The idea of running a marathon to completion intrigues and motivates many different people. It is quite the accomplishment, no matter if you end up walking across the finish line or sprinting. Your personal objectives and goals will determine how you train, but one thing for sure is it requires some training to finish a marathon. Slightly over 26 miles is not a small goal by any means.
There are three things you must realize from the very beginning. First, you need to train well ahead of time so that a progressive schedule can have you ready for the big event. Second, you’re going to have to run consistently during this training period, building up to the 26 miles. Third, as you’re building up and consistently running, you’re going to have to make sure you take “break days.” You don’t want to run every single day just as you wouldn’t want to work out your muscles as a body builder every single day. Your body needs ample rest.
Depending on how far along you are as a distance runner is going to determine where you begin with your training. This might just be your first marathon, and you might not be used to distance running at all. As a matter of fact, a large percentage of participants in the major marathons each year are first time marathon runners!
For the sake of finding common ground, start training at least three months before the marathon, a 12 week period. If you’re a regular runner, you train somewhat all year round, except maybe you don’t quite press on marathon style. When setting up your marathon training plan, you’re going to want to make sure that you determine where you are that specific point in time.
When it comes to constants, you’re going to be lifting weights, and you’re going to be running five days a week. Give yourself two days of rest for running and three days of rest for the muscle strength conditioning exercises. Follow a progressive program that has you adding distance at the start of each week to your run.
Ideally, when you reach the marker of three weeks before the marathon, you’re going to be taking on 20+ miles for your long run day. Now, before you get any further with this training plan, realize that it takes a time commitment to be able to train like this, especially when you’re running longer distances. And, you’re going to have to do the math to see what amount of distance you need to add to your long run each week to get to your goals. For example, if you started at six miles and you’re trying to get to 20+ miles three weeks before the marathon, you’re going to add approximately a mile and a half each week to your run.
Training for a marathon is no easy work, but it is a lifetime accomplishment that can’t be taken away. Do you have a friend that is wanting to train with you? Assess where you stand with long distance running, and develop your 12 week marathon training plan according to running, nutrition and muscle training exercises. You will do just fine.