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From Couch to Marathon - How to Get Marathon Ready

25th Mar 2021

Taking on the entire 26.2 miles of a marathon is a mammoth task and one which you definitely need to begin your training for well in advance.

If you are considering running a marathon, (even if it's virtual) make sure that you give yourself plenty of time for training before the race. Marathon runners often recommend being able to consistently run a distance for at least a year before you embark upon the challenge of a training program. Starting your training at least a year before the race will give you time to build your mileage without rushing and causing injury.

 

Training - where do I start?

There are four sections of marathon training to consider for your program; base mileage, long runs, speed work and rest & recovery.

Your base mileage is the distance that you should be running 3-4 times a week and building upon each week. Build your runs gradually and by no more than 10% each week, you do not want to overload and injure yourself. Once a week you will need to do a long run, which will help your body adjust to running longer distances.

To increase your cardiovascular capacity, make sure that you schedule a variety of speeds into your program such as a moderately paced short run, a race pace short run, one long run and an easy jog day. Finally, give your body time to rest! Rest is essential to recovery both physically and mentally.

You will want to think carefully about the kind of marathon you choose for your first. Alot of events are taking place virtually, whereas this year's New Forest Marathon is a 2 lap multi-terrain course running through the heart of the St Giles Estate. Think about which will spur you on to complete the distance. Start by running shorter races such as 5K, 10K and even half marathons. By taking part in these smaller races first, you will give yourself better preparation both mentally and physically.

Trainers

It’s just running, right?

Wrong! There is plenty more to think about when it comes to training for any event which challenges you physically.

Find the right gear!

Your clothing and trainers will become a huge part of your training. You will need trainers that fit properly and support you. There are specialist shops where they can measure your gait and help you to find the perfect running shoe. Plus, if you look the part then you will feel the part!

Spring Green London Meal

Fuel yourself properly

You wouldn’t put unleaded fuel into a diesel car – your body is much like a car and needs to be fuelled with the correct foods and drink. You will need to be consuming enough calories to keep your body running (pardon the pun) and drink sports drinks to rehydrate and replace what you have lost during exercise. Carbohydrates before big runs and plenty of proteins to aid muscle recovery after.

Give yourself recovery time

When you’re in the flow of a routine and making great progress, it can be tempting to work through your rest day. But your body needs the time for muscles to rebuild and recover, so that you can continue to progress without injuries holding you back. Your body will also recover during sleep, so ensure that you are getting a good night’s sleep. Having a consistent wake up time will also help.

Keep focused

Finding races to take part in during your training will not only prepare you mentally and physically for your marathon, but is also a smaller goal to work towards and keep you focused ahead of the big race. Listneing to music whilst training can also help you to saty focused and motivated. Check out our running playlist on Spotify.

Vary your training

Although you will primarily be running ahead of your marathon, try to include other aerobic activities in your training program such as cycling and swimming. This will help to prevent overuse injuries and burnout from running.

 


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