You’ve decided to embark on a new adventure – the marathon! So what’s the next step? A bit of planning, preparation, equipment, time, and the desire to work your way up to walking and/or running 26.2 miles.
To train for a marathon you need to dedicate approximately 18 – 22 weeks of training, depending upon your current skill level. Most marathon training plans also require you to have a mileage ‘base’ before starting your marathon training (i.e. previous walk/run experience on a regular basis). Base training prepares you for faster, more intense workouts and longer endurance sessions – the actual marathon training itself in this case. By building a base, you will decrease your chance of injury and will perform better overall.
If you have not been walking/running at all, you will need to add additional time to the 18 – 22 weeks so you can build your mileage base prior to marathon training. An example of base training is using a walk/run method starting with 3 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking for a total of 10 minutes, twice a week for 2 – 3 weeks. This can vary depending upon your physical history and background. If you’ve been a runner in the past, you may be able to start with running for your base training instead of walking and running.
Now it’s time for the marathon training plan! Rather than providing a generic marathon training plan without knowing the skill level of all readers, I decided to search for free marathon training plans online that anyone can use based upon skill level (Free Marathon Training Plans). In the search I did find one plan for beginners that also includes the mileage base for a total of 30 weeks in length (Couch to Marathon). This will take the guesswork out of everything.
Lastly, you will need to have basic running equipment and nutrition essentials to fully appreciate, enjoy and be properly prepared for all of your runs. You can find a checklist in a previous blog post I wrote (The Ultimate Running Kit) including clothing, hydration, fuel and accessories. And if you want to make sure you leave no stone unturned, check out your local running store and speak with the staff about the right shoes to wear.
A marathon is a long-distance running event, so it’s nothing to play around with. You want to be fully prepared both mentally and physically for this new adventure so you can make sure you enjoy the distance!
Heather Binns, Fabletics Master