How to Prepare for a Marathon

Dr. Andy Baldwin is dedicated to fitness. When he’s not working as the Senior Medical Officer on the Amphibious Assault Ship, USS Makin Island, he is running marathons across the nation–from the NYC Marathon to the Ironman-eight times.

In 1995, he was honored as ESPN’s National Scholar Athlete of the Year, has assisted the former U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy-Youth-for-a-Healthy-Future program, is an advocate for First Lady Michelle Obama’s  Let’s Move Campaign, and serves as Ambassador for ING Run-for-Something-Better program, targeting childhood obesity and ReFuel with Chocolate Milk campaign.

And yes, he was also Season 10′s Bachelor–he proposed to Tessa, but the two broke up 8 months later.

So, when it comes to getting the scoop on how to get ready for your first half-marathon, Dr. Andy is the go-to guy for tips.

How to Prepare for a Marathon: a guide for your premiere 13 mile run.

1. Get a training buddy. It helps to keep you accountable, it’s more fun, and it encourages commitment.

2. Buy yourself a GPS watch (Dr.Baldwin suggests Garmin). It measures your distance which will be very important for #3.

3. Start running three times per week, making your longest runs on the weekend.  Working up to 12 miles by two weeks out from the race itself. Baldwin suggests starting with 5 miles the first week, 7, the next, 9 the next , then 10, 11, and finally 12 miles.

4. Runs during the week should be a 1/3 the distance of the weekend run.

5. On off-days, Baldwins says to either cross-train, bike, swim, do yoga, pilates, or have a massage.

6. Two days per week should be rest days, and he reminds always try to run in places you really enjoy.

7. Before long runs remember to warm-up, stretch, or do some jumping jacks. Stay hydrated, using a GU energy gel or drink liquids with electrolytes like Gatorade. Your long weekend runs are the real practice for your half.

8. All the extra running isn’t an excuse for unhealthy nutrition. Indulge in “smart carbs” like brown rice and whole grains, eat lean protein, and lots of fruits and veggies.

9. Beat boredomHere’s when you really get to use all those boredom-battling tricks you tried out during your long runs. Do whatever it takes to keep your mind occupied: Sing songs, play mental games, count people, talk to other runners.

10. Add a charitable component. As the founder of the Got Your Back Network, a 501(c)(3) foundation that provides an avenue for the children of fallen soldiers to learn and be inspired by the most successful leaders in the US, and the author of the book, Running With Kenyans, which offers proceeds to help raise money for a health clinic where Baldwin worked in rural Africa, Baldwin is an advocate for you half marathon being tied for a charity. He insists (and we at Knoworthy agree), if you’re going through all the work of preparing yourself physically, let someone in need benefit and you’ll feel like you won even if you’ve had to crawl across the finish line.

Bonus: Baldwin says,”Don’t worry about the time. Have fun. It’s about the journey. Even if you’re walking, you’ve accomplished so much.”