When and how should you start training for a marathon?

Max Boettner is a licensed athletic trainer for the Aurora Sports Medicine Institute.

Around the beginning of October, I was watching some friends run and finish a marathon and thought to myself, “I can do that!”

This is a big revelation for me. I’m not a person that runs often or particularly enjoys running.  I am, however, a very motivated person that likes to challenge myself with new experiences.  I began doing some research online and talking with veteran runners about when and how to train and hit the ground running.

A typical marathon training program for a first time runner is anywhere from 12-18 weeks.  With a plan of running a half-marathon in May followed by a full marathon next October, I am a little bit away from beginning formal training for the races.

I have chosen an 18 week program that was developed by the Furman University Institute of Running.  The program is designed for 3 days of running with 3 days of cross training and 1 off day.  As I mentioned earlier, I am not a person who runs often or enjoys running all that much, so I am using the rest of the year to get to a point where I can begin training safely.

The hardest part when beginning a different exercise routine is to stay patient and not “over-do it” and injure yourself.  I have begun weight lifting consistently for the first time in a few years and have increased my cardio training to 4-5 times a week as opposed to the 3 that I had been doing.  The next thing I need to tackle is to modify my diet!

Throughout the course of this experience, I will be writing a weekly post on things from training plans to nutrition plans, as well as fun things like great songs for a running playlist and other stories/articles that will help keep things interesting.  I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking about trying to run their first race or to even begin a physical activity routine to go for it!

I also encourage you to write in and share your training experiences — or to share any advice you have if you are a veteran runner!

Don’t give up the sport — give up the pain! Visit the Aurora Sports Medicine Institute at 13 Wisconsin locations, visit our website, follow us on Facebook, browse our YouTube channel, or call our hotline at 1-800-219-7776.


About Max Boettner

A licensed athletic trainer, Max Boettner looks forward to the challenges of working with athletes of all ages and abilities. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training; his experience includes a football internship at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and seasonal athletic training coverage for the Milwaukee Mustangs Arena Football League Team , and coverage for various UW-Milwaukee Athletics. From injury prevention and rehabilitation to athletic performance, Max is an athlete’s best friend because he understands the drive to “stay in the game”. Originally from Waunakee, he now calls Milwaukee his home. When not working in the clinic or with athletes at Whitefish Bay High School, Max enjoys participating in sports, especially golf and football.
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