Ready to Run

 In Culture, Guide

Interested in training for your first half or full marathon but not sure where to start? Make your game plan with these top tips from a local running coach and accomplished marathoner.


Deciding to run your first marathon can be daunting—26.2 miles seems insurmountable at first, especially if you’ve never before considered yourself a runner. Don’t let that stop you; running a half or full marathon can be accomplished if you’ve got the gumption, a solid training program and the right tools. Julie Bokermann, team training coach at Big River Running and a physical therapist at PRORehab, provides simple tips for training and finishing your first big race.

Strength in Numbers
“The very first thing you should do is find a training program or join a running group,” Bokermann recommends. Having others to share in your experience will not only keep you motivated and committed; you can also get guidance from more experienced runners.

Gear Up
“A good pair of shoes is essential,” says Bokermann. Running shoes are the most important piece of equipment you will buy, so don’t skimp (Bokermann’s picks: Nike Lunarglide for training, Brooks Racer ST for racing). A specialty running store can help you find the best shoes for your feet and running style. You’ll also need a digital personal training device (try the Garmin Forerunner) to accurately monitor your pace, speed and distance on your daily runs.

Write it Down
Grab a notebook or use an online diary like You should record everything about your daily performance—food and water intake, supplements or sports drinks, the shoes and clothing you wore, your mental state and stats from your training device. “The more information you record, the more quickly you will identify what works for you.”

Check Yourself
It’s key that you get in tune with yourself. Note what factors from your running diary help you perform better and make them part of your routine. Also be sure to take pain seriously. Bokermann warns against “running through the pain” when you experience anything beyond the usual 24-hour muscle aches—especially if the pain is in your feet, shins or hips.

Be Prepared
As you near the big day, you’re going to get nervous. “It’s really important to do a simulation run, so you’re mentally and physically prepared.” By now, you should have a favorite pair of shoes and running clothes. Stick with what works; wearing new gear on race day leads to blistering and chafing that will hamper your performance.

Make it to the Starting Line on Race Day
Wake up early to eat and give yourself a few hours before the race to let your food digest. Leave your house early to account for traffic and parking issues that commonly surround big races. Finally, Bokermann says to look back through your diary the morning of your race. “When you see the progress you’ve made and how hard you’ve worked, you will know that you really can do it!”

Meet the Coach
Julie Bokermann (MSPT, ATC, CSCS) is a physical therapist and athletic trainer for PRORehab. Bokermann is also a member and coach for the Big River Running Company women’s team and has completed 15 marathons since 2000, including the Chicago, Boston, St. Louis and San Francisco races. She also won the Louisville marathon in 3 hours and eight minutes. She’s currently working on achieving her goal of running a marathon in every state (12 states so far) and is training for her next race on April 25 in Oklahoma City


194_109.jpgReady to run your marathon?



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