How to Train for a Marathon

How to Train for a Marathon

Want to run a marathon? Tens of thousands of people set a goal of running a marathon, but less than 1% of them do it. Running a marathon is intimidating. It takes experience, skill, athleticism, and drive. But anyone can do it.

You can’t train for a marathon in a single weekend. Nutrition and exercise are musts. Here are the basics of how to run a marathon:

Mental Preparation for a Marathon

Mental toughness is harder to develop than physical toughness. Daily motivation is key.

Set reasonable goals throughout your training. Weight loss isn’t a good goal for marathon training. Focus on how fast you can run a mile instead.

Physical Preparation for a Marathon

You also need to pay attention to the actual physical training. To run 26.2 miles at one time without stopping, you need to consider these aspects of your training program:

1. Nutrition – You need to eat right. Look at food labels. Get plenty of complex carbs, clean protein, and unsaturated fats. Count calories.

2. Hydration – You need to drink plenty of water. Drink at least 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes that you run. Weigh yourself before and after each run, and get enough water to regain any water weight you lost while running.

3. Rest – Many would-be marathoners don’t get enough rest. Don’t run every day–take a day off between runs. Get plenty of sleep.

4. Stretching – Stretch before and after you run. Use ice and heat on sore muscles and joints.

5. Run – Before you consider doing any type of long distance running, work up to being able to run without stopping for 30 minutes. If you’re out of shape, you’ll have to combine running and walking at first. Try to improve just a little bit between every workout. Every week, increase the distance you run.

For more information about how to train for a marathon, visit some of the following pages:

  1. Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training GuideHal Higdon literally wrote the book on how to train for a marathon. His marathon training schedules are perfect for someone who’s determined to train for a marathon.
  2. Marathon Training Schedule – This is an at-a-glance training schedule you can follow.
  3. How to Train for a Marathon by Jeff Galloway – Another running expert offers advice and schedules for marathon training.
  4. Runners World: Marathon Training – The premier magazine about running offers advice on training for a marathon here.