How Long Should You Train for a Marathon?

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Preparing to train for a marathon is an exciting endeavor to partake in. But it is something that should not be taken lightly. The key to completing a marathon is proper preparation. Once you commit yourself to competing in a marathon it’s time to prepare your mind and body for this journey. Going into a marathon without the proper training and preparation can lead to sustaining an injury.

Make a Marathon Plan

You have to develop a plan to prepare yourself to run in a marathon. There are lifestyle changes that may need to be made as well. You may have to change your diet. Adjust your schedule to fit in time to train. Cut down on social activities to free up that extra time. Even if you have participated in a marathon before, you will still have to spend a few weeks training.

Customize a Marathon Training Plan to You

When you do a Google search for training for marathons, you will be bombarded with information from many sources. All of the information you find will not be a one size fits all approach. You have to tailor your training program to fit your goals. You have to figure out if the training information is for beginners or experience marathon runners. If you are a beginner, you can’t prepare the way an experienced marathon runner will prepare.

How long you have to train depends on how physically fit you are as well as your experience running. If this is the first time you have attempted to run, then you have to set your expectations accordingly. As a beginner, you will have to build up your cardiovascular system to be able to run for long periods of time.

Do an Assessment on Your Body

You will also have to take into account your muscle’s ability to recover after running. When first starting out, running will be hard on the joints so your body must have time to get acclimated to the new range of motions. This must be taken into considerations when implementing your training schedule.

Knowing what your goals are is important when preparing your training schedule. Is your goal just to compete? Do you want to walk/run? Do you want to complete the marathon or just enter? Do you want to break records? Is there a certain time you want take to complete the marathon? You should ponder these things when preparing to run in a marathon. Adjust your training plan accordingly.

Check With Your Doctor

Before beginning any training regimen you should always check with your physician to ensure that you have the green light to put your body through any rigorous training. Once you get the OK, you can expect to spend anywhere between three to six months training your body to complete the marathon. This time table can vary depending on how much time you have to commit on a daily basis as well as your fitness level.

When training starts, keep a log of everything you do. Track how far you run and how long it takes to run that distance. Also keep track of how your body feels after you train. This will allow you to see how well your body is becoming acclimated to the new stress. Start slow and work your way up. Gradually increase the miles you run every week. Pacing yourself reduces the risk of injury. After all, we know that increasing your training too quickly can lead to shin splints or other bio-mechanical injuries.

It’s best to start out running, at the least, three days a week. As you build your endurance, you will want to add another day to that regimen. One of these days should include a long run. The others should be shorter runs to help increase speed and build up your strength. Along with running, training regimens should also include strength training such as yoga or Pilates. Running should not be the only focus.

Get Adequate Rest

Take one full day off each week. This will be your day of rest. Give your body time to recuperate. Over exerting yourself will lead to injury. If one day is not enough it is perfectly OK to add another day to that. Listen to your body. It will tell you that it is time to rest.

Training for a marathon will last a few as 3 months for individuals who are experienced and up to six months or more for beginners. Deciding to compete in a marathon will be challenging but it is also exciting. You will push yourself to limits that you never thought you could go. You will feel a sense of accomplishment once you see the progress you are making during your training.

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