Running a marathon: here’s something that crossed a lot of minds at least one time. But taking on the 26-mile race isn’t just a case of showing up at the starting line in your most durable trainers. It takes preparation, stamina and plenty of willpower. It takes training.
That’s what we’re here for. With our training pointers and tips, we’ll put you well on your way to race day victory. Ready when you are…
Though some believe that you should take a whole year to prepare for a marathon, that’s not the most attainable goal for all. Much more realistically, Runner’s World recommends beginning 16-20 weeks in advance (three to four months), running three to five times a week. This will give you ample time to get your body and mind prepared, without rushing the process.
Your key focus should be on how far you can run – not on how fast you can go. Running 26 miles is no piece of cake and you don’t want to risk straining your muscles or injuring yourself because your body’s not prepared to go the distance.
With that in mind, we’d recommend swapping between three styles of run each week, building on your body’s stamina, endurance and ability to smash out lengthier runs in tandem:
Sporting goods company REI suggests a good way to go about it. Increase the length of your run over three weeks, then scale it back before going any further. For instance, run 12 miles one weekend, followed by 13 the weekend after that, then 14, then back to 12 before attempting 15 miles on the fifth week. By doing this, you’ll avoid overworking your muscles as you increase your endurance on-track. Continue this pattern until you’re comfortable with traveling 20 or so miles and the marathon will be a breeze.
In the ‘run-up’ to a marathon, make sure you rest. Your muscles must relax after intense workouts if you’re to avoid injury – and, speaking of, use a foam roller before and after sessions, too. These correct muscle imbalances and will help you to avoid accidents and injuries later down the line.
You might also want to tweak your diet to fit your training. Runner’s World suggests that you stock up on high-carb, low-fibre meals three to four hours before running and take energy bars or fruit with you, supporting your energy levels on-track.
Learned something from our marathon training tips? Then you’ll want to check out our blog – it’s crammed with great advice!