A Beginner’s Guide to Marathon Training

Image: Robin Reichert

A marathon constitutes a long distance running event, which covers an average distance of 26 miles and 385 yards on an open road. Marathons have become an extremely popular form of sport for racing as well as fundraising or raising awareness for important issues. Some of the most well-known marathons include the Jungfrau Marathon, NYC Marathon, Patagonian International Marathon, Boston Marathon, and Niagara Falls International Marathon.

Many people look forward to participating in their first marathon, but there is a lot of training required to become a marathon runner. Lack of proper training can cause cardiac arrests, injuries, and other serious health problems during a marathon race. Marathon training has to be a dedicated routine, but where does a person begin? Read on to learn how to start training for a marathon.

Beginner’s Tips

Before you jump into a serious and intense routine, start with some small steps to increase your endurance. It is wise to begin your training routine at least one year before you plan to participate in the marathon.

  1. Start training at least five to six months before a marathon, if you are already a regular runner. If not, it may take at least two or three years before one can get marathon ready.
  2. Consult a physician to know if you are capable enough to run the long marathon distance. Most importantly, if you are fit enough to sustain the rigorous marathon training.
  3. Make sure to get advice from a professional while training for marathons. Do not train against expert advice.
  4. Increase your daily running miles on a regular basis. Hal Higdon (halhigdon.com) gives great advice on how to train safely for a marathon, whether it’s your 1st or 15th marathon, and Hal Higdon’s training programs are top-notch as well. The key is to take it slow, train smart and listen to your body. If you feel uncomfortable, stop increasing distance until you feel ready to move forward. Consult your trainer and then take necessary steps.
  5. Make sure you eat well and eat healthy as per the instructions of your doctor and trainer.

The Difference between Marathon Training and Normal Workouts

Marathon training is different from a regular running routine. The body needs to be prepared well in advance to make sure the final marathon run can happen without any mishaps. It is your responsibility to get your body used to running long distances over a period of time. Marathon running is a matter of patience, dedication and training combined together. Listening to your doctors and trainers is of utmost priority while training for a marathon. Training will also help you figure out your weaknesses and allow you to work on them.

Nothing is too difficult if one puts their mind to it, and marathon running is no exception. But, of course, the proper procedure of training must be followed for best results. Also, if one is advised against marathon running, he or she should not be disheartened but ask for ways to remedy the problem and patiently do so. The key is to have patience and enjoy the journey along the way.

On a personal note…I ran my first full marathon, at age 44, in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2014 and it was a life-changing experience that I will never forget. Running your first marathon will make you realize that you CAN accomplish anything you set your mind to, but it takes hard work, dedication, perseverance, and facing your fears.