AW promotion: Take a look at our top tips for preparing for your first marathon

First of all, well done. Taking on a marathon is no easy feat. Especially the first time. You’re challenging your mind and your body, and you’ll really know that when you come out the other side.

But challenge doesn’t come without hard work. This means a decent amount of self-motivation and self-discipline is involved too.

Remember you are doing this for you and it’s fine if you decide taking on this distance isn’t your cup of tea. If you’re looking for some running inspiration then perhaps spend some time checking out the competitors in the upcoming athletics event on the sports betting platform Just keep in mind that feeling of crossing that marathon finish line and it will help you get through it.

Are you convinced enough to give it a go? If so, take a look at our top tips for preparing for your first marathon.

Getting your head right

Since this is your first go around, you should stick to a training plan that is suited to beginners. You might have been running your whole life – you’re still a beginner to marathons. Focus on getting around the course and through the finish line and leave the idea of your time for the next marathon.

And, as this is your first time, it might be the first big challenge you’ve ever given your body, so you’ll need to know when to back off. You might be the competitive type that is determined to get round the course in record time, or you might not be training enough, and give your body a shock when the big day comes.

A good rule of thumb is to postpone your marathon if you’ve been off your training for more than four weeks. If it’s only been two or three weeks, that is enough time that you can regain with some hard work. Gradually increase your training time to make up the difference. Gradually. Don’t sleep in the gym or you will overexert yourself.

Learn the difference between good and bad pain as you go. Good pain is discomfort caused by you leaving your comfort zone, as opposed to bad pain, which feels like you’re close to an injury.

The basics

Get some decent running shoes. It’s so basic it sounds silly to say but it’s the number one thing that’s going to cause an injury. Check your gait and invest in some running shoes that will compliment your gait and last many a muddy runs in the rain. See those worn-in Primark trainers? Bin them.

And keep your water bottle handy. More than your phone or earphones, that’s what you need. Not only will you feel a lot less close to death, but water will improve your performance. Again, obvious, but missed by too many.

The build-up

Now we get down to the nitty gritty. There are four primary elements of marathon training and you have to make sure you are hitting them whenever you go for a run.

The first is base mileage. You will have to build this up over time. Start with running three to five times a week over a training plan going from 12 to 20 weeks. You are aiming to hit 50 miles over the four months before race day.

The second is the long run. Make one of your weekly runs a long run so that your body can gradually adjust to the extra distance.

Once you’ve got that handled, you can increase your cardio capacity with intervals and tempo runs for your speed work. Intervals are short bursts of faster pace than you’re used to, with jogging in between to build your speed, whereas tempo runs are longer runs, usually 4-10 miles, of a challenging but steady pace.

And the final step is to rest. Take a rest day every week to allow your muscles to heal and avoid mental burnout.