10 Running Marathon Training Tips
Here are 10 running marathon training tips for first time marathoners, as well as for those runners who have a few races under their feet. Training for a marathon is a serious commitment. It takes effort, persistence, organization and patience. Check out these running marathon training tips when starting your program.
- Start early. Unless you are always in training mode and have run several marathons, you can't train for a marathon in under four months. If possible, start a training program six to eight months before race day.
- Use the pyramid approach when developing your marathon running training program. Towards the beginning, the focus should be on building endurance, not speed. While the distance for the weekly long run should increase every week, and overall weekly mileage will increase, the first weeks of training should be geared towards being able to run longer and longer distances at a slow pace. Towards the middle of your training, you should be focusing on those brisk-paced ten to fourteen mile runs and shorter interval workouts. Especially if you are a first time marathoner, don't worry about your time, worry about being able to run 26.2 miles.
Designate one day a week for long slow distance. No marathon training is complete without the weekly long run. For beginners, this may start out as an eight-mile run, increasing by two miles every week. The goal is to work yourself up to a twenty or twenty-four mile run before doing the actual marathon (although this distance peak should be reached and tapered off well before race day).
- It is okay to walk. Do not be afraid to walk during training, especially on the long runs. Guess what, it is alright to walk during the race. Many people do at some point! Of course, pushing your body is important, but listening to your own personal physical needs is also important.
- Run hills, even if the race is flat. Hill training is hard, and most runners would prefer to avoid the steep inclines, however, the rewards of hardcore hill running during your marathon training are sweet. Choose hilly long runs. Do hill repeats once a week. Embrace the challenge.
- Run races. What, run a race while training? Definitely. Towards the beginning to middle of your program, be sure to fit in at least one 5k race. If possible, do a 10 mile race, and even a half marathon if it will fit into your regiment.
- Cross train. During the entire marathon training spend at least one day a week not running. Swim or bike instead. These cross training activities are perfect for runners as they work different muscles, are still endurance-building, and they give your body a break from the impact of running on the ground. If you start to have problems with knees and ankles, incorporating more swimming and biking in place of running for a couple weeks can get you back on track.
- Make a rest day. Running essentially destroys the body. You need to give it a chance to rebuild. A good day for a rest day is after the very long run or a hard interval workout.
- Eat well. With all this running, you better be eating the right foods. Of course, you can eat more calories while marathon running training, but they have to be quality calories. Get plenty of protein from poultry, fish, beans and nuts. Eat yogurt and drink milk. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Drink plenty of water.
- Taper training. This is perhaps the most important of the 10 running marathon training tips; if you do not slow down, you could jeopardize all of your hard work. Reduce your regiment gradually for three weeks before the race. Get plenty of rest and eat well during the whole program, but especially during the week before the race. Be prudent, realistic and devoted, and your marathon will be successful.