A Comprehensive Guide to Marathon Training

Cardio, Marathon Training

Many people consider marathon running as a challenge, and it definitely is! Especially when it comes to marathon training and everything leading up to the final day. It is an effective way to prove that you can run longer distances, which involves testing your limits and pushing your body and mind to the max. There may be various reasons that led to the consideration of marathon running: losing weight, a challenge from a friend, spreading awareness, getting healthier, or more. 

Regardless, it is crucial to stick to it and remind yourself why you first got into it. This will help you be motivated for the months you need to practice. Moreover, this motivation will help you keep going in months of harsh weather or even when your will to run is low. 

We will cover numerous significant points to help you prepare for a marathon.

 

How to Train for a Marathon?

The best part about running is the simplicity of the process. You can start training for a marathon if you have a comfortable pair of shoes. Models like HokaSpeedGoat 4 or Asics GT 1000 are perfect for helping you begin the training process. Not only are they very comfortable and perfect for running, but they are sturdy and will hold up through all the miles you put on them. 

Running has numerous benefits, including burning calories, improving heart health, boosting mood, and more. However, before you start the training practice, you must visit your physician to know your fitness levels. 

Since running requires high levels of physical activity that put additional stress on your body, preparing for it before starting the process is necessary. Also, you must ensure that your joints and body can manage physical stress, especially if you have a history of illness or injury. 

However, once you are good to go, start with the steps mentioned below to prepare for running. 

Walk: You can start by walking since this will help develop stamina and train your body for physical activity. Start walking half an hour to one hour five days a week to bring your body in motion. You can start increasing the speed gradually and move into more of a power walk. 

Run: Once you have prepared your body for physical activity, it is time to add some running. Incorporate 30 minutes of running into your exercise routine. Warm up with a brisk walk for five minutes, continuing with a mix of running and walking. 

Run for one minute and walk for two minutes. Repeat the same routine until your body adapts this. Once you are comfortable with the training, lengthen the duration of running. 

Focus on Time and Speed: When you begin practicing for a marathon, your initial focus should be increasing the running time rather than the distance covered. The primary notion is to keep you moving for longer regardless of speed. Once you have trained your body for extensive running, you can increase your pace and build the mileage you need. 

When training for a marathon, you must consider the four building blocks:

 

What are the Building Blocks of Marathon Training?

Marathon training involves steps that will help you prepare for the race day. There are four building blocks of marathon training. They are as follows:

 

Base Mileage

There are different marathon training plans. Depending on their preferences, people may choose to enroll in a 12 week marathon training plan or a 16 week marathon training plan. However, beginners must focus on building their weekly mileage to approximately 50 miles over the months leading to the final day. 

If you plan to run three to five days a week, you will never be able to train your body for marathons. You can also prepare for a half marathon training plan 16 weeks in advance to participate in the event. Make sure the majority of your runs are stress-free, because you will have to be able to relax and stay focused when the time comes for the real event. 

Start by running at a pace that is enough to carry out a conversation while training. You can practice this by using the treadmill pace to be sure. However, you must remember to increase your weekly mileage to 10% from the previous week.

The Long Run

The next step involves building a weekly long run. You must do this once a week. Extend your long run by one mile or two every week. However, scale it back every three weeks to avoid overtaxing your body and risking injury. 

For example, you can start by running 10 miles one week and then increase it to 11 miles the following week. Furthermore, run 12 miles the third week, but come back to 10 miles on the fourth week before you move to 13 miles on the fifth week. 

Increasing miles at a slower pace will build confidence and allows your body to adjust to extended distances while burning fat. 

Speed Work

Running requires speed. Since it is the most crucial element in marathon training, practicing using treadmill speed with a friend or alone is essential. According to RunRepeat data, the average human running speed is 6.43 minutes per kilometer (males) and 7.26 minutes per kilometer (females). That is why it is crucial to include speedwork to maintain your speed while running a marathon. 

Speedwork involves intervals and tempos to help runners train well. Intervals involve a set of short distances covered multiple times while increasing speed. For example, you run 5×1 miles at three different speeds. You may cover the distance through slow jogging, walking in between, or at a hard pace. 

Tempos are comparatively longer, depending on the places where you train. It teaches your body and brain to bear excessive physical activity for extended periods. It is essential to allow your body to relax and cool before you begin and after you end a speed workout. 

Rest and Recovery

Rest days mean that you do not have to run at all. Let your muscles relax for a day before your resume your routine. The biggest enemy of marathon runners is injury, and the best way to prevent this is to take rest days and allow your body to recover and stay fresh. 

