I don’t currently have any plans to run a marathon. The idea of running for miles and miles just doesn’t sound like a good time to me and neither does the training. I think it would be an INCREDIBLE accomplishment though. I’m not knocking the distance runners or those aspiring to be distance runners. In fact, I admire them and I wanted to include this guest post submission for those who may be thinking about training for longer distances.
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The training plans you choose for marathon running will vary depending on whether you’re already a runner or not and if you are a runner, you’ll also need to take into account the distance in which you usually run.
If you’re new to running, a great way to get yourself in shape is by first training for and entering smaller races. You can begin with 5k’s and then work up to 7k’s, 10k’s, half marathons and then you’ll be better prepared for a full marathon.
You should first build up your ability to run by incorporating small runs into your workout routine. Start with either 10 minutes or one mile of running. Once you have built up some endurance, you can follow the plan for casual runners.
If you’ve already entered some smaller races, you know what to expect. The key for marathon running is building up endurance and it does take time.
You’ll need to complete one long run per week during your training program, gradually building up the mileage. Give yourself approximately four months to train, and work your way from eight miles for your long run to 20 miles.
Seasoned marathoners often run long distances on a regular basis, and are familiar with training for a marathon. If you’re looking to improve your race time, you need to work on speed training.
One day per week, work on your speed by setting a goal pace and completing your run at that pace. This is generally not your long run, as your long run should just be used to practice endurance. If you do decide to run your goal pace during your long run, save it for the last few miles.
Fueling Your Body While Training
Many people believe that they should focus on consuming carbohydrates while training for a marathon. However, it’s important to eat a variety of foods.
Incorporate plenty of high-fiber foods in your day, including fresh fruit and vegetables. When you do eat carbohydrates, stick with whole grains and pair your carbs with a lean protein. This will give you prolonged energy and keep your body running smoothly.
Hydration is essential while training for a marathon. Dehydration can make you ill while running, and has even been fatal for some marathoners. Take plenty of water or sports drinks along with you on training runs, and make a point to stop at every station that provides water or other beverages when you’re running a marathon.
Coping with Injuries
You may sustain an injury while training for a marathon, or you may get injured in your everyday life and wonder if you’ll be able to complete the race. Some injuries are serious enough to put your marathon training plans on hold, but not all injuries mean you’ll be left sitting the race out.
To determine whether your injury requires you to stop training, you should consult a medical professional. You may be able to continue cross training to maintain your fitness level while your injury heals. Some common aerobic exercises that may be completed despite a running injury include cycling and swimming.