Marathon is becoming more and more popular. The number of participants are increasing every year which keeps breaking the previous records. Whether you wanted to reach the finish line or you have a time goal in mind, the key in any marathon is a proper training program to make your running pleasurable and rewarding.
Runners vary greatly in ability so before starting your marathon training program, it is essential that you have been running for about a year, you should be training 3-5 days a week and you should be able to comfortably run distances of 3-6 miles.
The marathon program you follow must include build-up phase, taper period and recovery period. Otherwise, you’ll get injured and risk not performing at your best.
It is also good to understand some important guidelines to make your marathon training program as effectively as possible.
- Nutrition. It’s not just elite athletes that have to get the proper nutrition. As you increase your mileage, your body will crave for the fuel it needs to sustain your training sessions before, during and after your race.
- Training schedule. Split your training program into smaller goals where each goal will have its specific target. For example, your 12 weeks training schedule will have its weekly program. In this way, you’ll know when to proceed based on your capacity level.
- Easy runs. If you’re a beginner or if you never run a marathon before, you won’t know your marathon pace. As an advice, simply do your long runs at a comfortable pace. If you run much slower than your pace in the first few miles, include regular walking breaks. It’s better to cover your prescribed distance regardless of how fast you cover it.
- Long runs. Do not cheat on the long runs. It helps build your strength for a marathon. You can skip on occasional workout or modify your schedule if you have other commitments but always stick to the program of your long runs. Once a week, you have your resting period which also plays a vital role in any training program.
- Walking breaks. It’s a good idea to include walking breaks during your training runs. You can stop to take a drink to re-hydrate your body. It is in walking that you get a chance to rest then you can continue running comfortably.
- Cross-training. Devote a day or two of your week to cross-training. Cross-training involves light exercises like aerobics, cycling, swimming or walking. Activities that require sideways movements and sudden stopping and starting like tennis or basketball are not a good choice and you raise your risk of injury.
- Rest and recovery. Rest is an important element in any training program. It is during the rest period that your muscles regenerate to get stronger. For beginners, include two days of resting each week. Also, be sure to take a break from strenuous training to truly recover before your run or walk day.
Below are different training programs to get your body as fit as possible for your marathon.
32 Weeks Marathon Training Schedule – Jeff Galloway
This is a light and long training program. I find this best suited for beginners. You can start from zero running to a 42K with this training program. It just asks for a 30 minute run on weekdays.
18 Weeks Marathon Training Schedule – marathontraining.com
This is good for those who have been running regularly and needs a quick marathon plan. If you have been running half-marathons and want to quickly jump up to a marathon, this training plan just might work.
12 Weeks Marathon Training Schedule – Runner’s World
This is a short training plan that would be best for seasoned marathoners. This is good if you have been running several marathons already and a new one comes up quite to soon. If you are new to a marathon, don’t try this yet.
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