The daunting challenge in covering 26.2 miles may seem like you need a lot of things to get started. Actually, marathon training is one of the simplest and purest sports out there. You don't need to complicate your training with a lot of unnecessary things. To get started in a marathon training program, you really only need these items.
- Running shoes - do you have a comfortable, broken-in pair of running shoes? If not, buy a comfortable pair (given many, many options - figuring out your best running shoe is outside the scope of this article) and begin breaking them in now. If you don't know what to buy, go to a running-specific store and have a salesperson help you. Most big box department stores are clueless on what type of shoe is appropriate for you.
- Training clothes - you don't need anything fancy for training, but they should be temperature appropriate for the climate you're running in. Also, wear training clothes that minimize chafing.
- Race clothes - you'll need race appropriate clothes that you've done at least one long training run in. Wicking socks are great to minimize blisters!
That's really all you need to get started. Some nice additions are:
- Wrist watch - most anything will do, but one with a digital reading is probably easiest. It's not completely necessary, but a wrist watch will be very helpful for training.
- GPS watch - great for determining distance and pacing, plus some will help save training run history
- Anti-Chafing - as you put on the miles in training, certain areas of the body are prone to chafe.
Marathon Training Gear
You'll also want to consider basic outdoor items like wearing sun screen and a hat or cap, if you'll be training outdoors in the sun.
Drinking while you're training is a good idea. Drink water during shorter runs, and either water or sports drink during longer runs. Full calorie sports drink is a good idea in longer runs as it provides electrolytes plus carb replishment, which will help you avoid bonking. (see Recover from Hitting the Wall)