You may cross-train if you wish to remain active on rest days. That could include swimming, weight lifting, hiking, walking, cycling, or other activities that do not stress your body in the same impactful way as running does. 

 

What is the Duration to Train for a Marathon?

Most marathon runners choose a 12 week marathon training plan or a 16 week marathon training plan. Since your marathon training involves exertion, it is crucial to train your mind, heart, and body to tolerate the added pressure. Furthermore, the pace gradually increases, and that is why it is necessary to follow a strict plan and stick to it in order to improve your stamina and fitness. 

Also, the training plan must give you enough time to relax your muscles to repair and recuperate, with rest days in between your training plan. While a 16 week marathon training plan is the most preferred, runners must have an 8 week marathon training plan at the very least to ensure their bodies are prepared

 

Things to Consider When Training for Marathon

When planning your marathons, it is crucial to consider the following factors while training. These variables will affect your marathon training. The elements are as follows: 

  • Fitness Levels: one of the most crucial elements to consider when you plan to train your body for marathons is your overall fitness. If you already follow an exercise regime where you run for a few minutes and walk for the rest of the time, it would be easier to adopt a more strenuous routine for marathon training. However, if you have never been fit or are obese, it is necessary to follow a fitness routine before hand to prepare your body for long runs.  
  • Risk of Injuries: You may get hurt or injured if you have weak muscles and/or your joints cannot bear added pressure. That is why you should consult your doctor before you prepare for marathon training. 

However, this does not mean you cannot participate in the event. You just need time to prepare your muscles and joints to join the race. Even if you are not prone to injuries, over-exercising may lead to severe injuries. Give yourself some weeks to build up your fitness levels if you need to take a break to repair your muscles or make sure your body is recovered after all of the physical exertion. 

  • Lifestyle and Job: if you have a regular work routine that demands you to work from 9-to-5, you can easily fit your marathon training into your daily routine. However, if your work hours are unpredictable or your shifts change week-wise, it would be tough to include a proper fitness regime in your daily routine. In this case, implementing a half marathon training plan for 16 weeks might be a bit more realistic. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure if there is too much uncertainty revolving around your ability to train. 

 

What Does a Standard Marathon Training Plan Include?

Once you have learned the duration that you will train your body for marathons, you will easily create a marathon training plan that best suits your needs. Whether you choose an 8 week plan or a 16 week plan, or even a lengthier training plan, all these plans include the following fundamentals: 

  • You can build your mileage by running shorter distances. 
  • Build a longer run once a week that may be approx. 16 to 20 miles.
  • Combine some activities, such as hill sprints, into your daily routine.
  • Take rest days during your training routine, a break to repair and/or recuperate your muscles when injured. 
  • Combine non-impact exercises such as cycling, swimming, weights, and yoga to keep you active. 
  • Taper yourself in the last three months of the training to help you rest more to prepare your body for the event. 

 

Tips and Tricks to Enhance Endurance

There are numerous ways to prepare your body for a marathon. Experts believe that the following tips have helped multiple runners follow their passion to run and complete marathons. To help you pursue your desire to participate in such an event, we have gathered some tips and tricks that will surely help you build endurance and enhance performance: 

 

  • Eat for Energy

Since running marathons require a healthy mind and body, it is crucial to focus on your diet. Include meals that will boost energy and help you focus on strenuous training. Take a balanced diet with a portion of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods to gain instant power. 

Make sure to take 4 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight, especially when you plan to indulge your muscles for long runs or hard sessions. Also, after your session, drink shakes or eat food with a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins. This will ensure you are giving your body the proper nutrients it needs to recover properly. Training for a marathon will help you lose weight naturally, so you don’t need to worry so much about cutting calories to shred. 

 

  • Monitor Your Health and Energy

When you plan to train your body for a marathon, it does not mean you will isolate yourself from the outer world. You will involve yourself in work, social gatherings, and family life. All these aspects play a crucial role when you choose a training plan. You have to make sure you don’t spread yourself too thin, otherwise it might be difficult to get the support you need from friends and family. Their support and encouragement will help keep you motivated and accountable.  

You must monitor your health and energy, such as your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital to ensure you are fit to train. Insufficient sleep, common colds, or other symptoms may hinder the whole routine. 

 

  • Train Your Gut

Since a marathon involves long-distance running, it is crucial to fuel your body to get the right amount of energy you need to complete the challenge while maintaining pace. Since the final race day will be different from your practice days in many ways, it is crucial to consider specific boosters that will help you prepare. 

