If you love to run, you are probably accustomed to doing it wherever and whenever takes your fancy. One of the greatest things about running is its sheer accessibility.
Marathons however, are a different challenge altogether. They take time to prepare for, a certain level of fitness to complete and more than a little mental strength to endure.
The power of preparation
Are you an avid runner who wants to give marathon running a try? On the other hand, you might be a seasoned marathon pro who wants some extra tips on how to train?
Whoever you are, marathons are a challenge, and you need to prepare, learn and train in order to conquer them.
Is it an easy path to marathon glory? Not always…
Is it worth it? Oh yes…There’s no feeling in the world like passing the finishing line.
But hold on; let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with a look at marathons and consider a few top tips for taming the beast.
Top Hussle Tips for Marathon Training
We’ve put together our best tips for marathon training, to give you the best possible foundation for preparation and performance when the big day lands.
How long is a Marathon?
Ever since 1908 the standard length of a full marathon is 42 km (or 26.2 miles.) These will be the ones you see on TV, beamed live from cities all over the world.
They attract the world’s elite distance runners, but also an amazing and inspiring mix of other people.
Those running to raise money for charities, those overcoming illness and personal goals and those simply looking to test themselves on the big stage all come together on the day.
If that sounds special, it really is! A marathon is not easy but it is also a celebration of overcoming one of the biggest challenges in running.
There are other flavours of marathon too; some are shorter such as half-marathons (13.1 miles) and some even longer such as ultra-marathons (anything over full-marathon distance.)
On average how long does it take to train for a Marathon?
If you decide to take on a marathon, it is important to plan ahead, well ahead in-fact.
A training schedule should be drawn up around 20 weeks before the event itself. This will give you the time you need to prepare for the race, avoid injury and arrive on the day feeling confident.
A well planned schedule should be ready 4-5 months or around 16-20 weeks in advance. It should aim to steadily increase distances for your long runs and taper them off in the final stages before race day.
Training plans should also encourage good hydration and snacking to keep energy levels up during long runs. This time will also allow you to decide on good shoes, socks and other running equipment to avoid chafing, blistering and to feel comfortable as well as confident on marathon day.
Running alone or running with others?
On your morning run, you might not see another soul. Marathons are completely different…
The London Marathon for example, regularly attracts around 80,000 participants. That might sound intimidating but in reality it can be life-changing.
The reason is that everyone is in it together. You will start to see familiar faces; you’ll see the signs when someone is finding things hard. You’ll give encouragement and take strength from people you might never have met.
In a way a marathon is the ultimate form of group running. Therefore group running should be an essential component of your preparation. Park runs, local clubs and events all offer the potential for group running.
They help you grow accustomed to competition, camaraderie and preparing for the actual day.
Plan in your rest days
Taking 2-3 rest days each week can be just as important as building distance in your marathon training schedule.
Those days can include light exercise, but they should avoid anything like the physical stresses of running.
Rest days are all about recovery, but doing nothing at all is bad for the body just as it is bad for the mind.
Walking, stretching, swimming and cycling are all good rest day activities. Everyone is different though so take the time to discover what works best for you.
Build your weekly mileage over time
Starting your training plan around 16-20 weeks before the marathon gives you ample time to build distance at a pace that is right for you.
Three to five runs per week is about right if the aim is to make the majority of them relaxed and enjoyable. Building your mileage is not an exact science though, because everyone is vastly different.
One hard rule however is never to increase your mileage too drastically in too short a timeframe. Never increase it more than 10 percent from one week to the next. If you’re hitting five miles on week three for example, 5.5 miles would be your limit for the following week.
Interval training, for a marathon!?
It’s true: speed work with Interval running helps with your base speed and helps long runs feel easier.
While they might not be at the top of everyone’s marathon training schedule, interval training and speed work can carry notable benefits for marathon races:
· Increasing your base speed: interval training is designed to make you naturally faster
· Improving your stamina: those short bursts improve aerobic thresholds letting you run further, for longer
· Interval training provides a welcome change from running for long periods, keeping you fresh and motivated
Getting your mind and body ready for long runs
The best way to do this of course; is by doing pre-planned long runs!
Building up to a long weekly run and including it in your planning is important. But remember to treat those longer distances differently. Run at a slower pace to build your confidence and let your mind adjust to the long game, while your body adjusts to burning fat for fuel and staying stronger, for longer.
Extend your long runs each week but don’t be afraid to scale back every few weeks to avoid over exertion and the risk of injury. Scaling back by a mile or two one week is never a step back; it’s a logical step forward in your preparation.
Are you inspired?
Marathons are a big commitment, only 0.5% of the world has done one! Yet the benefits, in terms of personal goals, life-changing experiences and bragging rights alone are immeasurable.
With our Hussle Monthly+pass, you can use any of our Hussle gyms as part of your preparation for taking on the world.
– All with zero contracts.
That’s One Network, Any Location. Thousands of gyms with zero contract! Always there and always waiting to help you change your life and achieve the amazing!
Everyone at Hussle wishes you all the luck in the world!