How To Train For A Marathon

Running a marathon is an incredible feat no matter who you are. Whether you’re a fitness freak of a couch potato, making it across that finish line will be a part of your memories forever.

Though, for many people, finishing a marathon is no more than an unattainable dream. Jogging along for 42 kilometres (26 miles) is far more than most of us have ever done. The average run is 10k so could you really do over four times that? Well, if you can run 10k then you can run 42k. How? We’ll get on to that later on.

Some of you may be thinking “but I can’t even run 10k!” Have no fear. Reaching 10k is extremely achievable. All it takes is patience and dedication, as with anything. 5k is roughly running for half an hour. So, make that your first goal. Reaching half an hour from never running is actually harder than reaching one hour from half an hour. Once you have the training down you’ll progress faster and faster.

Start by running for two minutes and resting for two minutes. Keep going until you’ve reached 32 minutes. This means you’ll have run for a total of 16 minutes. Do this three times in one week. The following weeks will look like this:

  1. Run 3 minutes, rest 2 minutes (total 30 minutes)
  2. Run 4 minutes, rest 2 minutes (total 30 minutes)
  3. Run 5 minutes, rest 3 minutes (total 32 minutes)
  4. Run 8 minutes, rest 2 minutes (total 30 minutes)
  5. Run 10 minutes, rest 5 minutes (total 30 minutes)
  6. Run 12 minutes, rest 3 minutes (total 30 minutes)
  7. Run 15 minutes, rest 5 minutes (total 40 minutes)
  8. Run 20 minutes, rest 2 minutes, run 10 minutes (total 32 minutes)
  9. Run 25 minutes, rest 2 minutes, run 5 minutes (total 32 minutes)
  10. Run 30 minutes

That’s all it takes! 11 weeks and you’ll be running 5k. You may progress faster which means you can skip some weeks. Once you’ve reached 30 minutes you can keep pushing yourself each run until you reach an hour. One hour is roughly 10k and that’s a quarter of the way there to a marathon!

This is where it gets a little tricky. Now you’re in the groove of running it’ll be far easier and more enjoyable to train. Though, taking yourself from 10k to 42k is no easy task. This is why so few people run a marathon and why it’s so impressive.

It’s important to note now that quality matters more than quantity. Do not rush your training. This can cause an injury which will hinder you far more than you expect. Take your time, practice your technique and trust your training. Patience is key.

From here you simply want to try and increase the distance you run each week. This may only be slight such as half a mile or so, but it should be an increase. If you can’t go any further then aim to run the same amount as you did last time, rest and then try again in a few days. The reason why you won’t be able to run further will be because your body has not had enough time or energy to recover from the last workout. Aim to train four times per week.

Your four sessions should consist of the following sessions

  1. The big continuous run that you are increasing week by week.
  2. A middle distance run such as 10km for time.
  3. A short 20 minute interval session consisting of quick runs no greater than 1km in distance.
  4. Work on your cardiovascular fitness but by doing swimming, cycling, or another activity that doesn’t place as much pressure on the knees and ankles.

These splits work well as you will be working on increasing your overall distance covered, gradually getting closer to the total distance of 26 miles each week. The middle distance run helps you work on your continuous running pace. Doing this distance against the clock will help you improve your overall time. The short interval session will help you increase your running stride and aerobic threshold, allowing you to run faster for longer. Finally switching the activity in your fourth session allows you to work on your aerobic fitness but gives your joints a break from the running movement.

Lastly, make sure your sleeping habits and diet are in good shape. These two things are as important as you’re training so make sure to keep on top of them as much as your running!


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