Since marathons take such a long time to run, you need to be able to fuel your body during the race. Runners’ energy gel such as GURoctane or other GU energy gels help you get instant energy that will boost your performance. But if you struggle with gels, you may consider other alternatives to help you while running. Many marathon runners just stick to nutrient infused drinks and/or energy bars. 

 

  • Follow Familiar Routines

When preparing for a marathon, following a similar routine is essential to prepare your body for the big day. Include similar activities to keep you motivated for the race day. Moreover, consume the same number of proteins and carbs to ensure your body is ready and steady.  When the race day comes, you should not stray from the routing. Eat the same breakfast you have been eating on your training days. It might also be a good idea to take notes about which meals and foods give you the most energy and led to the training days where you felt and/or performed the best. 

 

  • Supplement Intake

Running marathons takes your body to the next level of endurance. This means that once you have begun running, your body needs enough energy to keep you running to the end. One of the best ways to give your body an instant boost is by taking supplements. 

Endurance supplements, including runners’ gels, give your body what it needs to keep going for longer distances. When you begin focusing on nutrition for endurance, you will be confident that your body has the proper essentials to help you work out for the extended period of the marathon.

 

  • Improve Your Mental Skills

Since the marathon is a long race, it is crucial to train your mind and body so they do not lose focus. The long distance ahead of you may create doubts in your mind, but you also might love the motivation it creates to follow your goals. Therefore, you must practice positive self-talking methods and relaxing exercises to enhance focus and improve your mental skills. Yes, your body is the machine that will carry you through the race, but ultimately it is your mind that controls your body and either allows it to quit or doesn’t. 

 

  • Focus on the Positive

You may not have the best experiences while preparing yourself for a marathon. You may suffer from injuries, exhaustion, and stress due to strenuous exercise routines and extended practice hours. However, the one thing that will keep you going will be your positive attitude. If it starts to get too tough and you find yourself swarmed by negativity, you must focus on the reason that led you to participate in the first place. 

 

How Do Running Shoes Affect Your Running, Stamina, and Speed?

Running shoes play a crucial role in marathon training. A good pair of shoes, like the Brooks Ghost 12, will enhance your endurance and performance. The cushioning inside the shoe is also critical. It provides additional comfort while you train your body for the strenuous race ahead. 

Since running marathons require a lot of stamina, it is crucial to use the best pair of shoes. Running marathons put your feet under tremendous pressure while providing them added support. Beginners often neglect the importance of a good pair of shoes, and many suffer from feet and knee issues after all of the ground impact.  

Recent studies have shown how running shoes affect runners’ performance and speed. Running shoes are light and mimic foot movement, allowing runners to run faster. The reduction in shoe weight helps runners to move their legs more efficiently. 

Although regular shoes protect your feet on rough terrain, running shoes provide your legs with the additional support and safety needed to run on uneven surfaces for long periods. Shoe manufacturers use advanced technology that absorbs shock and offers soft cushioning, allowing runners to run smoothly. The midsoles in running shoes provide good stability that allows runners to balance their bodies, especially if running on rougher terrains. 

People with high or low arches experience trouble running for extended periods. Flat-footed people also face trouble since more of their feet touch the ground, causing a myriad of running problems. One of the biggest problems they face is their ankles and feet roll inwards while they run. 

If you also experience similar running problems, choose the right pair of shoes to help you train for marathons as best as possible. More prominent brands cater to all foot types, making it easier for runners to choose the most comfortable pair of shoes. Don’t cheap out when you are buying shoes to train with, because when it comes to running shoes you definitely get what you pay for. 

 

The Couch to 10k Plan – Getting Very Popular

The couch to 10k plan is a popular training program designed for those who are new to running or returning after a long break. The plan gradually increases running time and distance over a period of 10 weeks, with three workouts per week. It starts with short intervals of walking and jogging, gradually building up to longer periods of running. The plan can be adapted to individual fitness levels and provides a structured approach to training. It is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and boost overall health. With patience and consistency, the couch to 10k plan can help anyone achieve their running goals.

 

The Bottom Line

Running marathons may be a new challenge for you, or possibly a passion that you love to do over and over again. How you run, your pace, and your routine are crucial in training properly for marathons. Whether your plan is to complete a marathon for the sake of the accomplishment, or to jump-start an entirely new healthy lifestyle, knowing what motivates you is crucial in sticking to your training plan. 

We hope that all of this info helps you prepare for the big race and instills some confidence that you can get it done!

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