How to Train for your First Marathon

Just recently (June 4, 2017) I completed my first marathon! I’m here to share my experiences with you so that you can have the best shot at finishing your first marathon!

Finishing the marathon really isn’t hard. If you train properly, it’s going to be the easiest part of your entire program. Here’s what you need to know to make this one of the best experiences of your life.




The program that I suggest is the Hal Higdon beginner’s program. Don’t wait until a couple of months before a marathon, with minimal running experience, and decide that you want to run. The more practice you have running, the easier it will be to complete the 26.2 miles.

My specific training program was for advanced athletes, which is not something I would ever suggest to someone with no running experience. It was an 18 week prep where you run 5x per week at varying intensities and distances. For this one, we were scheduled to run three 20 milers, although I only ran it once due to some injuries & health issues later on in the program.


Below is a printable checklist of everything you’ll need for your marathon prep. Not all of these things are necessary, but most of these things will come in handy and make your training much easier, especially in preventing injuries in the long run.

  • Text Hover

Your nutrition is what fuels your body. If you’re lacking proper nutrition, you’re going to be inefficient in your runs and struggle with progress and recovery.

A healthy balance of carbs, fats, and protein is important during distance running and this isn’t the time to restrict any food groups from your diet because your body heavily relies on these sources with such a large energy expenditure.

If you want a personalized meal plan & macros for marathon training, sign up here.


Incorporating some sort of resistance or strength training into your programs will help to build a stronger body for your runs. When you’re running, your body not only burns fat, but also muscle. By incorporating other styles of training, you are also encouraging muscle sustainability or even growth during your marathon training.

Check out this crossfit-inspired workout of the day for distance runners.


  Recovery means that you’re giving your body enough time to build back up after its been broken down. Literally, when you’re working out or running, your muscles are being broken down. If you don’t give your body enough time to repair, you’re going to experience inefficient training sessions, compensations, and eventually injury.

Some of the best things to do to recover is have a post-workout meal or shake, drink water, get 7-9 hours of sleep, and make sure to progress properly in your training (don’t do more than your coach or program tells you to).



Lexes O'Hara

Lexes O'Hara is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. Her work philosophy is to teach her clients to, "train, eat, and live like a bad ass." Certifications include NASM CPT and FNS.