Preparing for a marathon isn’t all about running. If you’ve never attempted 26.2, you’re probably full of questions—and, more than likely, a bit nervous. Luckily, Coach Dan Fitzgerald has been around the block once or twice himself. Here, a collection of assorted marathon advice:

  1. Invest in a few pairs (shoes)

You’re going to be putting a lot of mileage on your sneakers over the next few weeks, so having two or three pairs is vital. It’d also be wise to let a professional guide your selection. “Your shoe should have the right blend of cushion and support for your unique needs.

  1. You Don’t Need To Run 26.2 Miles Before The Big Day

Believe it or not, capping your long runs at 20 or 22 miles is enough, Fitzgerald says. “Your best marathon is the result of weeks and weeks of work done over the entirety of the training program,” he says. It is not based on any single run.”

  1. Don’t Forget Mental Training

Hear this: You’re going to have bad runs.

Training for the marathon is a 20-week affair, and it’s bound to have ups and downs. “It would be great if all of your runs were spectacular, but they won’t be,” Fitzgerald says. “It’s the cumulative training, the entire body of work that builds a marathoner. There is not one particular run that needs to be perfect.”

Let yourself off the hook if you have a bad day, or if you need to walk during an outing. It’s okay.

  1. Find A Hydration Balance On The Marathon Day

“Proper hydration starts before race day,” Fitzgerald says. “Be sure that you are not in deficit leading into the big day.” Have water with each meal and carry a bottle for when thirst strikes.

That said, it is possible to hydrate too much. Use common sense. “Don’t guzzle gallons of extra water. We don’t want to flush your system,” Fitzgerald says. “Avoid long stretches without water. It’s all about preparedness.”


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