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Every New Year, people all over the world set goals for themselves to achieve. They range anywhere from fitness and health goals to work and personal ones. More often than not, many choose to start living a healthier life and push themselves harder in the upcoming year to reach their fitness goals.

For runners, specifically marathon runners, there is always that constant need to aim higher, be faster, and run longer. Anyone who strives for better physical fitness understands the need for goal setting. It’s so important to continue working towards an achievement. As runners looking to begin marathon training, most start small and work towards a half marathon at 13.1 miles. So, now what? It’s time to transition and get yourself ready to complete a full 26.2 mile marathon.

As with training for your first full marathon, you must start by making a plan that coincides with when the actual race is scheduled for. Each week, it’s important to shoot for an increase of 2k, which is around 1.24 miles. When designing your training plan, you should allow yourself to have at least three weeks that include a twenty, plus mile run before the race.

The next step to think about during your training is how you will replenish your fuel during your long weekly runs and the marathon itself. There is a multitude of options to make sure you are getting the right fuel for your endurance training.  According to Canadian runner, Brittany Moran, “I often encourage my athletes to think of the long run as a dress rehearsal for race day. That way you can go into the race feeling that much more prepared.”

There are many important aspects to make sure you incorporate into your training schedule. Of course, training each week to ensure you can reach your goals is critical to being able to run the full marathon, but with longer runs comes the greater possibility of injury. It’s essential to add “down” weeks into your schedule. This way you lessen that possibility of injury with overtraining and pushing your body too hard.

Smashing your goals and making achievements you didn’t think were possible to make all of the training and hard work worth it. Once you are able to complete your first full marathon, the overwhelming sense of accomplishment sets in and makes you strive to achieve even more.