Running a marathon is on a lot of bucket lists. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having challenged your body and succeeded in finishing 26.2 miles. Many people run marathons in memory of someone, or as a weight-loss goal. Whatever your reasons, you need to start training somewhere. In four steps, here is how to train for your first marathon:
Choose your race
Before you even start training, you should choose your race. Marathons are always the same distance, but depending on the terrain, they can be moderately challenging or excruciating. Some are very hilly, while others are flat. You can also choose from marathons that go through beautiful natural landscapes, or ones that go through major cities. Think about how much you want to challenge yourself, and how far you’re willing to travel for you run.
Start training early
Even if you run longer distances already, you should start training for your marathon at least a year in advance. This gives you adequate time to prepare your body for such a long distance and allows you to skip workouts without suffering too much windfall. It also gives you time to recover if you suffer a minor injury like a twisted ankle.
Have a good system
Preparing for a marathon requires more than just running a few miles each day. You want to gradually increase your mileage and run at least 3-5 times a week. You should also try to do a long run – 15 miles or so – every 1-2 weeks so your body gets used to it. Some runners also like to work on their speed, so they do interval training over longer distances. Lastly, your running system should also include rest days. You should not run for a day or so after long runs, so your body can recover. If you don’t rest, you can injure yourself.
Run a few shorter races
The last step to training for a marathon is to enter a few shorter races, like a 5 or 10K. These races can give you the experience of getting to a race on time and running with others. It’s also a good opportunity to boost your confidence and learn what works and what doesn’t work before race day.