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(or any race really!)

We’re coming up to the start of marathon season and there will be lots of people training to join the 1% club. There is a ridiculous amount of advice available online these days and, in my early running days, I found it really confusing. So here’s what not to do when training for a marathon.

What NOT To Do When Training For A Marathon - man saying What?!

I’m not an expert, I’ve been running for nearly 5 years and have completed 2 marathons, 8 half marathons, a 19.5 mile trail race and a bunch of 10Ks and 5Ks but these all took a looooooooooooooooooooooooooot of training so I’ve paid my newbie dues. I’ve also been injured a few times and been given amazing advice my physiotherapists which have helped me to get stronger and injured less. I’m also a Sports Massage Practitioner and this knowledge has helped my training considerably as well.


  • Wear the wrong footwear – there are plenty of sport shops that can help you choose the right pair of trainers. Wearing old or incorrect trainers can cause discomfort and also injury.

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  • Ignore pain – get yourself checked out if you’re feeling any pain/discomfort especially if this is happening regularly. It’s better to get it sorted early than to push through and risk a worse injury.

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  • Follow an unrealistic training plan – because life happens, people! Your training plan should be adaptable otherwise you’ll end up putting extra pressure on yourself and that’s just not fun for you or your loved ones.

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  • Start a race/run too fast – give your body chance to warm up and settle into your pace. Ignore what everyone else is doing and concentrate on yourself.

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  • Run too hard on ‘easy’ days – I know what it’s like, you’re feeling great and you just want to go for it. However, your body needs these days to help recover and prevent injuries from popping up.

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Also, Do NOT…

  • Get obsessed with your pace – it’s good to be able to analyse your training and see what you need to focus on but try not to become addicted to the data. I know it’s easier said than done. I’m also cringing as I say this next bit as I’ve never been able to do it but… maybe leave your (insert name of your running gadget here) at home for your easy runs.

Man in front of mind map board with crazy look in his eyes

  • Compare yourself to other runners – this can be hard to avoid especially when you have apps like Strava and RunKeeper. I have made all my activity private on Strava and don’t follow many people anymore. I found this helps me to focus on just myself and what I’m capable of.

Quote - comparison is the thief of joy

  • Expect a PB at every race – it’s great to set a goal but sometimes you just won’t hit it and that’s ok.

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  • Put off the recovery meal – why would you skip a chance to eat?! Seriously though, you need to be eating a healthy balanced diet which compliments your training. Food is fuel. You wouldn’t expect your car to work without petrol in it!

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  • Put off rest days – you need at least one day off per week. Also do easy runs after long runs (see point 5) and get a good nights sleep.

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  • Book a sports massage! Oh come on, you knew I was going to slip that in somewhere! Seriously though, it’s a good idea to incorporate massage into your training plan. A regular sports massage helps to prevent injuries and overuse of muscles. Massage isn’t a luxury, it’s an investment.

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So now you know what not to do when training for a marathon. I hope you enjoy the journey and remember that it’ll all be worth it on race day!

(Featured image by NeONBRAND on Unsplash)

What not to do when training for a marathon