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Preparing for Your First Marathon: Training and Nutrition

Running a marathon is a significant achievement that requires not only physical endurance but also mental strength and meticulous preparation. Whether you're an experienced runner or a complete beginner, training and nutrition are two critical aspects that can make or break your marathon experience. In this guide, we will delve into the essential steps for preparing for your first marathon, focusing on training and nutrition.


  1. Set Realistic Goals: Before you start your training, establish clear and achievable goals for your marathon. Understand your current fitness level and determine how much time you can dedicate to training each week. A realistic goal might be simply to finish the race or to achieve a specific time.
  2. Create a Training Plan: A structured training plan is essential for success. Most marathon training plans span 16-20 weeks and include a mix of long runs, speed workouts, and recovery days. If you're new to running, consider seeking guidance from a coach or an experienced runner to create a customized plan.
  3. Consistency is Key: Consistency in training is vital. Make running a regular part of your routine and stick to your plan as closely as possible. Gradually increase the volume and intensity of your runs, but also include rest days to allow your body to recover.
  4. Long Runs: Long runs are the cornerstone of marathon training. These gradually increasing, slow-paced runs build your endurance and mental toughness. Aim to complete at least one run that's close to or longer than the marathon distance before the race.
  5. Speed Workouts: Incorporate speed workouts to improve your pace and stamina. These can include interval training, tempo runs, and hill sprints. Vary your speed workouts throughout your training cycle.
  6. Cross-Training: To prevent injury and improve overall fitness, consider cross-training activities like swimming, cycling, or strength training. These can enhance your running performance and help you recover between runs.
  7. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body's signals. If you experience persistent pain or discomfort, rest and seek professional advice. Ignoring these warnings can lead to injuries that may derail your marathon plans.


  1. Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet is crucial for marathon training. Focus on lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Make sure you're getting the necessary nutrients to fuel your workouts and aid in recovery.
  2. Hydration: Staying adequately hydrated is essential. Drink water throughout the day and during your runs. Practice with hydration during long training runs to find a strategy that works for you on race day.
  3. Carbohydrate Loading: In the days leading up to the marathon, increase your carbohydrate intake to build glycogen stores in your muscles. This will provide sustained energy during the race.
  4. Race-Day Nutrition: Plan your race-day nutrition carefully. Consume a pre-race meal that you've tested during your long training runs. This meal should be rich in carbohydrates and easy on your stomach. During the marathon, consider energy gels, chews, or sports drinks to maintain your energy levels.
  5. Recovery Nutrition: After the marathon, focus on recovery nutrition. Replenish your body with a mix of carbohydrates and proteins to help repair muscles and reduce soreness. Stay hydrated, and consider a well-balanced meal to aid recovery.
  6. Consult a Nutritionist: If you have specific dietary concerns or needs, it may be beneficial to consult with a sports nutritionist. They can help you develop a personalized nutrition plan tailored to your training and race-day requirements.

Remember that preparing for your first marathon is a journey that involves dedication, patience, and smart choices. Training and nutrition go hand in hand in ensuring you not only reach the finish line but enjoy the entire marathon experience. Good luck on your journey to becoming a marathon runner!

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