How I Trained and Ran My First Marathon

(Last Updated On: June 21, 2020)

Have you always wanted to run a marathon?

Maybe it’s on your bucket list. Perhaps you want to push yourself. Maybe you want a challenge to work towards. Maybe you’ve lost some weight and you want to prove to the world you can run a marathon!

Whatever the reason. I am going to share a running training plan that you can follow to reach your goal of running your first marathon with less than a year of training.

For me, I was always a runner in high school. Track and field. 400m, hurdles, and the 4x100m relay. Those were my races. I was never a long distance runner, although I always enjoyed running.

I had always wanted to run a marathon.

To me, it seemed like the ultimate physical challenge. So I signed up for my first race in 2014 to run the Portland Marathon in Portland, OR. In 2014 I turned 30 years old and I thought that this would be a great way to celebrate.

It is recommended that before starting this training plan that you should be running approximately 15 miles a week. I was running about 10 miles per week when I started training.  I followed a plan from Runner’s World magazine, check it out here: Training Plan.

I will say that although I tried to follow this plan perfectly, there were days that I would modify the plan depending on what was going on with my schedule. I would switch planned run days with “rest days” and vice versa. I would also make modifications to the plan and skip a few 3 mile days and just run 6 miles  another day.  To me, the important thing was getting the mileage in.

A few tips:
  1. Print out the running plan, put it on your refrigerator and cross off the runs as you complete them. There is something so gratifying about checking off those runs. It’s so fun to watch your progress grow towards marathon day!
  2. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a run here or there. Trust me, if you miss a run one week it will not deter all of your progress.
  3. Hydrate! Be sure to drink plenty of water. Once you are running those longer distances hydration is even more important.
  4. Have fun! Listen to your favorite music or an interesting podcast. It makes the time fly by.
  5. Tracking milage has never been more easy. I use my Apple Watch to help me track run progress. There are great apps and other watches such as Garmin out there that make tracking progress easy as pie.
Running your first marathon is so exciting!

There is so much adrenaline as you start running. There is temptation to start running fast right out of the gate with all of the excitement going on. Remember to pace yourself. Most major marathons have “pacers” that will set the pace for the marathon, whether it’s 4 hours, 4.5 hours etc.

I finished my first marathon around 4 hours and 30 minutes. I have since ran the Portland, OR marathon in 2015, and the Burlington, VT marathon in 2017.

Good luck and happy running!

Disclaimer: “You should consult your doctor or health care professional before starting this diet and fitness program to determine if it is right for you. You should not rely on this information to substitute as professional medical advice.”

That’s me(Jane Boughton) running the Burlington, Vermont marathon with my Uncle in May 2017

Since first publishing this post I have now completed four marathons. This October 2019 my husband ran his first marathon. We did the Portland, Oregon marathon which is under new sponsorship this year and had a brand new route.

Running with someone is so much fun, especially if it’s your partner in crime!


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