5-Point Marathon Training Plan
If you've always wanted to do a marathon, and can imagine yourself doing one, it's best to know how to move toward that goal. Of course, it's wise to start with smaller races including 5K, 10K and half marathon distances before you leap into the marathon fray.
There are lots of questions that you may be asking yourself before you commit to this goal. "How much time do I need to devote to training?" "How do I manage my hydration, nutrition, stretching and recovery?" These answers can be found in many resources that are available online or with a local running coach.
Two things that are critical to a successful marathon training routine are consistency and listening to your body. Consistency in training, including tempo runs, speed work, as well as building up a controlled long run is important. A 10% increase in time and/or mileage per week is what is typically recommended.
On average it takes a full 16 weeks prior to your marathon to train, if you feel you are already pretty in shape. This means you have completed at least a few 5k and 10K races. As you develop more confidence with these race experiences, you'll likely to want to go to the next level and be ready to make that leap. Keep in mind that while training you'll need to listen to your body and train accordingly.
Tips for marathon training
- Use a running plan to help guide your training. One of the best running programs out there for beginners is the Couch to 5k program. Other good running plan sites that are suggested include: www.coolrunning.com www.runnersworld.com and www.halhigdon.com. In addition, John Galloway has a method of walking and running your marathon that has proven to be very successful.
- Join a running group or work with a running coach. Running groups are another way you can easily become consistent. Utilizing a group or running coach to motivate you will help you follow the running plan you’ve selected. Accountability is key because consistency is the most important thing you can do in training. Showing up (especially when you might not want to show up) is great when you have to meet others that are sharing a common goal.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of stretching. Be sure to incorporate a stretching session into your training. Muscle soreness will come and go, but if you are consistently experiencing pain in one area seek medical attention for it.
- Maintain your healthy diet. Don’t feel the need to completely change your diet during training. Eating small balanced meals before long runs helps to give your body the energy it needs. Keep hydrated during and after your training.
- There's a plethora information in Facebook groups with running, too. Connecting virtually as well will help motivate you to reach your marathon goal. There are many runners just like you that will share their tips and ask you questions as well.
Now's the time to put your best foot forward and toe the line. Are you ready?
Get more professional fitness advice at Ochsner Fitness Center.