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Preparing for a marathon as a beginner requires careful planning and gradual progression. Here's a short guide to help you get started.

Most marathon training schedules span from 12 to 20 weeks, allowing ample time for your body to prepare for the distance. The duration required depends on individual fitness levels and objectives.

It's best to choose a race first and then establish a timeline by working backwards. Training plans typically commence at your current fitness comfort level and progress gradually to mitigate the risk of injury.

Step One: Shoe Check – Ensure your footwear is up to the task as you'll spend extensive time on your feet in the coming months.

Proper-fitting running shoes are crucial for marathon training. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to blisters and discomfort, while also increasing the risk of injuries such as muscle strains and stress fractures.

For optimal support, we at Craft advises starting your marathon journey with a thorough shoe fitting, available at specialty running stores or through a physical therapist. This applies to seasoned runners as well.

Step two: Moisture-wicking materials like polyester or nylon, are essential for marathon training. These fabrics pull sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry and reducing chafing.

Invest in runner-friendly clothing suitable for various weather conditions, ensuring comfort whether it's hot or cold outside. Adapt your training gear accordingly.

Step three: Start your marathon training at a comfortable level. Beginners might begin with 15 miles in the first week, while those more experienced could start with upwards of 40 miles.

Following common training principles, most plans suggest increasing weekly mileage by no more than 10% to minimize injury risk.

Remember, the ultimate goal is reaching the marathon finish line. Avoid overtraining early on to prevent issues later. Stick to your plan, gradually building mileage until it's time to taper.

Step four: Yes, weightlifting can be part of marathon training, but it should complement—not compete with—your running schedule.

Adjust the intensity of your strength workouts as your running mileage increases. Avoid adding extra stress to your body during this demanding period.

Closer to race day, focus on calisthenics, ball exercises, Pilates, or low-resistance methods to maintain muscle rather than build it.

Step five: In the final weeks before your marathon, less is more. Reduce your mileage by 25% to 50% two weeks before the race, then halve it again in the week leading up to the event.

This tapering approach allows your body to recover fully from training-induced muscle damage, ensuring you have fresh legs on race day, as advised by Betchker. It's important to resist the urge to push in another long run or intense workout during this period. Resting now will not lead to a loss of conditioning.

Step six: Training for a marathon is a long journey. You'll accumulate over a million steps before even starting the race.

On race day, celebrate your preparation and dedication. Enjoy every moment of the 26.2 miles, immerse yourself in the atmosphere, and maintain a positive attitude, even if your muscles protest.

Crossing the finish line earns you the title of marathoner—a well-deserved achievement.

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