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How to Train for a Marathon

How to Train for a Marathon

Running a marathon is not only a great way to stay fit, but it is also an exciting and enjoyable sport. And for first-timers, knowing how to train for a marathon for beginners is very important.

This is because unlike jogging, or running in track and field events, running a marathon requires more than just speed. Marathon running requires endurance, as well as the ability to maintain your pace for long distances.

And in order to develop these skills, you need a proper training regimen. Here are some of the things that you need to know.

How to Train for a Marathon for Beginners

The key to running a marathon successfully is being prepared. By following these tips on how to train for a marathon for beginners, you should be able to finish your first marathon without any trouble!

Be sure to have the right gear

Running shoes. First off, you need to have proper running shoes if you want to start a marathon. This is because you will be running for quite a long time, and you need footwear that keeps you comfortable and which are also durable.

If you are just starting out, there is no need to buy expensive footwear. Most running shoes these days are relatively affordable and can provide you with proper support and protection to prevent injury. Choose shoes that provide comfort and good support to prevent injuries in the long haul.

Socks. You would also need to wear good socks when you want to run a marathon. They do not need to be expensive, but they should have enough padding, and they should feel comfortable on your feet without causing any chafing or discomfort.

Socks should fit snugly on your feet, and there should be no excess material since these can cause blisters.

Athletic wear. As for your clothing, anything that is comfortable and breathable would be fine. Women should wear sports bras or any type of chest support that makes them feel comfortable when running.

Some runners also wear tights to help prevent injury, as well as to feel comfortable especially when running in cold weather.

Do Warm Up Exercises Really Prevent Injury?

Don’t forget to stretch

One of the most important things you need to remember about how to train for a marathon for beginners is that you need to stretch and warm-up before every run. This helps prevent injury and gets your heart rate up to get your body ready for physical activity.

You should warm-up and do stretches for at least five to 10 minutes before running to help get your body ready. Jogging for a bit can also help with warming up.

Create a training regimen

They key to running your first marathon successfully is consistency. And to be consistent, you need to create a training regimen.

Week 1

Ideally, you should be running for at least 3 days a week. This helps you get enough rest for your body to recover before you can start training again.

Start slow at first, such as jogging or walking for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and at a reasonable pace for your first week. There is no need for you to run fast or run longer since you want to gradually build up your ability to run long distances.

Week 2

For your second week of training, you can try running or jogging for 15-20 minutes but this time you need to pick up your pace a bit. Your goal here is to be able to jog continuously without stopping, or without slowing down to walk.

Week 3

For your third week, you can slowly increase your run time to about 30 minutes, while still trying to maintain your pace. As with the second week, your goal is to jog continuously, and for a much longer span of time. This helps build your endurance.

Week 4

On your fourth week, you can try picking up your pace some more while still running for about 30 minutes at a time. You should now be more comfortable with running for longer periods, and you should be able to maintain your pace easily.

Succeeding Weeks

From there, you can build up to running half a marathon once a week, and then move up to a full marathon to get a feel for the real thing. Ideally, you should also add some circuit training and cross-training in between your runs to help strengthen your body.

Eat the right food

Next, you need to eat the right food when you want to run a marathon. Running takes a lot of energy, so you will need to provide your body with the right type of fuel so you can push on.

Energy gels or chews can give you energy while you are running, and they are also convenient to eat. Eating carbohydrates the night before your race can also help give your body some fuel come race day.

As always, it is important to eat a balanced diet to help provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals.

Stay hydrated

During your race, it is important for you to stay hydrated. You can drink either water or sports drinks, but try to avoid drinks with added sugar or energy drinks.

You can carry your own water bottle, or use a hydration pack that makes it convenient to drink while running. It would also be a good idea to try a few trial runs with your water bottle or hydration pack to get used to it before race day.

Stay safe

Lastly, it is important to stay safe while running in order to avoid any injuries. Do not push yourself too hard, especially since this can cause you to suffer a serious injury.

If you suffer a sprain or a bad fall, do not force yourself to finish the race, as this may lead to permanent injury. Remember to pace yourself, and get enough rest before race day to help your body recover from your training.

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Sources

Boston Marathon Training Tips – Mass General Boston Marathon Team, https://giving.massgeneral.org/boston-marathon-old/boston-marathon-training-tips/, Accessed July 20 2020

The Less-Is-More Marathon Plan, https://marathon.harvard.edu/articles/The_Less-Is-More_Marathon_Plan.pdf, Accessed July 20 2020

First Marathon Training Program , http://www.wu.ece.ufl.edu/marathon%20training-first%20marathon.pdf, Accessed July 20 2020

Full Marathon Beginner Training, https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/assets/Auckland-Marathon/Full-marathon-beginner-training-guide.pdf, Accessed July 20 2020

Half Marathon Beginner Training, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/sites/default/files/halfmarathon-training-plan-beginner.pdf, Accessed July 20 2020

How to Train for a Marathon | REI Co-op, https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/training-for-your-first-marathon.html, Accessed July 20 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jun 14
Medically reviewed by Mike-Kenneth Go Doratan, M.D.
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