Training for a marathon or a mini-marathon (6 of 8)
Training for the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles is a slow, gradual and sustained process.
As Churchill said: 'failing to plan is planning to fail'. A comprehensive training plan must be made, especially for the novice or first timer.
The most important point to remember is time.
Marathon running is all about time spent running - not speed. The most common reason people don't finish marathons, or hit the dreaded 'wall' is because they start out too fast. It's not so much the distance, but the pace that ruins marathons for many.
There is a large amount of discipline necessary for a marathon, but with a good plan and some hard work, most of us can do it.
A marathon schedule should include a few shorter distance races like a 10k or a mini marathon.
In preparation for a 10k race, a 5k race should be tackled. Think of it like this: if you're able to run a mile, you can run 5k; if you can run 5k you can run 10k; if you can run 10k you can run the full marathon.
A 10k training schedule for beginners should include six weeks of running four times a week. Run every second day to allow for recovery. You should have three or four half-hour runs under your belt before the 10k race day.
Don't forget to vary your routines: change location, include a few hills, gradually add distance, do the odd short run at a faster pace than normal - challenge yourself from time to time.
Moving from a 10k to a full marathon is a big step. A lot more time is needed. Following a 10k race, another three to four months training should be done. Long runs of up to two and a half hours must be included, eventually.
However, remember to stick to the basic principle of avoiding too much too soon. Weekly mileage should be increased by no more than 10-12%.
Never follow a hard training day by another hard day.
For example: your long run is considered a hard session. The next day therefore, should be a rest day or a short easy run. Recovery is key to successful marathon running. Inherent in recovery are nutrition, hydration and sleep. Pay special attention to these.
Successfully completing a marathon is a huge achievement. Running is a great metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it. Good luck!
Marathon Training Tips
Keep a training diary - write down how far you ran, how long, how fast, how you felt.
Practise taking fluids in on your long runs.
Try to run with others at least once a week - it's so much easier!
Remember to follow a hard day with an easy day.
Get a good training plan and stick to it.
Talk. Talk about it, exchange ideas, information. This helps us stay motivated.
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