Let's face it - running isn't for everyone! Many people find running to be difficult, if not near impossible. However, the incredible benefits of doing so, for both your physical and mental health, should never be overlooked. If you are someone who enjoys running, or at least tolerates it as a regular form of exercise, then you may now be looking to take this activity to the next level.
Running a Marathon
Running a marthon is no small feat, and this certainly isn't something that the majority of people will conquer! A marathon is a massive 26.2 miles long, and this can be daunting to even the most seasoned and professional runners.
If running a marathon is something that you have set your sights on, or this is something that you're curious about but don't think that you will ever be able to manage, then we hope that the following advice will encourage you to take the next step!
If you can currently run a 5k fairly comfortably, then within a few months you can undoubtedly improve your running skills to master a half-marathon. And, once you have a half-marathon or two under your belt, then you will surely be able to run a full marathon with just a few more months of training.
When you are training for an intense physical activity, such as running a marathon, you should always approach your training in a slow, steady, and safe manner. Rushing through your training, or trying to run too far too soon, could easily result in injury, which could dramatcially set your training schedule back.
It's always best to be aware of your existing abilitiy and to build upon this slowly.
How Much Training?
A typical marathon training plan will require approximately 20 weeks of serious training. However, this is generally dependant on you already being able to run a moderate amount, and not be a total beginner. That's not to say that complete beginners can't reach this goal in this time, but that it is better to give yourself as much training time as possible.
If you enter into your first marathon having adequately trained and having already completed a handful of shorter races, then you are much more likely to succeed. And, more importantly, you are much more likely to have a positive marathon experience! This can help to fuel your motivation to continue running and to set your sights on the next big running challenge.
Furthermore, adequate training will reduce your risk of injury. Getting your body accustomed to running consistently for long periods of time is the goal here, so even if you feel like you aren't the fastest runner on the track, you can still maintain a good pace and reach the finish line.
Whole Body Fitness
When you are training for a marathon it is important to remember that you should not just focus purely on running. You will need to develop your overall fitness levels, and you must incorporate different types of training in order to do so.
First and foremost, you should mix up the type of cardiovascular exercises that you are doing. In addition to getting out several times a week for a run, you should also aim to do things like cycle, or use the cross trainer in the gym. You may also find that jumping rope is a good option for you, and this will enable you to be able to train anywhere, anytime.
Weight training will also help to prepare your body and keep you fighting fit. So don't neglect your muscles when you are hitting the gym for your running training. Just a few short sessions of lifting weights each week will be enough to help keep you on track, but if you're able to do more then there's of course more to be gained from doing so.
Food is Fuel
You will also need to look to your diet when you are training for a marathon. If you are not consuming enough calories then you aren't going to have enough energy to compelte your training runs. Eating too much can also be a hindrence, and it is important to discover the right balance.
High-carb, low-fiber meal are a good choice the morning before a big run. Make sure that you eat this meal at least three hours before you run though, so that your body has enough time to digest this food properly. This will also keep ypur risk of experiencing stomach issues down during the marathon or training run.
Eating a combination of carbs and protein right after your run is a good way to support your body as it recovers from the intense exercise tht you have just put it through.
Not Quite There Yet?
Statistics show us that only roughly 0.5% of the American population has ever run a marathon! So, don't feel bad if you're not quite there yet. Persist with your training and give yourself the time to progress at a sensible rate. You will soon be on the right track to achieving your marathon goals!