How To Train For A Marathon – The Full Breakdown
Marathon training is made up of targeted workouts and runs that help you prepare to run a full marathon. If you have only recently taken to running as a sport or hobby, your personal marathon training plan will look quite different to that of experienced runners. To help you prepare for race day, we’ve answered some of the web’s most searched questions about how to train for a marathon below. So if you’re planning to cross that finish line within your marathon goal time frame, keep scrolling down for our best tips on marathon training.
How long does it take to go from couch to marathon?
Beginner runners often ask “how long do I need to train for a marathon” with the intention to cross the finish line within their goal time frame. The short answer to this is that the amount of training any runner needs is largely based on their personal context. Marathon training aims to increase your endurance levels so you can run at a faster pace for longer times and distances. So, the better you stick to your marathon training plan, the closer you will get to running your first marathon.
A very active individual who has been running for some time will likely be able to cross that marathon distance with relative ease after around 6 months of training. However, beginner runners should take note of their personal fitness levels, current race pace, and the weekly mileage they can cover without getting injured before starting on any marathon training runs. Because while you ideally want to get marathon ready as fast as possible, you should always try to do it in a sustainable and safe way.
Avoid getting burnt out or suffering from sprains by taking it at a pace your body is comfortable with and taking regular rest days. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your exercise until you reach your ideal marathon pace. And if you are completely new to the world of running, make sure to start doing 5 to 10 minute training runs regularly and investing in the best running gear for your needs.
How should a beginner train for a marathon?
There are a number of targeted workouts you can do to prepare for race day. Also, you should be looking after your health by getting enough sleep and nutritious food to help your body build and repair muscle. Aiming to tackle the 5k, 10k, and half marathon runs first are a good way to prepare to run a longer period during your marathon race day. If you are just starting out, check out our guide on how to run a faster 5k too.
Here are a few ideas you can try to start finding out what best helps to increase your personal endurance and fitness level:
Speed workouts are a must for any runner asking “how do I train for a marathon”. You could run kilometre repeats, tempo runs, or 400 or 800 at the marathon pace. No matter which speed workout you do, make sure to always run at a consistent pace.
Weekly long run
Before your start doing speed workouts, it is important to first improve your ability to run long distances at marathon pace. In the weeks leading up to speed workouts, keep extending your long runs to improve your aerobic endurance base. Increase the distance covered by 10-20% every week.
Strength training workouts
Running long distances actually breaks down your muscles and makes you weaker over time, making you more prone to injuries. Strength training includes workouts like barbell and jump squats, plyometric pushups, and box jumps to build up your overall strength.
Cross training is a good way to improve specific muscles that can become weaker when running regularly. Early morning or pre-run yoga, a trip to the gym, and some laps in the pool are easy ways to help your body get stronger and less prone to exercise-related injuries.
Whole foods that are rich in micronutrients and include protein and carbohydrates are marathon runners’ best pals. Carbs will fuel your body to keep you going, while protein helps you feel fuller for longer and builds muscle at the same time. Don’t forget to stay hydrated to keep yourself in peak condition, too.
Our running store online stocks plenty of fantastic marathon nutrition. Electrolyte tablets help your body retain fluids, while our body fuel drinks help improve your collagen and glycogen stores, muscle tone, and electrolyte levels. Our handy running gels are a crowd favourite as they are easy to take along to a marathon, helping to top up your carbohydrate stores to help you cross the finish line. How many gels during a marathon you can take will depend on your needs and the marathon duration. 2 to 3 sachets spaced out over the course of your run is usually enough.
It is important that you take days off between runs and marathon training during the week. This is so your body can repair itself and build your muscles. You will feel much more energised and ready to work towards race day again after a quick hiatus.
Start your marathon training strong
Pure Running is your one-stop-shop for some of the best running gear Australia can offer. With our running accessories, you can run in both comfort and style. We offer quality running accessories and running gear that will complement your fitness journey, from boosting your speed workouts to making race day a breeze. As runners ourselves, we swear by a well-fitting pair of supportive running shoes.
Any experienced runner will tell you that investing in a piece of high quality apparel like running caps can greatly increase your level of comfort during a run, while running nutrition like running gels will give you that extra energy boost towards crossing the finish line. And if you don’t yet own a pair of high quality, supportive running shoes or other running gear, hop over to our online running store to find yourself the perfect marathon training equipment.