Training for your Marathon in a Month: Training tips for new runners

Settling in, breathing, and pacing

Following a few simple tips can make your running more enjoyable and manageable.

If you are new to running or if you are coming back after a long break from running, give your body the time it deserves to adjust.

Find your pace

One of the most important things to work out early on is your optimal running/walking pace. When starting out, running is not about being breathless.

You need to move at a pace you can breathe at comfortably. In other words you should be able to chat and run at the same time.

Your body needs to adapt to running, and it’s important to do so gradually. You will find as the weeks go on that you will find it easier on your lungs. But for these first few weeks, try and listen to your body, go as slow as you can go. Even if you think you would be quicker walking your body will thank you for your patience.

Control your breath

To control your breathing, try to focus on the out breath.

Your body will naturally take in a breath itself and breathing out will help you relax.

If you are feeling out of breath, slow down the pace, focus on breathing out, and gradually your breath will settle and you will be much more comfortable running.

In a few weeks you will know your comfortable pace, for now, use your breath to remind you of when you are going too fast.

Avoid the competition

It’s really important that you don’t compare yourself to people who seem to naturally be able to go faster, with much less effort. Don’t try and keep up with them, you have to go at your comfortable pace - if you do not, you won’t enjoy it, you will find it harder to motivate yourself, or worse again you will become injured.

Try and block out others, and do not compete with anyone else.

Everyone has different starting points, and no two people have the same background going into this. The competition is with you, not with anyone else.

Don’t put a damper on your own achievements by comparing them with someone else. You will only be disappointed.

Stay accountable

Believe it or not, one of the biggest factors in the success of your running will be accountability.

Whether you are accountable to a friend who you meet for a run, or a partner who is going to ask you about your run when you get home, being accountable to someone else often is what gets us out the door. If however you don’t have someone to make you go, a great alternative is a training log/diary.

Some of my students have kept a training log for years of running, right from their first sessions of 1 minute jog, up to run distances which seem more like car journeys to you right now.

A training diary is basically little report of what you did. It might be really simple, in a little notebook, or it can be as detailed as you wish. People who keep training diaries are significantly more likely to keep up the running habit.