Running in the Pittsburgh Marathon is no joke. It’s a process!  If you are planning on participating in the Dick’s Sporting goods Pittsburgh Marathon this May, now is a good time to start thinking about how and when you’ll begin your preparation.  For those first time runners, we wanted to give you some guidelines. But trust us, you can do this. Go get ’em!


This step goes without saying, but sometimes we like to state the obvious. If you’re one who doesn’t run on the reg, we suggest starting your training at least three months before the big day. If you’re an avid runner and you’ve been around the block once or twice, about ten weeks should suffice. Running five to six days each week is key. Fitting in a rest day from running and cross training is just as important as building your stamina.

If you’re someone who might need a little extra push, check out Steel City Road Runners Club.  Here you can find all the support you need and more.

Stick to your schedule


While training, you’ll want to break down your week of running to cover the different basics. Pick one “long run” day a week (since the marathon falls on a Sunday, we suggest Sunday Funday is used for your long runs.). You’ll want to use this time to build up your mileage, increasing your distance each time. Next, you’ll have tempo runs. This is when you’ll pick up speed and determine your “race pace,” says local Ironman, Paine Fleisher (who loves to take his training to Schenley Park on the Panther Hallow trail).

Don’t forget about those recovery runs. This should be a comfortable speed which will help your muscles recover. Be sure to alternate between tempo run and recovery run days.  Monday’s could be saved for a rest day, while Tuesdays and Thursdays are tempo runs, and Wednesdays and Fridays are your recovery runs.  Which leaves Saturdays for cross-training.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

General hydration is what makes our world go round, right? So when in training mode, the more water the better.  A gallon a day may seem like a lot but it will do you good! If you’re pee is yellow, drink more. We mean it. You’ll thank yourself.


Pittsburgh Marathon

Some dynamic stretching before a run is okay, it will prepare your body – but make sure it isn’t anything too strenuous! Save that hard word for the actual run, and get a good, deep stretch in after. The last thing you want is a dumb injury after you’ve been training your butt off for 3 months.



Ah yes, carbs. Our favorite…but hold up, carbo-loading while training for a marathon is totally different than carbo-loading when drunk or emotional.  We don’t mean load up on greasy fats (but we wish that would do the trick)! We are talking whole grains, fruits, and veggies.  A 26-mile run is definitely when you want to increase those slow releasing carbs.  If you want to indulge in a nice pasta dinner, that’s okay – just make sure it’s not the night before the big race.  You want to wake up early with a fully digested stomach.



This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
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