I have talked to so many people lately who’s first race was not a 5K or 10K, but a 1/2 marathon or marathon.   Straight to the punch, they went for the longest race – whether it was a dream or a bet or a personal challenge, they went for it and finished.  While that may not be entirely what I recommend, people are doing it and the trend seems to be that it is not going away anytime soon.

If either race is your goal, all I can say is to be careful and slowly build up to it.  There is no sense in rushing to train or finish the race because all that will do is get yourself injured.  Get a plan together and allow for at least 18 weeks for a marathon and 12 weeks for a 1/2 marathon, especially if you have never done one before.   If possible, join a team that is training for the race or at least get a friend or friends with which to run the longer runs.   It is paramount that you do some research before jumping into something you have never done before.

Finally, you are ready – pick a race that is appealing to you.  Do you want a small race?  A race with 20,000 people?  A themed race?  (For kinds of races link here)  Do you want a specific destination, as in a vacation or to visit a friend at the same time?  There is also a price issue- many marathons are quite expensive, and when you add in travel and lodging, the total adds up quickly.  In either case, it will be your first, so it WILL be a PR no matter what when you finish.

Keep in mind that if you want to make this a destination vacation race, that you run the race early in the vacation.  Otherwise you spend the entire time waiting for the race nervously.  Also, you are more tempted to ride that roller coaster or walk 12 miles when you should be resting during the taper week.

If you want my recommendations for 1/2 marathons or marathons, please ask;  If you have run a great one, please share as we all are looking for a great race to run in all the time.

Happy Running

For my free signature Couch to 5K program to be a runner in 9 Weeks, click here



Nickolas Joannidis
Nickolas Joannidis
I have been running for over 35 years, having done practically every possible racing event or distance from the 100 meters through the marathon. I competed in varsity high school cross country and track at Saddle Brook High School in the mid-1980's, varsity cross country and track at Division II Pace University and finished well over 200 road races since then, including 20 marathons with a lifetime best of 3:14:50. I was the president of the Hoffmann LaRoche corporate running team for 7 years, growing the team from 25 to over 90 during his tenure. I coached many of these runners to achieve their goals, whether they were beginners or advanced. In 2011 I was an assistant coach for the Fair Lawn Recreation track team, helping the 10 to 14 year old group. I am currently personally coaching dozens of runners, from beginner levels to advanced levels and getting them to be prepared to meet their goals.

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