How to Train for a Marathon
For many people it is a lifelong dream to finish a marathon. They may have been inspired by watching friends or family – or might just want to feel that intense sense of achievement that is experienced after completing the 26.2-mile race.
The appeal of achievement
Different people will have different reasons for wanting to finish a marathon but a lot of the time it will just come down to being able to say that you did it – especially if it is your first event. Proving to yourself that you were able to complete one of the hardest endurance races in the world of sport is always going to make you feel good about yourself.
It may take immense bravery to sign up for a marathon but it takes a dedicated training regime to be able to go through with it. Whether you have competed in marathons for years – or you are a complete novice – you will still need to put the hours in and follow a plan if you are going to be successful.
If you are raising money for a good cause, the need to be able to complete what you have set out to do will be even stronger as you will be running not just for yourself but for the people you hoping to help.
Whatever the reason you decide to run, here are five marathon training tips to ensure that you end up with the medal around your neck.
Stick to the plan
You will discover that there are various ideas about how long you should train before a marathon. In some respects it depends on how much you run in the first place (and don’t worry, you can absolutely run a marathon even if you have never run before in your life). Ideally you want to start at least 16 weeks before the big day – and whatever you do, make sure you keep at it and follow your regime.
You cannot expect to be able to run marathon style distances straight away – and nor should you. You need to be running regularly throughout the months leading up to a marathon but it is a good idea to increase the distances that you are running as you progress. Not only will this increase your stamina needed, but it also means that you know that you can make the distance as you have worked up to it over time. There are also many fitness workouts that can help you increase your endurance on top of just running.
Get the gear
There are always some very memorable sights when it comes to marathons. In many of the biggest city events you will see fancy dress outfits alongside the usual sporting gear. To make sure you can produce your best performance on the day you should make sure that you are kitted out in the right way. Wear what feels right for you but also think about support gear. Compression socks for women and men are very common – they can help circulation and avoid muscle fatigue and come in all sizes.
Go the distance
A mainstay of marathon train is ‘the long run’. This is exactly what the name suggests – a run over longer distance that you need to be doing every week of training. Shorter runs are needed as well but to get your body ready for the marathon you should ideally be including a longer effort. You should also try to increase the miles of this longer run as your training progresses.
Get a friend
Even the most committed wannabe marathon runner can feel like giving up somewhere along the way. To make sure you don’t turn into one of those people who never end up completing a marathon you should find a training partner. They don’t even have to be running the marathon with you – as long as they keep with you through training you are more likely to push yourself and not give up. You could find that they even just offer support and words of wisdom when you feel like quitting. However they help, you will achieve more with a little bit of back up.
Eyes on the prize
Training will be tough – but that may be the easy bit compared to the marathon itself. However, if you follow a good training plan and think carefully about how you are going to complete the 26.2 miles the sense of achievement will be overwhelming. You’ll have a successful race day and you may even feel like signing up for another one as soon as you finish!