Sports & Gaming

Case Study: Your First Marathon

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Lesson time 10:28 min

In this lesson, Joan gives guidance on implementing a three-month training schedule to prepare for your first marathon while demystifying race day, from when to check in to where to stand in the pack.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Three Months Out - Tapering and Final Preparations - Eating for the Race - The Starting Line - The Race


[MUSIC PLAYING] - But if you're a first-time marathoner, your goal should be to complete the 26.2 mile. Time is not a factor for you. It's just completing the distance and going the distance and getting that medal around your neck at the finish line. And I think that's goal enough. And some of you may be run-walking the marathon. Some of you may be wanting to run the entire distance. And that's up to you as a first-time marathoner. I'm assuming you as a first-time marathoner have put in some miles to get you to the starting line. So I'm hoping that you've run at least 15 miles in training. A lot of people say 17 miles is the distance you need to have in your bank account in order to really feel good about getting to the starting line. And it's funny that a lot of people say it's a 17-mile run that'll nail the marathon distance for you. And that's the distance in the marathon that I want to be feeling good at is the 17-point mile mark. So it's interesting how that works out. But you don't want to head to a starting line in a marathon as a first-time marathoner not looking for a positive experience. You want to feel good about what you have done to prepare for the marathon. And that's going to help you both mentally and physically to complete your goal of 26.2 miles. [MUSIC PLAYING] When it comes to preparing for a marathon, I look at the target date of the marathon, the day on which the marathon is going to occur, and then I count backwards for three months. And that's when I really start my marathon training in earnest. At that point, I hit three important workouts each and every week-- a long 20-mile run, an intermediate run which is anything between 12 and 15 miles, and then I do some sort of a speed workout or an interval workout or maybe even a race. So during the height of my career, I was running around 100 miles a week, anywhere between 90 and maybe a little over 100 but not well over 100. And a lot of elite marathon runners today run upwards of 100 miles. But for me, I never wanted to leave my race on the roads. I wanted to save it for the actual race. And so 100 miles was pretty much the max I would run per week. And I filled in the workouts outside the speed work, the medium-long run, and the long run with miles between 10K and-- and 10 miles. And I tried to stay away from what I call garbage miles just to up my mileage for that particular week because I just felt they wore me down and might lead me to leaving my race on the roads. Now, for first-time marathoners, instead of having time goals, their big pie-in-the-sky goal might be to just get from the starting line to the finish line, and that's all their initial goal should be. You just want to feel good and positive about your training that gives you the go-ahead to get to the starting line. Because you want to make the first marathon a positive experience if you're going to stay in this sport for a period of time. [MUSIC PLAYING] ...

About the Instructor

Winner of the very first women’s Olympic marathon, Joan Benoit Samuelson has spent her life breaking records and paving the way for female runners around the world. Now she’s teaching her personal philosophy and approach to running. Whether you’re an experienced runner or have been thinking about getting started, you’ll learn how to get motivated, set goals, and achieve victory in running and in life.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Long-distance legend Joan Benoit Samuelson teaches her personal approach to running so you can go further in running and in life.

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