marathon and toe the line with 45,000 other runners. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I think you’ll have a better experience if you have one or two marathons under your belt before you run one of the majors.
Just like huge marathons, traveling for your first race can also be overwhelming. If it sounds like it’ll complicate things for you, think about running one that’s closer to home or right in your own city.

What do I need to know about training?
The biggest thing you need to know about training is that you need to stick with the plan. Sure, it will be tempting to amp up your mileage when you first start (especially since mileage will seem low), but it’s so important that you follow the suggested pace and distance… the people who designed these plans know what you’re doing.

In my first round of training, I didn’t understand the importance of recovery runs and why they were so slow… so I ran them faster… but they are crucial to your body and recovery!
How do I set my goal for the race?
I had set a goal to run a four-hour marathon. I found an awesome training plan — 4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon — and you know what? I ran a 4:00.12 marathon that day in 2006.

(twin cities marathon , 2006)

Apparently it works well.

But in setting a goal for a race, think about your current fitness level and your race history. Many people set a goal to finish their first marathon, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Think about your pace for your runs and what would be reasonable if you ran 26.2 miles. If you are running 3-4 miles in 10 minutes per mile on average, shooting for a sub-4 is probably not wise (for your first race anyways!). Gauge your pace and build out your goals from there (or just stick with finishing until you do your first one!). Of course, always remember to “have fun” on the list of goals!
What else do I need to know?
That’s where the giveaway comes in! I would love to giveaway “Running a Marathon For Dummies” to one of my lucky readers.


This book is PERFECT for the first-time marathoner as it outlines everything and anything that you should know about running a marathon. Topics such as gear, fuel, stretching, cross-training and MORE are all covered in this book.

It’s such a useful tool for a first-time marathoner… and even for people who have run marathons before! It seriously is like the bible of running a marathon.

To enter, answer this question [mandatory entry]:

What inspired you to start running?


For additional entries, please complete the following (note, please leave separate comments for each otherwise they will be considered one entry):


The giveaway will be open until Sunday, March 31. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 1.

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