How to Prepare for a Marathon – Part 1

In this blog we investigate how to train to run for a full marathon in under six months, this will of course depend on your current fitness levels as trying to go from couch to running a marathon would be really hard. It could also be extremely dangerous for your health if you do not have a basic level of fitness to start with. The main point to remember is not to push your body fast and too hard if your current fitness is poor, it may be an unrealistic expectation to run such a grueling race in such a short space of time. Perhaps a fitness check with a health expert is your first port of call.

Set Goals

Your goals should go hand in hand with your overall strategy, you may be an experienced runner and want to finish high up, on the other hand it may be your fist marathon and you are just happy to complete the course. Depending on your main goal will determine how much running and training you will have to do, you will also need to schedule the appropriate amount of time into your other commitments.

Plan Your Running Days

There is no way around this, if you are planning to run a marathon then you will have to undertake plenty of hours pounding the streets. Most training schedules allocate four to six days a week to run, but for a novice this is more realistic to be done at a leisurely pace about four times each week. As a starter, you can put elongated walks into your longer runs, just to get used to being on your feet for a long time. As you progress or for intermediate runners then five days planning for running is advised. One of these days you should integrate some speed drills so that your body knows how to react when you may have to kick-on.

How to Begin

Perhaps work with an experienced marathon runner how to start planning your training schedule. It is impossible to estimate how many minutes or miles you should begin with as this largely depends on your levels of fitness. The thing to remember is that you can start fairly slow but this must be gradually being built up to significant levels.  Save your midweek runs for shorter distances, and then plan to integrate a longer distance at the weekend. If you increase your efforts by roughly 10% per week then you will expand the number of miles your run gradually up to the required levels.

In most plans every three or so weeks it allows for a reduction in mileage, this is so your body has a chance to take a rest and recover. This is quite critical as your muscles will be getting overworked and tired, you can supplement your running with perhaps some leisurely swimming or cycling, anything that may take the weight of the joints. So far, we have concentrated on the planning side of things for your preparation in training for a marathon, our next blog takes us to the next stage of actually how you go about implementing your strategy into actual running.