5 Reasons Why First-Time Marathon Runners Struggle with Training

Overcoming Obstacles to Run a Marathon: What’s Holding You Back?

Running a marathon is a significant challenge that requires a lot of commitment. It’s not an easy task to wake up early for those long runs, let alone to conquer the 26.2 miles on race day. Often, people fantasize about running a marathon for years, but they never take the plunge. The decision to run a marathon is sometimes hindered by several barriers, some of which include the distance, lack of time, the fear of injury, and the misconception that marathons are only for elite runners.

Let’s explore these barriers and how to overcome them.

1. The Distance is Intimidating

The distance is perhaps the biggest deterrent that prevents people from running a marathon. The thought of trying to run 26.2 miles can be daunting, especially for someone who has never run a long-distance race before. However, if you have conquered shorter distance races such as 5K or half-marathon, you should not let the distance intimidate you.

To overcome the fear of distance, it’s essential to believe in yourself and your prior accomplishments. You can do this by identifying the things that helped you succeed in past races, such as having a supportive running buddy, listening to upbeat music, or running on scenic trails. When you enjoy the running experience, the longer distances will be less daunting.

2. There’s No Time

Time is a significant barrier that keeps people from running a marathon. When work, family, and other commitments take up most of your day, finding time to train can seem impossible. However, if running a marathon is something that you genuinely want to accomplish, you can create time for it.

To overcome this barrier, you need to change your mindset regarding running. Make running a priority and find creative ways to fit it into your schedule. You can try running with a friend instead of going out for a night, dedicate your lunch break to exercise, wake up earlier for morning runs, or hit the gym on your way home from work. Remember, you don’t need to overhaul your entire schedule to fit in marathon training; you need to make running a priority.

3. Injury Is a Possibility

The fear of injury is a significant obstacle for many people who want to run a marathon. No runner wants to be sidelined by a sore ankle or pulled muscle, but the risk of injury is not a good reason to dismiss the possibility of running a marathon.

To overcome this barrier, you need to focus on minimizing the risk of injury. Educate yourself on the common injuries that runners experience and learn the proper treatment options such as icing, stretching exercises, and rest. Incorporate strength training into your workouts to build muscle and correct your form. Finally, listen to your body and take time to recover from long runs.

4. Marathons are Only for Serious Runners

Many people believe that running a marathon is only for elite runners. They think that if they are not fast or have a certain body type, they can’t run a marathon. The truth is that anyone can complete a marathon with the proper training and preparation.

To overcome this barrier, you need to shift your thinking about what it means to be a runner. Being a runner is not about being the fastest or having a particular body type; it’s about commitment and perseverance. Everyone has their own pace and running style, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to running. With consistent training, anyone can develop the endurance and strength required to run a marathon.


Running a marathon requires commitment, perseverance, and hard work. The thought of trying to run 26.2 miles can be daunting, but it’s essential to remember that it’s okay to feel scared. By breaking down the barriers that are holding you back, you can achieve your goal of running a marathon. Overcome the fear of distance, make time for running, focus on minimizing the risk of injury, and shift your thinking about what it means to be a runner. With the right mindset and proper training, you can cross the finish line and accomplish your goal of running a marathon.